The 195th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, the College Relations Group, and the Committee on Alumni Organizations. This was followed by an orientation session for first-year councilors.
Councilors gathered for a reception in the Kim Gallery of the Hood Museum, where Director Brian Kennedy addressed the council, noting various artifacts and displays. He invited councilors to tour the museum during the reception hour.
Dinner was served in the Daniel Webster Room of the Hanover Inn. President Rick Silverman '81 opened the dinner program by reading a citation for Nels Armstrong '71. He thanked him for his thirteen years of service as Dartmouth's director of Alumni Relations. Rick Silverman followed with his address to the councilors, thanking them for volunteering during this important time.
The morning began with committee breakfast meetings (Academic Affairs, Athletics, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Life).
Rick Silverman opened the morning plenary session and introduced Martha Beattie '76, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Council Structure (ACCS), to make a presentation about proposed amendments to the Alumni Council constitution.
Martha Beattie gave a PowerPoint presentation highlighting various points, such as membership, election/selection, the council committee structure, and other constitutional items. She explained that if the entire constitution were to pass by two-thirds of those voting, then the voting would be finished. If not, the three areas mentioned above would be voted on separately. Rick Silverman congratulated the committee on a superb job and presentation.He noted that this would be a significant overall improvement on the current constitution.
Rick Silverman introduced Professor Jon Kull '88, faculty representative on the Alumni Council, who discussed the technical aspects of the voting procedures. Handheld electronic voting devices were distributed to 74 councilors.
Voting was conducted and the entire package of constitutional amendments was approved. The results of the vote were: 74 voters; 96 percent voted “yes” (71); 3 percent voted “no” (2); and 1 percent abstained (1).
A motion was made to adopt the following committee recommendations which had been made by the ACCS.
Dissolve the Committee on Alumni Organizations and the Committee on Alumni Continuing Education and Travel.
Merge the Student Life Committee and the Athletics Committee into a new Student Affairs Committee.
These two recommendations were approved unanimously.
A discussion followed pertaining to the constitutional amendments and the following topics were addressed.
Alumni Liaison Committee: This is a unique approach to communicating with trustees. It's an innovative idea.We will attempt to improve communications between trustees and alumni. John Donahoe '82 is chair of the Trustee Committee on Alumni Affairs.
Merger of Athletic Committee and Student Life Committee: The Athletic Committee is not being dissolved, but is merging with the Student Life Committee, which will address student affairs, Student Assembly, and all facets of student life at the College. Every councilor should hear about these items (not just within the committee). Comment was made that we should be sure that the contact continues with the Athletics Department, as the Athletic Committee has accomplished some very tangible changes recently.
One discussion centered on the three-year term versus the five-year reunion cycle. The ACCS polled the full Alumni Council on this and 56 percent favored a three-year term. The Alumni Council can reconsider this in the future.
Election/Selection: There was a discussion of varying practices. The Alumni Council needs to set guidelines and leave it up to the classes and other groups to determine their own best practices. A suggestion was made to keep the “governance” group intact.
Councilors need to clarify the difference between the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni for alumni, who are very confused right now.
A suggestion was made to be more consistent in council communications. Perhaps there should be a short report sent out to all councilors which they can then cut and paste into their message to constituents.
Another suggestion was made to use former councilors to help convey messages.
Lunch meetings were held for the Young Alumni and Honorary Degrees Committees with all other councilors having lunch on their own.
Rick Silverman opened the afternoon plenary session by introducing the Senior Administrative Panel: Director of Athletics and Recreation JoAnn (Josie) Harper '47a; Vice President for Development Carolyn Pelzel '54a; Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Adam Keller; Provost Barry Scherr; and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Carol Folt.
Alumni councilors had submitted questions to the senior administrative panel in advance and Rick Silverman referred to the list of questions, posing the following.
1. We often hear criticism about administrative bloat at the College. Could you comment on the persistent criticism of this and why the perception exists?
Adam Keller responded.
The administrative staff (full-time equivalent) increased 1.1 percent per year, while faculty increased 3 percent per year, over the period 2001 to 2005, according to a study by McKinsey and Co.
2001 to 2005: Most additional positions were in the Development area for the capital campaign. Others were for the Dean of the College, including Health Services and Safety and Security; direct support for faculty; positions mandated by government (in compliance with the Patriot Act); and the child care center.
