The Academic Affairs Committee of the Alumni Council met on May 18, 2007, and considered a number of pertinent academic issues.The committee discussed launching a Web-based initiative that will present topical academic programs or subjects to alumni by posting interviews with faculty members on the College Web site, and allowing for alumni feedback to the committee.The committee then evaluated the possibility of creating an "Alumni Speakers Bureau" to assist faculty members interested in bringing prominent alumni to campus to speak to their classes.The committee agreed to work with the office of the dean of faculty explore the issue.Professor Tom Jack, chairman of the biological sciences department of the College, spoke to the committee about the current, vibrant state of life sciences at Dartmouth, and gave an overview of the proposed new life sciences facility that Dartmouth plans to build in the next several years to replace Gilman Hall.Finally, Gregory Chittim, '01, was elected vice chair of the committee.
Committee chair Cherie Holmes '79 began the meeting with a question about the utility of the committee. Over the past six years, the committee has served primarily as a place where Roberta Moore, director of Alumni Continuing Education and Travel, reports out events and issues of the previous six months. Roberta noted that Alumni Continuing Education and Travel is an outreach and market-driven unit that engages with alumni on a daily basis. At the time the committee was originally convened, the Alumni Continuing Education and Travel unit was smaller and had little diversity in programming. The Alumni Council Continuing Education Committee provided essential input at that time. The Alumni Continuing Education and Travel unit now reflects alumni needs and interests, as it should be. The office continues to expand programming and is not able to utilize the committee as it once did.
After a lengthy discussion, the committee unanimously decided to disband. The need to sustain the Faculty Award was raised and it was decided that leadership will talk as a small group to see how to proceed. Council members could still be involved with Alumni Continuing Education and Travel through an ad hoc committee to be convened for specific projects or roundtable discussion during lunch over Alumni Council weekends.
The Committee on Alumni Organizations reviewed work on its best practices resources project and previewed the new Alumni Relations Web site, providing additional feedback to Deb Klenotic, Web editor, on the online implementation of the resources project.Over the next two weeks, the committee will review its working list, identify any gaps, and provide additional resources or links for the initial release in early June. The committee also continued its mission discussion, clarified the list of responsibilities currently listed in the constitution, and identified a subcommittee which will work over the summer to draft a revised statement for committee review.
After discussion, the committee approved a new mission statement (see below).
Jim Wilson, men's and women's swim coach, gave an update on the development of the swimming program over the past four years.Combining the head coach positions enabled the hiring of two full-time assistants.Four teams in Dartmouth's league and 60 percent of teams nationwide have combined head coaches.Recruiting still suffers a bit from adverse publicity but this is becoming less of an issue.All in all the program is slowly getting back on its feet but it is felt that more needs to be done with respect to recruiting and admissions.
In our review of club and varsity sports, the NCAA championship ski team and the four-time champion figure skating team were represented by coaches and athletes.We expressed our congratulations on their great achievements.
In our review of facilities, we were delighted to learn of the proposed new turf field for field hockey and club sports.The Alumni Council passed a resolution last year supporting such a facility for club sports.
Next year we will look at ways to assist the Athletic Department in promoting fund-raising on behalf of athletics.We are unique among the Ivies in not having fund-raisers dedicated to athletics.
Burr Gray '79 was elected Chair and Dave Bradley '58 was elected vice-chair of the committee for 2007-2008.
The Athletic Committee promotes the interests of Dartmouth alumni in athletics at Dartmouth, including varsity athletics, club team athletics, intramural athletics, physical education, and recreation.Specifically, the Athletic Committee performs the following duties:
Gathers and assesses information regarding the administration, management, resources utilization and financial support of athletics by the College, particularly the Department of Athletics and Recreation, as well as student participation in athletics;
Solicits input from the alumni body regarding the interests and concerns of alumni with respect to athletics at Dartmouth;
Consults with, communicates to, and advises the Department, student-athletes and the Administration as to these interests and concerns;
Facilitates and encourages the financial support of athletics through fundraising by alumni and direct funding by the College;
Communicates to the Alumni Council, to the Administration and, as appropriate, to the alumni body the results of the Committee's work.
Communication remains an important issue for alumni councilors.The outcomes of the recent trustee election and the alumni constitution vote last year highlight the challenges to communicating effectively with alumni and facilitating communication among alumni.The committee is seeing some traction in its efforts to address some of these issues:nearly 40 percent of alumni councilors have sent formal reports to their constituents.This is a dramatic increase from historical reporting rates. Future plans include efforts to further increase the councilor reporting rate, enhance existing communication channels, and develop new ones.
Stewardship of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine remains strong.DAM is fiscally sound and DAM Editor Sean Plottner is working to generate new revenue streams while cutting expenses.The magazine is investigating the creation of an online presence and the digitization of the magazine for international recipients.
