210th Session Meeting Minutes

Committee chair Brendan Connell ‘87 reminded committee members that this meeting would be a hybrid reflecting both the original charter for the committee as well as the new focus to assist with Dartmouth’s Lifelong Learning programs.

Brendan reminded attendees that there are six Dartmouth faculty members on the committee roster. The committee heard from two of those individuals at the fall meeting and this meeting would feature updates from professors Jon Kull, Nancy Marion, and Denise Anthony.

Dean of the Faculty representative Nancy Marion shared that her role and the role of the Dean of the Faculty is to hire, promote, and retain the best faculty for Dartmouth. The Dean of Faculty is also working to promote more co-curricular events – more non-academic interactions between professors and students.

Jon Kull ’88, dean of the Graduate School for Arts and Sciences, offered his update as dean of Graduate Studies. There is a great deal of activity around the faculty cluster initiatives. Jon also talked about the Society of Fellows. Five fellows have been chosen for the 2015-16 year out of 1,700 applicants. The Faculty fellows selected these individuals and will shepherd them during their time at Dartmouth. The fellows will be strongly mentored and bring cutting edge work to the campus.

Denise Anthony spoke in her new role as vice provost. She supports the dean of the faculty and the deans in all the schools as they work to create a magnet for talent. Hiring a diverse faculty group is one of her primary tasks. She is working to recruit diverse pools of talented faculty and make sure that they are set up for success once they arrive on campus.

Robin Albing, director of Lifelong Learning in the Office of Alumni Relations, explained how her office works to offer educational opportunities for alumni. These include travel opportunities with faculty, faculty lectures at reunions and at mini reunions, Dartmouth on Location events around the country with faculty putting major museum exhibitions and performances into context for alumni, as well as other opportunities. Robin’s office is now working with EdX to determine how the upcoming American Renaissance course with Don Pease and Jed Dobson might be shared in new and exciting ways.

This course will start on campus in winter 2016 and will be shared via EdX with the entire world. The course will feature eight books in eight weeks with works including Walden, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Emerson’s Essays, Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, and others.

Robin asked the group to think about how we might engage alumni in this course. The Committee members suggested:

  1. A possible three-day workshop on campus with Don Pease and Jed Dobson
  2. Possible summer camp option around these topics – a whole camp on Moby Dick and whale preservation etc.
  3. Women of Dartmouth book group
  4. Club book groups
  5. One-session webinars where faculty speak about these topics
  6. Reunion book clubs
  7. A certificate proving demonstrating participants read all of the books and listened to webinars/online course
  8. Inviting the entire Dartmouth community to read one book
  9.  “One Day College” format with filming

Committee vice-chair David Van Wie ’79 will become the committee chair in 2015-2016.  Later that day it was announced that Mary Dengler ’96 would be the new vice-chair.

The Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC) met in Hanover twice during the 210th Alumni Council meeting. Its first meeting was held on Thursday, May 14. Committee chair Mark Davis ’81, ‘84Tu noted that the ALC has received more email this year to date than was received during the entire Alumni Council year in 2013-2014.  The committee discussed the ALC’s annual report and timeline for production.  Lynne Gaudet said that the body of the report was reformatted last year to make it more succinct.  The committee members discussed alumni feedback they have received to date.  Jack Steinberg ’88 discussed the next steps for the social-media working group.  It recently posted three questions on the Alumni Relations Facebook and Twitter sites under the "Alumni Council Asks" headline.  The questions focused on professional development, the Alumni Day of Service, and the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Women in Science Project (WISP).  The WISP question was the most successful, and we received many thoughtful responses to women who participated in that program.  The committee discussed the results of the Moosilauke Forum admissions survey that Mark Davis will share with alumni councilors at the afternoon plenary session on Friday.  There is a lot of substantive data, but some of the primary findings are:

  • People are interested in interviewing because they feel that it is good to provide the Dartmouth Office of Admissions with additional feedback about the prospective candidates.
  • People like the idea of representing Dartmouth in an "ambassador" role while interviewing prospective students.
  • Some people stopped interviewing because they weren't asked again and/or they had a change in life circumstances such as moving.
  • Many young alumni don't interview because they are concerned about the time commitment they perceive would be necessary.
  • Alumni want to have more information about how the Office of Admissions uses the information provided through interviews and how much they value it.