This does not suggest that there has been administrative bloat.
2. Is the College focusing on becoming a research institute at the expense of its undergraduate mission?
Barry Scherr responded first.
The College's strong focus continues to be on its undergraduates.
The College hires faculty who have a strong commitment to teaching but are also first-rate scholars.
We have three professional schools.
Carol Folt responded second.
From the faculty perspective, their entire lives are a seamless blend of teaching and scholarly activities.
Most places do not reward faculty for teaching; Dartmouth does.
Carol Folt commented on faculty teaching reviews.
A universal faculty review form was established last year.
This evaluation form is completed by students and the completed forms are viewed by faculty, department heads, and deans.
Senior faculty attend classes taught by junior faculty who are up for tenure; responses from undergraduates in those classes are reviewed.
Carol Folt also commented on adjunct faculty.
Speaking for Arts and Sciences, adjuncts are a vital resource. For example, they cover annual leaves and assist with required introductory language courses. That said, Dartmouth has fewer adjunct faculty than its peers.
3. How many courses are oversubscribed each term?How does this compare to historic levels?What are the reasons?
Carol Folt responded.
Each year there are more than 37,000 class enrollments; there were more than 1,000 closed out; roughly 3 percent.
Most oversubscribed classes are in the area of Studio Art (25 percent, due to limited studio space). Government and Economics had 200 out of 2,500 (partly because these are popular departments and also because so many students double-major in one of them).
Often students subscribe to classes and then drop them. Harvard charges for every add/drop; Dartmouth does not.
4. What are Dartmouth's plans concerning its fraternity and sorority system? To what degree is the College involved in their operations today? Are they around to stay?
Barry Scherr responded.
Sixty percent of eligible students on campus are members of fraternities or sororities.
The College has been working closely with the Fraternity Sorority Council.
The physical plants needed a lot of work because of life safety issues. Dartmouth has a loan program and the Greek system has taken advantage of this program to invest in their plant facilities.
The College and the FSC have established basic principles including brotherhood, sisterhood, scholarship, accountability, inclusivity, leadership, and service.
5. How are the College's athletic teams doing overall?
Josie Harper responded.
Football and Basketball:Football Coach Buddy Teevens '79 has built a strong foundation.Players are involved in other activities. They are bringing football back to where it was. Basketball is on the same course. Change does not happen overnight.
Recruiting is a challenge. There are 34 varsity programs; she feels they are heading in the right direction.
6. Why does Dartmouth allow segregation on campus in the form of affinity housing? How does this fit with the College's mission and its goal of diversity and inclusiveness? If students of different races do not live together, how are they going to learn from each other?
Barry Scherr responded.
Shabazz residence hall is actually open to everyone. Students of all cultures have been living there.
The campus is a richly diverse community.
7. What impact has the governance controversy and the trustees' recent decision had on the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience?
Carrie Pelzel responded.
The campaign goal is $1.3 billion; to date we have received $975 million, which is up for October.
Dollars are up; participation is down.
So far this year, the Dartmouth College Fund is up $2.2 million; down 4.3 percent in participation.
She asked councilors to educate classmates and friends, reminding them that their support goes to the students.
Development tracks reactions to a certain extent; some alumni are delighted with the trustees' recent decision; others are not and are withholding donations.
The impact has not been dramatic.
8. Why did the College cut junior varsity and freshman teams?
Josie Harper responded.
There are 33 club sports and 34 varsity sports.
JV is no longer a feeder to Varsity. Instead, club sports have essentially replaced JV sports.
Students today have more of a variety of interests, and in many cases would prefer to compete on a club level.
Rick Silverman introduced the participants in the presentation “'Round the Googled Earth: Dartmouth in 3D.” Presenters included Lori Loeb, research assistant professor of computer science; and Jessica Glago '08; Gemma Ross '08; Jennifer Huang '09; and Danny Gobaud '11.
Professor Loeb introduced the students and gave a brief summary of how the project came to be. A Dartmouth graduate who is working at Google had contacted her to ask why Dartmouth was not participating in the “Build a Campus in 3D” project. Professor Loeb decided to enter a team of Dartmouth students.