The alumni survey is in the RFP stage and the hope is to launch the survey in late 2007.Statistical sampling will be used rather than a survey of the full alumni body.Sound surveying science supports this approach.
Committee Chair Douglas Tyson '81, welcomed new members, past members, and visitors to the meeting and invited those who attended Thursday's programs to comment on the content, format, and relevance of those programs. Summaries of Thursday's student-alumni discussion groups and “dine-arounds” (which were greatly appreciated by those in attendance) led to an extended discussion of the campus climate for students from under-represented backgrounds and the impact of Dartmouth's history, location, and other factors on the environment for all students, faculty, and staff at the College.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Karl Furstenberg ‘67a shared news of the appointment of Maria Laskaris '84 as the new dean of admissions and financial aid (effective July 1, 2007).Karl also reported on the results for the Class of 2011, which was selected from the largest applicant pool in the history of the College and which will be the College's most diverse entering class. Other class highlights reported to the committee included a rise in number of legacies enrolling this year and record numbers of international students applying to and enrolling at the College. With yield among admitted students higher for this class than in the recent past, the Admissions Office was not able to admit any students from the waiting list for the Class of 2011.Karl shared news of the progress of Dartmouth's Electronic Student Records Management Project (the “paperless review” process), which should be ready in time for the selection process for the Class of 2012.
Karl thanked the committee for their support during his time as dean and noted how important the Alumni Council and the committee had been to his transition to Dartmouth.Committee members thanked Karl for his work and presented him with a piece of New Hampshire granite (sort of) dug right out of the ground in Hanover and signed by the members of the committee.
Senior Associate Director of Admissions Dan Parish '89 shared a report on the activities of enrollment volunteers; Dennis Ryan '81 was elected vice chair of the committee; committee members recognized the work of Douglas Tyson '81 as chair; Douglas adjourned the meeting.
The Student Life Committee focused on two main topics in its May meeting.The first centered on an exploration of freedom of speech and expression on campus.Using case studies based on recent events, committee members were joined by College administrators to discuss what free speech and expression on campus means, how it intersects with the college's Principle of Community, and the range of options for responding to speech or expression that may be perceived as offensive.The discussion highlighted how complex these issues can be, and the many ways in which the College community deals with them.
The second topic involved a summary of the student-alumni discussion groups that were sponsored by Student Life and had occurred the night before.The discussions were successful, with each group focusing on a different pre-determined set of issues, including: Student Leadership, Student Living, Membership in a Diverse Community, and Balance in Students' Lives.All four of these discussion groups (each attended by more than twenty students and councilors) focused on students' experiences around these issues, and explored both the challenges they face, and the many highlights of their Dartmouth experience.For a feel for the nature of these discussion groups, please see coverage of the “Diverse Community” discussion in 194th Council: On a Mission.
In addition, the committee was briefed on the agenda that the new officers of the Student Assembly are shaping for the coming year, reviewed committee achievements of “purposeful acts” accomplished over the past year, and began to plan its focus for the coming year.At the end of the meeting, the chair was passed to David Eichman '82, and Matt Nelson '00 was elected vice chair of the committee.Outgoing chair Jeff Weiss '86, formally thanked the committee members, and in particular, Holly Sateia '82AS, dean of student life, and Rex Morey '99, associate director of class activities, for their tremendous work and support over the past year.
The Young Alumni Committee met with a short agenda including leadership succession, continuation of Alumni 101 updates, new committee activities, and general updates from Rex Morey '99, associate director of class activities, regarding young alumni initiatives.
Libby Hadzima '06 was elected to serve as co-chair to incoming committee chair Matt Bailey '96 this year and then succeed Matt as committee chair during her third year.
Several committee members volunteered to help draft and update changes to Alumni 101 in the next one and a half weeks in order to have an updated version available for distribution to the Class of 2007 during senior week.
Highlights of Rex Morey's report:
After much work and development, the new alumni Web site will be launched in June, offering considerable enhancements in organization and functionality.
The continued use of InCircle will be evaluated over the coming year due to concern that its usage and benefits may not be commensurate with its ongoing cost.
New technology for alumni email services is also being evaluated in response to feedback on the functionality of the current technology.
A broad discussion was undertaken around the concept of creating “reunions” that all classes can attend each year surrounding a big event weekend during the year other than C&R.Princeton operates a reunion model of this nature which encourages alumni to return to campus annually.There was general agreement that this is a concept worthy of exploration, although it also presents challenges.
The committee selected young alumni career services as the focus of its next purposeful act.The majority of young alumni will switch jobs within one to five years of graduation.While many professional schools (including some of Dartmouth's professional schools) offer robust career services for alumni, the offering to undergraduate alumni at Dartmouth is somewhat limited.Therefore, the committee aims to perform research into best practices in alumni career services and the unique needs of young alumni in order to generate a findings and recommendations document by the December meeting.