217th Meeting Minutes

Chair Brandi Johnson ’01 opened the meeting with introductions and a review of the previous meeting’s minutes.

Committee secretary Robin Albing Tu’81 introduced two guest speakers, Joe Helble, provost, and Dean Lacey, assistant provost for faculty recruitment and diversity. Assistant Provost Lacey discussed faculty programs for diversity and inclusion, including the Inclusive Excellence initiative. Committee members raised discussion questions about interdepartmental opportunities for faculty, challenges surrounding properly defining diversity, and challenges surrounding attracting diverse faculty to a rural campus. Lacey also conveyed that access to spousal employment opportunities can pose a challenge when recruiting faculty members. Dartmouth has funding available to facilitate faculty spouse employment within the College and is working towards other solutions to this challenge.

Provost Helble discussed the nature of the relationship between the liberal arts and STEM fields at Dartmouth. He conveyed that there is a general trend in higher education which sees the number of humanities majors decreasing and the number of STEM majors increasing. Provost Helble explained that a decrease in the number of humanities majors does not reflect a decrease in the value the College places on the humanities. Dartmouth aims to offer a broad education that gives focus to multiple disciplines.

Provost Helble stated that the liberal arts are still at the core of a Dartmouth education and that barriers to collaboration between faculty and students of differing departments are low. He cited the Digital Humanities initiative at the College as a successful example of this collaboration and also indicated that efforts are currently underway to integrate STEM fields and the arts. Committee chair Brandi Johnson ’01 noted the focus placed on STEM by The Call to Lead campaign.

Committee secretary Robin Albing Tu’81 briefly discussed the upcoming 250th anniversary celebration events, which highlight presentations by professor-student pairings that illustrate the College’s emphasis on undergraduate research. Albing also announced that the 250th anniversary January kickoff event in New York City would feature Jake Tapper ’91, among others.

Albing proceeded to discuss the Rassias Faculty Award and explained the voting process to the committee. Voting will occur prior to the next committee meeting. Committee members discussed the importance of considering diversity when selecting the award recipients.  

Committee chair Brandi Johnson ’01 concluded the meeting by calling for feedback on the Dartmouth mobile app from an alumni perspective. The meeting was then adjourned.

The Alumni Service Committee meeting began with introduction of new and current members led by committee chair Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98. Members introduced themselves with their constituency and their employment. Victoria Gonin, deputy director of Alumni Relations, joined the meeting to talk about a cornerstone of Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary, a service initiative that aims to capture 250,000 hours of service by alumni, faculty, staff, and students. She asked the committee if they could help identify and promote the role of service chair to classes and clubs that do not currently have that role. The committee also voted to name the initiative. The committee then discussed the upcoming Alumni Day of Service to be held on May 4, 2019.  The committee agreed that promoting the Alumni Day of Service to alumni councilors, class and club presidents, newsletter editors, and webmasters would be a great way to reach a wider audience to host more service projects. The committee will begin working on outreach to those audiences.

The newly named Alumni and Student Engagement Committee (formerly known as the Student Affairs Committee) met for the first time. The committee’s new name reflects a revised focus for the year — exploring the powerful interest in connections between alumni and students and looking at the life stages or transitions of students and recent graduates. For the past several years, especially last year, the committee brainstormed what its focus should be given that it was not directly advising or shaping student life. Since alumni are interested in both better understanding the student experience and providing relevant and powerful touchpoints for students with alumni (and given that the committee and Alumni Council work closely with Alumni Relations in the alumni space), the group’s leadership worked to develop a new mission statement and clear objectives and deliverables for this year.

The fall meeting focused on getting input on this mission and discussing potential areas of attention. The group coalesced around two ideas and will continue the work in working groups in the winter: 1) place-based connections for alumni and students (understanding FSPs, LSAs, etc. and creating structures to systematize and test programs) and 2) one-on-one meaningful connections and mentoring (reviewing what exists in particular across different centers and programs and putting together best practices and framework for alumni programs). We ended with engagement groups and working group leaders and plans to follow up with notes, next steps, and our first group calls.

The Alumni Council Athletics Committee fall meeting featured a series of updates from the Athletics department, including from Harry Sheehy ’55a, director of Athletics and Recreation, and Bob Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of Athletics. The committee’s working groups gave a report. The meeting included a discussion of the evolution of athletics fundraising at the College and the role that it will play in The Call to Lead campaign. One of the committee’s working groups, “Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2),” supports furthering alumni connections with student-athletes, particularly in relation to career preparation. The “Dartmouth on the Road” group shared a new interactive website, which would create greater alumni engagement with Dartmouth teams competing outside of Hanover. The meeting concluded with a panel of two new coaches, Bo Oshoniyi, Bobby Clark Head Coach of Men’s Soccer, and Wendy Bordeau, Head Coach of Women’s Rowing. They discussed what attracted them to Dartmouth and how they support students in realizing their full potential as athletes and leaders.

Committee Chair Carrie Fraser ’86 Th’87 welcomed the committee. Members introduced themselves and new members of the committee were recognized. James Napoli, digital editor of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (DAM), presented information on the forthcoming 250th anniversary commemorative issue of the magazine being produced for January/February. He also shared with the committee how to navigate the archives of the DAM site and locate content that could be valuable for communicating with alumni. Vice Chair Spenser Mestel ’11 led a small-group brainstorming session to provide members with the chance to share areas of improvement for pre- and post-meeting summaries from councilors to constituents. A number of ideas were generated to share with fellow councilors and guide the process for creating meeting templates.

Eric C. Taylor ’84, chair of the Enrollment and Admissions Committee, opened the session by welcoming all members, with a special welcome to new members. Eric asked the committee to review the mission statement of the Alumni Council, as well as the mission statement of the Enrollment and Admissions Committee. Isabel Bober ’04, senior associate director of Admissions, led the committee through a case study presentation. Before reviewing the case studies, Isabel laid the groundwork for a basic understanding around the work of admissions including the various ways to apply to college and the regional context that is given to each application. Isabel presented the statistics from the Class of 2022. Eric Taylor closed the session by thanking the committee for their efforts.

Chair Todd Donovan ’92 was delayed by the inclement weather but Vice Chair Walter Foster ’83 led the meeting until he arrived. The agenda included an exchange with Provost Joe Helble; an update from Roger Woolsey, director of the Center for Professional Development; a presentation by Walter Palmer ’90, director of Dartmouth for Life; and working group sessions with updates. The committee created a third working group, titled the Alumni Engagement working group, to complement the ongoing efforts of the Student Engagement and Internship working groups. First-year councilor Jen Bordeau ’06 was named chair of the new Alumni Engagement working group. Mary Brown ’78 and Kyle Gore ’84 will continue as chairs of the Student Engagement and Internship working groups, respectively. 

The Young Alumni Committee met on Friday, November 16, led by Rebecca Gollub ’14, vice chair. The committee started off with introductions to new leadership as well as new members and dedicated some of this time to teambuilding.  After the group had time to get to know each other, the discussion centered around the 250th anniversary service initiative and the role the young alumni councilors can help support the initiative. The next steps from this discussion included outreach to support the May 4

Alumni Day of Service event, and outreach to build a large coalition of volunteers who would think about service year-round.  Last on the agenda was an overview of The Call to Lead by Jeff Hafner ’02. He fielded many questions about how young alumni might participate in the campaign and which strategies to build participation would be most compelling to the young alumni community.