The students walked the audience through the project.
–They had to produce 3D views for all 225 buildings on campus.
–There were many challenges: the need for thousands of photos; finding the buildings; the software was new.
–There were 350 schools entered.
–Dartmouth designed three models: circa 1800, circa 1900, and modern-day.
–There is a free download at www.earth.google.com.
–Dartmouth won! There were seven winners.
J.B. Daukas then commented that he had spoken with Bob Donin, Dartmouth general counsel, about a clerical oversight of the three-year term limit in a few areas of the new constitution. Bob Donin felt that changes could be made if everyone was in agreement. J.B. Daukas proposed an amendment to change Article 6, Section 3:E, H, I, J, Q to add “3-year terms.” The proposal was seconded, voted upon, and passed unanimously.
Rick Silverman introduced Maria Laskaris '84, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, for her presentation on “Making Good Decisions.” Maria Laskaris commented on the current early decision applicant pool which is the largest ever. They have received 1,430 early decision applications, an 11 percent increase from last year, and they are on track to receive 14,000 applications. They predict that they will accept 15 percent and reject 85 percent. She noted that total applications have increased from 7,900 in 1990 to approximately 14,000 in 2007. Student applicants display a broad array of backgrounds and experiences. Maria Laskaris also spoke about access to financial aid for need-based students. The College is looking closely at financial aid and initiatives to insure that Dartmouth is not different from its peers.
In answer to questions about insuring that the admissions staff is diverse, Maria Laskaris replied that hiring staff with diverse backgrounds is very much a part of recruiting. She was also questioned about the lack of need-blind admissions for international students and she responded that it is a clear priority. The College is considering the costs associated with need-blind financial aid for all students.
A question was asked if online admissions applications have changed the dynamics of the application process. Maria Laskaris stated that applying online is easy, not a stumbling block.Online applications increase the significance of alumni interviews. Alumni interviews enable the Admissions Office to understand the applicant as a person, not just on paper. The Admissions Office involves current students in the admissions process as tour guides, reception room greeters, outreach interns (i.e. traveling to college fairs), and communicators (blogs, Facebook, Web information).
Rick Silverman introduced the panelists for the presentation “Building Leadership Capacity across Student Communities.” Panelists included Sylvia Spears, director of the Office of Pluralism and Leadership and associate dean of Student Life; Cara Wallace '03, acting director, Native American Program, Office of Pluralism and Leadership; Joe Brewer, assistant director, Native American Program, Office of Pluralism and Leadership; Elizabeth Sherman '08; Jeffrey Coleman '08; Zachary Kaufman '08; and Chelsey Luger '10. Sylvia Spears provided an overview of student life.Current classes are more diverse than any previous classes. A heterogeneous student body enhances the academic experience and personal development. Cognitive growth is allowing students to shift perspectives and behavior.
Cara Wallace '03 gave some reflections on Dartmouth's Native American students' experiences following last fall's incidents. There was a broad spectrum of reactions and experiences. The Native American students have demonstrated social, cultural, and academic resilience. Cara Wallace's office provides meaningful programming for all students with a primary focus on Native American student development. They hope to empower students to share their experiences and knowledge with their peers in and out of the classroom. Students on the panel shared their insights and observations, commenting that DOC trips are a wonderful first experience with diversity at Dartmouth. The trips challenge students to meet new people.However, it is still obvious that Dartmouth students are not always willing to step outside their comfort zones. Panelists encouraged alumni councilors to understand that current students' experiences may differ from their own experiences. Councilors should make informative connections to students, seek out students' thoughts and ideas, and share their knowledge and expertise with students.
The afternoon plenary session concluded with a presentation about online elections by
Sam Reisner '02 and Bill Mitchell '79. They each provided a model for voting online for constituency representatives. Bill Mitchell noted that his class (1979) elected their Alumni Council class representative in an online election last spring. The election included sending an email to the class to solicit nominations (self-nominations were permitted), allowing each candidate to provide a 50-word statement, using Quickbase.com for the election, and providing an online ballot. Multiple classmates ran and 100 classmates voted in the election.Louisa Guthrie '79 was elected to represent the class.Sam Reisner '02 described a class voting procedure that he has developed and provides as a service to alumni. He developed his system for the student body election five years ago.It is hosted on the Dartmouth site. He maintains it on a voluntary basis. It allows candidate statements and photos. The results are not visible until the election is finished. It is available at www.dartmouth.org/toolkit. The concerns are that the support is voluntary, to participate in the election you must have access to the Internet, and your vote is authenticated by your alumni password. Councilors commented that an email list of classmates is critical for both models. They are also concerned that classmates can only vote online and that there is no provision for written votes. The afternoon plenary session concluded after this presentation was completed.
