Alumni Council President Columns in Dartmouth Alumni Magazine: Martha Johnson Beattie '76
We heard you.
The failure of the proposed new alumni constitution sent the message to alumni councilors that you would like your Association of Alumni and Alumni Council to remain separate entities. And as councilors we also heard clearly that you need to know more about who we are, what we do and what we know about today's Dartmouth.
With this in mind we have been working diligently to rethink the mission and structure of the Alumni Council, and to implement ways to increase the effectiveness of our communications. You may have heard more from us during the past several months than you ever have before, but this is not enough. A continuous two-way dialogue between the council and alumni is our goal.
At our meeting last December we examined an issue that is essential to many of us: maintaining the quality of the Dartmouth undergraduate experience. Councilors discussed the undergraduate-graduate academic continuum with the four graduate and professional school deans.
“There's no such thing as a ‘graduate faculty' and an ‘undergraduate faculty,' ” emphasized Paul Danos, dean of the Tuck School of Business. “In a world-class academic environment like ours there's no market for faculty who teach at just the graduate or undergraduate level.”
Dartmouth Medical School Dean Stephen Spielberg, who teaches three undergraduate courses himself, told councilors that undergraduates who want to start a research program in the Norris Cotton Cancer Center “can just walk over and any faculty will sit down with them to help.”
Asked about how much time graduate teaching assistants spend teaching undergraduates, dean of graduate studies Charles Barlowe told us, “Our graduate students don't teach courses. They TA. They oversee lab sections, assist with grading or lead discussion groups. But they don't direct courses.” The sole exception is in the math department, where advanced doctoral students participate in a program founded by former president John Kemeny that requires teaching a course as a culminating experience.
Please read more about that 193rd Alumni Council meeting online at http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/news.
As we congregate this spring the council will focus on learning more about student life on campus, another key topic. Scheduled student-alumni group discussion topics include student leadership (experiences, observations, lessons learned), student living (choices, experiences, a day and night in the life of today's students), membership in a diverse community (highs, lows and connections among different communities) and balance in students' lives (how their time is spent, highlights of today's Dartmouth experience). We will also hear from the editors of the student newspapers and attend a panel presentation by students who participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts this year. Councilors will have the opportunity to attend classes and to dine informally at various sites around campus with students.
We also will have an important discussion focusing on the mission of the Alumni Council. How can the council best serve the alumni and the College and what structure should it take?
All that we learn, we will share with you. Our job is to communicate with you, the alumni, and to bring your questions, concerns or kudos to the campus. Please engage with us in this important conversation. To reach your councilor or to read more about Alumni Council meetings and how you might be able to serve, please visit. http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/leadership/council. You can e-mail the council with your questions at email@example.com.