May 15–17, 2014

Chair Vin Pellegrini ’77 welcomed the group and each attending councilor introduced themselves.

Vin reported that an update on the curriculum review is on the back burner until the new provost is in place and can take this on fully.

Vin announced that David Van Wie ’79 would be the new vice chair of the Academic Affairs Committee as of July 1, 2014. Brendan Connell ’87 will become the Chair of the Committee at this time. 

Gail A. Gentes ’77a, Director of Action-Based Learning Programs shared a PowerPoint with the group to provide a baseline of understanding for the term Experiential Learning as it relates to the Dartmouth undergraduate experience. Gail has been at work since Fall 2013 to inventory and document all that is happening regarding action-based learning programs at Dartmouth. 

Senior Lecturer, Charles A. Wheelan ’88 spoke to the Councilors about his December 2013 ten-day visit to India with a group of undergraduates in a Rockefeller Public Policy Course.  He shared a 5 minute film that showed the students in India and being interviewed about their experience. Wheelan explained that his trip is a marriage of a "First Year Trip with a Senior Seminar". The lynchpin of the experience for the students is that they must deliver a white paper before the end of the trip. This assignment truly focuses the group. They take what they learn in the Fall seminar and work to put it into practice on this trip.

Charlie explained that this is a needs blind class/trip. The students have to pay their round trip air fare but they can apply for aid from the College and from the Rockefeller Center. Cost should not be an issue for a student's participation. Three students who went on the trip participated in the Council meeting: Eric Yang ’14, Shoshana Silverstein ’15 and Ayushi Narayan ’14.

There were then questions from the Councilors for all of the presenters:

Why now? Why in the forefront? What is the gap?
Gail Gentes responded that you can get knowledge via technology these days but to gain wisdom you must take the knowledge and do things with it – this is where experiential learning comes in to play.  Wheelan added that you get the background in class and then you go out into the world to make sense of what you have just learned.

Vin asked the group to share thoughts for possible topics to be covered at the next meeting in Fall 2014.

The Committee thanked Vin for his good work as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.