A reception was held later that evening at the Top of the Hop followed by dinner in Alumni Hall, Hopkins Center. Rick Silverman introduced the Dartmouth Gospel Choir, which entertained the group and received a standing ovation. Rick Silverman welcomed everyone and presented two Dartmouth Alumni Awards toTrustee Emeritus Peter Fahey '68, '70Th and to Leo McKenna '56, '57Tu.
The awards were followed by President James Wright's address. President Wright noted that it has been a great fall term. He listed several of the events he attended this autumn, including a visit to Ravine Lodge with the '11s; the community picnic after Convocation; practices and games; student lunches; the Democratic presidential debates; the Women at Dartmouth celebration of 35 years of coeducation; and welcoming three veterans to Dartmouth. He felt it was noteworthy that these events, which mark this College, did not make media headlines. Priorities are setting goals; furthering support of faculty; enriching those things that better Dartmouth.Commenting on the academic experience at Dartmouth, he stated that students and faculty collaborate, which leads to excitement in learning; we have a rich intellectual environment which involves the professional schools; and we must educate this generation for the next generation. President Wright also noted that the College is looking closely at the summer term, considering how to integrate a program for sophomores, perhaps developing a theme for the summer term and organizing three-week courses. Financial aid is another matter under consideration with discussions pertaining to need-blind admission for international students. President Wright closed by thanking the alumni councilors for their support.
The College Relations Group held an early morning breakfast meeting.
Alumni Council President-Elect J.B. Daukas '84 opened the morning plenary session, noting the Conduct of Meeting Guidelines. He introduced Roberta Moore, director of Alumni Continuing Education and Travel, for her presentation “Explore with Dartmouth:Alumni Learning and Travel Opportunities.” Roberta Moore provided an overview of the programs offered to alumni through her unit. These include Faculty Chalk Talk (a lecture in Hanover by a Dartmouth professor during the morning of each home football game in the fall). These lectures can now be accessed online at www./ace. Alumni travel trips have increased from 12 per year to 30 since she came to Dartmouth.Alumni College has changed and they are now discussing partnering with the Tuck Executive Program and the Rassias Accelerated Language Programs (ALPs).S he runs Alumni College at Reunion, which features a wide variety of academic lectures in Hanover for returning alumni. There are regional club seminars throughout the country and a new series called “Dartmouth on Location,” which provides the opportunity to hear a Dartmouth faculty member lecture about a major exhibit (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) at a local museum.
J.B. Daukas introduced trustees Al Mulley '70 and Jose Fernandez '77 for the trustee report. Al Mulley mentioned that they were there primarily to hear from members about concerns and aspirations. He reiterated President Wright's thank you to the councilors for their support, commenting that it's not the easiest time to be in a leadership role. Jose Fernandez stated that the work on the College continues. Recently, the Board of Trustees established three new committees: Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Alumni Affairs. Al Mulley gave a brief overview of the Academic Affairs committee. They hope to support research and teaching, recruit teacher-scholars (students want both), examine metrics, engage in constructive faculty growth, look at unique aspects ( i.e. sophomore summer), and break down silos (promote interdisciplinary study). Jose Fernandez gave a brief summary of facilities. During President Wright's tenure, $1.1 billion in construction will have been spent. There are many new academic buildings and eight new dorms. The College is refurbishing old dorms (i.e. Hitchcock, New Hampshire).The College needs to look at housing for faculty closer to Hanover.Construction on the new Life Sciences Building should begin in the spring.
A question-and-answer period followed and these subjects were addressed:
Faculty communication skills: Al Mulley mentioned that his committee has spent time with Dean Folt and are confident of the clarity of the mission when hiring faculty. Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) is a new program to help faculty and graduate students teach effectively.