Mark Davis reviewed the agenda for the Saturday morning breakfast meeting with President Hanlon, Laurel Richie ’81, and Bill Helman ’80 in preparation for that gathering.

The second meeting was held on May 16, with President Hanlon and trustees Laurel Richie and Bill Helman. Alumni Council President Lou Spelios ’95 provided a recap of the 210th Alumni Council meeting. Mark Davis and Gary Love ‘76 discussed the Moosilauke Forum survey pertaining to Admissions that had recently been conducted by the ALC in collaboration with the Alumni Council's Enrollment and Admissions Committee, Jean Romeo, and both the Offices of Admissions and Alumni Relations.  Gary Love, chair of the Alumni Council's Enrollment and Admissions committee, noted that the survey results are very helpful to the admissions effort, particularly in the areas of recruitment and retention of enrollment volunteers. Mark Davis reported on the communications effort of the ALC.  There has been a significant increase in the number of emails received from alumni and some of this increase can be attributed to the question pertaining to the living/learning communities question that was included in the 209th Alumni Council meeting template and in the email that Lou Spelios and Jennifer Avellino sent to all alumni following President Hanlon's announcement about his plan pertaining to Moving Dartmouth Forward. Jack Steinberg reported that the ALC has been exploring ways to utilize social media as a means to gather additional feedback from alumni.  The ALC members provided alumni feedback on the various topics they are responsible for.

Committee chair Aly Jeddy ’93 led a conversation focused on the outcomes of the May 2 Alumni Day of Service.  Overall, the Committee was pleased with the results as the first Alumni Day of Service, as it met many of the initial goals. Overall, 24 projects took place in 22 communities. In addition, there was good cross-class representation not only at the project coordinator level, but also in project participation.  Families were involved in projects and one class coordinated a mini-reunion around the day.

Although the committee first considered having a theme for the Day, such as “access to education,” the committee found that most projects supported human-services programs, such as volunteering at a food bank.

The committee followed up with the project service coordinators to ask what worked well and how it could have prepared them better for their Alumni Day of Service.  Simple ideas such as serving coffee and food at the event, wearing Dartmouth t-shirts, and working with organizations that have their own sign-up links were mentioned.  In terms of how the committee could have better prepared them, suggestions included providing supplemental materials with suggestions for types of events or tips to plan the event.  In addition, assistance with online registration and marketing of the event more broadly would be helpful.

As far as suggestions for next year, there was interest in perhaps pushing the day back to April, when it might be “less hectic,” though weather could be a factor.  Again, more marketing of the day from the College would be helpful.

Interim Dean of the Tucker Foundation Theresa Ellis gave an overview of the Center for Service. The two short-term areas of focus include providing every student the opportunity to volunteer and working to deepen the “experience” for learning for students interested in careers in the non-profit.

As for next steps, the committee wants to consider how to make the execution of an Alumni Day of Service easier for clubs and interested parties.  Also under consideration is, beyond an Alumni Day of Service, what should this committee focus on for the year ahead.

The committee’s current vice-chair Nancy Stein Woolf ’86 will become the chair for the 2015-2016 year.  Monica Higgins ’86, Tu’90 was elected vice-chair for the 2015-2016 year.

Bob Mlakar ’70, chair, nominated Martha Gerhan ’83 to serve as the 2015-2016 vice-chair of the Athletics Committee.  She was elected by the committee.  Current vice-chair Russell Wolff ’89 ‘94Tu will become chair of the committee on July 1 for the 2015-2016 Alumni Council year.

Deputy Director of Athletics Bob Ceplikas ’78 provided some information pertaining to athletics fundraising and some of the key athletic needs. Dartmouth is finishing up the drive to raise $20 million for new coaching endowments. They are also building a permanent source of funding for Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2). In addition, there is a fundraising target of $25.5 million to build an indoor practice facility. Bob also reported that the Dartmouth women’s rugby team is now the 35th varsity sport at the College. 

