October 22–24, 2015
Committee chair Laura Hicks Roberts ’85 opened the meeting and asked the committee members and guests to introduce themselves.
Following introductions, the Student Assembly report was presented by Frank Cunningham ’16, Student Assembly president, and Noah Manning ’17, Student Assembly Chief of Staff. Frank and Noah discussed the various programs the Student Assembly has focused on during the fall term which include:
- Sexual assault prevention initiatives
- Student wellness, including programs titled “I’m Here for You” and the production of a video titled “Stop Hiding, Start Talking” focusing on mental health
- Fostering an inclusive community through various diversity initiatives
Frank showed the committee the video “Stop Hiding, Start Talking” that had been created by the Student Assembly.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer and Dean of the College Rebecca Biron gave a joint presentation. Dean Biron read the mission of Dartmouth College which is: “Dartmouth College educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge.” She emphasized that Dartmouth integrates all elements of a holistic education.
In the past, the Dean of the College basically handled everything except offering academic degrees. Over a year ago, the provost spoke with various constituencies about how to best integrate academic life outside the classroom. Based on these findings, we have now shifted the administrative model. We are combining the academic focus with the student life focus. The Dean of the College and the Vice Provost for Student Affairs have offices located in the same suite due to the close work they do together. The Dean of the College focuses on the integration of academic life, while the Vice Provost focuses on student affairs and undergraduate social life issues.
Dean of the College responsibilities include working with the house professors in the house communities; strategic planning for enrollment management, admissions, and financial aid; strategic planning for holistic advising, academic support and professional development; and leadership for diversity and inclusion efforts in the undergraduate academic experience. A component resulting from the Moving Dartmouth Forward efforts focuses on academic rigor at Dartmouth. Dean Biron is working with faculty and standing committees on different aspects of Moving Dartmouth Forward including addressing grade inflation, more time for students to transport between classes, more innovative courses (for example, fall term classes possibly including an integrated travel component at the end of the term). They are considering some block courses during the summer term. Academic engagement can also be integrated into the residential spaces. They are interested in integrating, coordinating, and sequencing community building, for example, partnering with academic centers (Rockefeller Center, Dickey Center, Wellness Center) for leadership programs and community building cross-cultural initiatives.
Vice Provost Ameer said that her goal is to empower every student to maximize their potential. She oversees approximately 300 student organizations. Her office also oversees mental health services, and the Center for Professional Development (which experienced an increase from 40% to 80% usage last year). Students have a lot of anxiety about careers. The Center for Professional Development is trying to get students to utilize their services earlier in their time as students.
During the fall term, the following actions (related to the work of Moving Dartmouth Forward) have been implemented:
- Citizen pledge adopted
- Enhanced sexual assault education program
- Safety app rollout
- Greek Letter Organizations’ pledge period elimination in effect
- Alcohol Management Program went into effect this week
- Organizational accountability preparations for annual review
Dean Ameer mentioned the many ways that alumni are involved in a wide variety of Dartmouth programs:
- Alumni are a major component of the Center for Professional Development
- Alumni are an integral part of student support service like OPAL (for example, involvement with the Triangle House)
- Alumni conduct enrollment interviews and are admissions ambassadors for Dartmouth College
- Today, Dartmouth is asking councilors for their opinions about how alumni can be involved with the residential house communities.
Brian Reed, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students, led a student panel presentation focused on Student Advising and Academic Support. The following academic support services are provided:
- Office of the Undergraduate Deans: The undergraduate deans provide academic and personal support for all undergraduates. Every student has an assigned dean.
- Office of Student Accessibility Services: Accessibility Services works with more than 300 students with disabilities and provides guidance to students, faculty and staff in making classes, programs, services and activities accessible.
- Academic Skills Center: The ASC and Tutor Clearinghouse support all students in achieving academic success through learning strategies workshops, study groups, coaching, tutoring and other programs designed to maximize the academic experience.
- First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP): The FYSEP program empowers first-generation students to thrive at Dartmouth.
- King Scholars Program: The King Scholars program supports exceptional students from developing nations in preparing to address global poverty.
An informative booklet, Explore, Engage, Excel: An Introduction to Academics at Dartmouth College was distributed to all of the committee members.