Potential changes to summer term: Al Mulley responded that the Academic Affairs committee is looking at this.
The absence of the College's diversity/nondiscriminatory language clause from the list of trustee criteria in the trustee governance report issued this fall: Al Mulley and Jose Fernandez both agreed that the criteria were meant to be inclusive and apologized for the oversight. They commented that having one institutional statement used for all purposes would be a wise one.
Possible growth of graduate school programs in Arts and Sciences: Al Mulley stated that there are no plans for this. There are a few new PhD slots, as an interdisciplinary graduate studies program was created to deal with silo issues.
Thayer Dining Hall replacement: Jose Fernandez noted that construction on the Thayer Dining Hall replacement could begin in the next 12 months.
Alumni career advising: Al Mulley responded that academic advising has grown, but alumni career advising has not been on the list of priorities.
Cost of higher education tuition and manageable student debt: Al Mulley stated that the whole question of cost is a complicated one. The goal is to increase financial aid by possibly driving down expenses. They are looking at current priorities, loan programs, and financial aid for international students.
J.B. Daukas announced the beginning of the Open Forum section of the plenary session, which began with the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee report by Anton Anderson '89. Anton Anderson and Rick Silverman gave an overview of committee policies and procedures. At the end of the session they asked councilors to submit nominations, ask questions, and spread the word.Self-nominations are allowed.
J.B. Daukas asked if there were other topics to be discussed. Tom West '77 read a resolution concerning the public statements made by alumni-nominated Trustee Todd Zywicki '88 at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education on October 27, 2007. There was a discussion on some wording and the general idea of such a request.At the end of the discussion, a motion was made that a response should be generated. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.A motion that the resolution noted below be voted on was submitted, seconded, and voted on. The resolution passed with the following vote tally:62 councilors voted “yes,” one councilor voted “no,” and one councilor abstained.
“Resolved that the Alumni Council issues the following statement concerning the public statements made by alumni-nominated trustee Todd Zywicki at the John William Pope Center on October 27, 2007:
The Alumni Council expresses disappointment and disapproval of the behavior of the alumni-nominated trustee Todd Zywicki. It is inappropriate, and contrary to Dartmouth's best interests, for a trustee publicly to
–Criticize the motives of those alumni who donate to the College;
–Disparage a former College president by referring to him as a 'truly evil man';
–Promote giving to institutions other than Dartmouth, at the College's expense;
–Accuse College faculty and administrators of godlessness and lack of patriotism; and
–Make false statements and misleading statements about Dartmouth and its history.”
J.B. Daukas asked if there were any additional topics to discuss and a councilor noted that the Student Assembly is working on a proposal to adopt the Moose as the school mascot.
J.B. Daukas introduced the following members of the Association of Alumni for their panel presentation: President Bill Hutchinson '76, Secretary-Treasurer David Spalding '76, Second Vice President Frank Gado '58, and Executive Committee member Tim Dreisbach '71. The following topics were discussed.
–The different types of alumni representation on the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni
–The funding of the lawsuit against the Board of Trustees that has been filed by the Association of Alumni. Frank Gado stated that he has “chosen not to know the funding source.” Bill Hutchinson reported that he has requested documents from the law firm representing the Association of Alumni in order to identify the source of the funding, but this request was declined by the law firm, which told him that he is not the client. All communication about the lawsuit has been vested in Frank Gado.
–The relationship between the Hanover Institute, the “Dartmouth Defense Trust” at Donors Trust, and other financial backers of the lawsuit was commented upon by councilors. David Spalding noted that Frank Gado is a director of the Hanover Institute.
–The difference in opinion on the 11-member Association of Alumni board was noted as Association President Bill Hutchinson stated that the Association board is “falling apart.” He said, “I don't see it being a credible partner in the organizations we need and deserve. I hope the Alumni Council can carry the water for all alumni.”
–Alumni sentiment regarding parity on the Board of Trustees
–Alumni sentiment regarding the lawsuit against the Board of Trustees
A one-half hour open microphone session occurred at the end of the Open Forum for any alumni to address the Alumni Council. Discussion continued about the Association of Alumni lawsuit during this time.
J.B. Daukas adjourned the 195th meeting of the Alumni Council at 12:45 pm.