Katelyn Stravinsky, assistant athletics director for Peak Performance, talked about the success of DP2 and its excellent reputation among students on campus.  Out of 340 schools, Dartmouth leads the country in NCAA Division 1 academic progress rates. Katelyn stressed that what differentiates DP2 is its integrated program that involves DP2 staff, coaches, professors, deans, athletic trainers, nutritionists, strength coaches, sports psychologists, and leadership professionals.

Donnie Brooks, assistant athletics director for Peak Performance, talked about the importance of the Dartmouth career network in helping students and young alumni make connections. After an initial connection is made, it’s all about responsibly cultivating relationships. Donnie provided examples that illustrated the importance of the network, and he demonstrated how students use the online system.

The committee heard from a student-athlete panel focused on career connections. Panelists included football team member Jacob Flores ’16, women’s hockey team member Catherine Berghuis ’16, field hockey team member Janine Leger ’15, and football team member Nikola Mamula ’16. The panelists discussed alumni connections that helped them identify internships and jobs.

Committee chair Peter Elias '69 introduced Justin Anderson, vice president for communications, for his presentation.  Justin discussed the roll-out process that was conducted by the Office of Public Affairs in collaboration with other offices on campus to announce the results of the Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF) efforts conducted by the Presidential Steering Committee and President Hanlon's plan that resulted from that work.  He said that the MDF website is transitioning to the College's presidential website for updates about the plan.  The Presidential Steering Committee was very appreciative of the work that the Alumni Council did to collect feedback and assistance with communications during the MDF working process and at President Hanlon's announcement about his plan.  Justin’s office is divided into three different sections including media relations, editorial services, and creative services.  The mission of his office is to tell Dartmouth's story in a multi-dimensional way.  They are making a concerted effort to increase the numbers of people contacted through social media.

Tricia McKeon, managing director of alumni relations communications, made a presentation titled "Leveraging Social Media to Strengthen Alumni Engagement.” Justin’s staff oversees the Dartmouth College social media sites, and Tricia oversees the Dartmouth Alumni Relations social media sites.  Recently, she collaborated with the Alumni Liaison Committee/Communications Committee working group, led by Jack Steinberg ’88, to pose three questions on the Dartmouth Alumni Facebook and Twitter sites.  Each question began with "Alumni Council Asks" and they focused on collecting feedback from alumni on topics related to professional development, the Alumni Day of Service, and the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the Women in Science Project (WISP) at Dartmouth.  The WISP question was the most successful and produced some very thoughtful comments and feedback from alumni.

The committee elected Cheryl Abbott '96 to serve as vice-chair.  Jack Steinberg '88 will serve as chair of the committee.

Committee chair Gary Love ’76 introduced Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris ’84 who provided an update on the newly admitted Class of 2019. This year, 20,504 students applied to Dartmouth, a 6.3 percent increase in applications over last year. 2,120 students were offered admission (early and regular decision) for an overall 10.3 percent rate of admission. After the record yield of last year and the matriculation of the large class of 2018, the decision was made to admit fewer students and grow the class slightly from the waitlist. The Class of 2019 now stands at 1,120, with a goal to reach a total of 1,135 students by June 30.

The Admissions staff is working to optimize the Dartmouth campus visit experience. There were three Dimensions programs offered this year. While 60 percent of Dimensions attendees will matriculate, 86 percent of Dimension participants who also attended one of the 35 Admitted Student Events (ASEs) decided to attend Dartmouth.

The Admissions-Alumni Relations partnership aimed to increase the number of interviews that are conducted, improve training and communication, broaden volunteer roles and opportunities, enhance stewardship, and increase the level of volunteer satisfaction. The number of alumni interviews and interviewers increased this year, and the number of young alumni interviewers increased by 28 percent. The percentage of students who had a completed interview increased by 5 percent, and the number of districts completing 90 percent or above increased by 25 percent. A Skype interview pilot program was very successful and will be expanded next year.

Director of Admissions Paul Sunde gave an update on Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). Sunde then spoke about the online interview management tool Slate.

Next, Director of Market Research Jean Romeo presented the results of the recent Moosilauke Forum alumni survey that was focused on Admissions. There are several key take-ways. The top benefit alumni perceive is providing information to the Admissions Office about the applicant. “Helping the applicant get to know Dartmouth” is a concept which resonates with many younger graduates. Everyone believes Dartmouth should conduct interviews. The top reasons alumni don’t volunteer are awareness and perception of time involved. Their motivation to volunteer is to promote positive perceptions of Dartmouth and help applicants choose Dartmouth (being “Ambassadors”). They want to understand the time commitment (what does the interview report look like?) and how Admissions uses the feedback.

Current vice-chair Kim Buresh ‘90 will serve as the new committee chair, and John Banks ‘90 was elected as the new vice-chair.

Committee chair Barry Caldwell ’82 introduced Roger Woolsey, director of The Center for Professional Development (CPD), who updated committee members on the CPD’s new Professional Development Accelerator (PDA) program for first-year students. Members of the Class of 2018 were the first to participate in the PDA program, which is intended to jump-start the career-development process through early engagement, skill building, and programming. Roger reported that 47 percent of the members of the Class of 2018 enrolled in the PDA; the CPD saw a 53 percent increase in first-year student engagement this year; and 63 percent of the PDA members are using the CPD’s new phone app.

Two CPD staff members, Nicholas Alberts and Eduardo Najera-Ortega ’14, demonstrated Dartmouth Circles, an online platform for recruiting that the CPD is testing as an alternative to the existing DartBoard platform. Dartmouth Circles is a next-generation platform offering in-platform messaging, conferencing, and video capability. Dartmouth is the first educational institution to adopt the platform, and the CPD is heavily involved in its development. The Professional Development Committee will work with the CPD and the Dartmouth for Life team to look at possible ways that alumni might interact with Dartmouth Circles. 

The working groups that were established in December updated the committee on their progress: 

  • The Technology Working Group will coordinate a pilot resume review project early next fall, with Alumni Council members reviewing resumes for current students using the CPD’s UserVoice platform. The group also plans to work with the Dartmouth for Life team and the CPD on the Dartmouth Alumni LinkedIn group, the implementation of Dartmouth Circles, and the career section of the new Alumni Relations website. 
  • The Alumni-Student Connections working group held its first event on the Thursday of Alumni Council. While student turnout was lower than hoped for, the event was extremely well received by those who attended.  The panel was excellent, and the committee appreciates the support of the councilors who participated. 
  • The Diversifying Employment Opportunities group has held an initial meeting and is looking at ways to support students interested in less traditional employment paths.     
  • The Alumni-to-Alumni Committee will begin its work after reunions.

Committee vice-chair Dan Zenkel ’80 will become chair of the committee. At the meeting’s conclusion, an election for vice-chair was held.  After the meeting, it was announced that David Hetzel ’72 was elected to serve as vice-chair of the Committee for the 2015-16 year. 

Committee chair Matt Hoffman ’82 introduced Inge-Lise Ameer, interim dean of the College. She provided an overview of some of the social and community-oriented events and activities that have taken place during this academic year.

With Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF) seeking to impact and enhance multiple areas of student life, the Dean of the College has launch four working groups to oversee the implementation of the President’s plan. The working groups are composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents, and are charged with addressing topics such as: house communities, sexual-assault curriculum, student citizenship, and the development of a safety app.

Dean Ameer is confident that MDF will succeed, because at its core, it has the purest of intentions and desires for student success and health. This coupled with the fact that students are the driving force behind most of the changes, means that plans and programs being put into place are organic and accessible.

Dean Ameer noted that as our student population grows and diversifies, it is important for the College to also grow and develop to help meet the ever changing needs of the students it serves. Currently 86 percent of all enrolled students are using Dartmouth health services. The health needs of students are expanding and the College has responded by bringing on more professionals to help navigate the increasingly complex landscape associated with a diverse community rich with intersected identities.

The staff members in the Dean of the College area are excited about the rollout of the College’s new house system. The system hopes to give students an anchor and home base while they are on campus. Currently the Office of Residential Life makes approximately 16,000 housing assignments each year. For a campus of roughly 4,400 undergraduates, this is a very large number. The hope is that addressing the way students live and interact with one another will help to adjust other extreme behaviors on campus.

There is a lot happening on the ground here on campus since MDF has gone into effect. With the new hard-alcohol policy on campus, medical transports to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center have been reduced. More than 2,000 students have been trained in the Dartmouth Bystander Intervention program. Dartmouth is on its way to developing a comprehensive four-year sexual assault and conduct policy. The Dean looks forward to sharing more about the successes of MDF as more of its policies become concrete.

Dean Ameer proceeded to moderate a student panel presentation by members of the MDF working groups. The following students participated on the panel:

Jose Rodarte-Canales ’16 is part of the Organizational Review Process, tasked with designing tangible and workable policies. The group’s focus is on creating accountability and promoting safety and inclusivity.

Noah Manning ’17 is part of the House Communities working group. This group hopes to create better public and gathering spaces on campus and renovate the existing ones, including kitchens and common areas in the dorms. Noah also spoke about reviving inter-dorm or inter-housing cluster sports competition. The new housing clusters will be rolled out this fall.

Katherine McAvoy ’17 is part of a group that is putting together a sexual-assault curriculum.  Starting next year, Dartmouth will introduce a comprehensive, four-year education and awareness program for students as well as first-year responder training for faculty and staff.

Kate Dumanian ‘18 is part of a group working on a Student Citizenship Statement or code of conduct.  Civility, dignity, diversity, community, and safety are the fundamental drivers.

Sophia Pedlow ’15 is part of a group that will be responsible for a Dartmouth-specific safety app for smartphones.  The group is currently interviewing developers to help determine what functionality is needed, but it will probably be GPS-enabled and allow students to access help quickly and easily.

Taylor Watson ’17 is part of a group that focuses on Social Event and Alcohol Management. His group is reviewing and revising policies and expectations related to hosting social events, as well as alcohol management.  They have gone back to as early as 1976 to examine previous alcohol policies as well as policies at other colleges. 

Current Student Affairs Committee Vice-Chair Laura Hicks Roberts ’85 will become the chair in 2015-2016. The incoming vice-chair is Tim Millikin ’05, per a vote that was taken at the beginning of the meeting.

Vice-Chair Kalina Newmark '11 led the committee in discussion of several agenda items, including: updates on the alumni-student mentoring effort, updates regarding the Young Alumni Chair positions, alumni service, admissions efforts and social-media outreach, upcoming projects for 2015-16 and a vote on the committee's 2015-16 vice-chair position.

The previously discussed young alumni-student mentoring effort will focus on the classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008, and their corresponding student classes (2016, 2017, and 2018). The committee will aim to roll out these connections in the next academic year. The committee's efforts will target areas with significant populations of younger alumni. Kalina will draft a supportive message and share with the committee.  Kalina shared that she has been exploring the alumni club Young Alumni Chair positions.

The committee discussed the Alumni Council's inaugural Alumni Day of Service on May 2, 2015 and provided feedback.

The committee discussed its potential involvement in Admissions social-media outreach for the Class of 2020. There was much discussion around this topic with a lot of interest. There are additional questions and discussion needed to determine the best platform(s), format, timeline, goal(s), etc.  Committee members discussed that there could be a lot of potential around this idea, particularly regarding areas where young alumni can provide valuable perspectives and insight to potential/incoming students. It was agreed that young alumni can be most helpful in this process in conveying excitement and interest to the students, rather than serving as sources of information about campus and current student experiences. For instance, young alumni might engage via social media around topics incoming students might want to know before arriving to campus, providing insight regarding what their post-grad plans have involved, etc.

Kalina led the committee in exploring possible 2015-16 projects for the committee. Melanie Pastuck '11 suggested the committee's potential collaboration with the Council's Professional Development committee; committee members agreed that there could be a good partnership between the two committees. 

The committee approved the selection of Melanie Pastuck '11 as the 2015-16 vice-chair for the Young Alumni Committee. Current vice-chair Kalina Newmark will become the 2015-2016 chair following the retirement of current chair Rodrigo Ramirez ’06.