The Faculty Award for Service to Continuing Education was presented to Susan Ackerman '80, professor of religion.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Karl Furstenberg spoke about the incoming first-year class and the college admissions process and took questions from alumni councilors.
First Plenary Session
Alumni Council President Rick Routhier '73 Tu'76 welcomed everyone and reviewed the afternoon sessions.
2-4 pm: The Alumni Governance Task Force (AGTF)—represented by Chair Joe Stevenson '57, JB Daukas '84, Anton Anderson '89, and Martha Hennessey '76—
presented the final version of the new constitution that council members would vote on the following morning.
The AGTF described the process they had gone through since the December 2005 meeting, particularly their efforts to design a fair process for electing trustees when more than two candidates are running.
They then presented a dozen reasons why alumni should vote for the new constitution:
1. The new constitution streamlines the organizational structure: two separate alumni bodies—Association of Alumni and Alumni Council—are brought into one unified organization, to be called the Alumni Association.
2. A wide spectrum of alumni thought and sometimes disparate viewpoints have been engaged and incorporated into the new constitution.
3. The process of amending the new constitution is fair and reasonable.
4. The new constitution will be subject to regular and required evaluation and review.
5. A new, highly active and sensitive two-way communications channel between alumni and trustees/administration is created: the Alumni Liaison Board (ALB). This innovative, key component of the Alumni Association will better inform trustees on alumni attitudes and opinions and provide an effective forum for give-and-take.
6. The roles of the various components of the organization are clear and well defined: the Assembly as senate and forum for debate and deliberation, the ALB as the communications medium, and the overall Alumni Association as the general alumni governance construct.
7. The Alumni Association will be markedly more democratic and transparent via popular elections for key offices and representatives. Direct alumni elections will occur for association and assembly leadership positions, for half of the ALB, for half of the Nominating and Balloting Committees, and for 21 of the at-large members of the Assembly.
8. Significantly better representation from Dartmouth classes is provided on the Assembly—one representative each from all classes up to the 50th Reunion class and five representatives for the post-50th classes.
9. Stronger representation will be provided on the Assembly for affiliated groups, reflecting the increased numbers of alumni who have primary ties to the College through these groups.
10. If an alumnus wishes to serve in the Alumni Association, access to a service role is easy. Petitioning for office is simplified.
11. The alumni trustee election process is streamlined and made fairer in the following ways: (a) petitioning is easier, (b) the ballot is simplified, and (c) the electioneering “playing field” becomes much closer to being level.
12. Two things will greatly improve the ability of disparate viewpoints to be heard: (a) the increase in directly elected positions and (b) the increased focus on determining and communicating alumni sentiment.
The AGTF then answered questions from the floor, including:
What happened to the instant runoff recommendation? In an effort to gain broader support, it was replaced by a process designed to result in two-person races whenever possible.
What do you want councilors to do? Understand the new constitution, advocate it, vote for it, and communicate their actions and beliefs about it to their constituencies.
If the new constitution is adopted, how will the new organizational structure and new councilors be phased in? This is covered in Article XII of the new constitution. No current councilors will be removed.
Why are half of the Nominating Committee members elected and half appointed? To ensure that some members have relevant experience, while others may have broad support from the alumni body but not much experience.
Can the new constitution be changed after it has been adopted? Yes, through amendments. A special committee will review the constitution at least once every five years and recommend changes as they see necessary. The intent will not be to drastically rewrite it.
If adopted tomorrow, can the constitution be changed before the all-media vote of the alumni body? This set off a long discussion that continued into the next day. The bottom-line answer is that, yes, it could be changed—but no one wanted that to happen. This answer, in turn, generated a discussion of a proposed amendment to the new constitution that will be voted on tomorrow, concerning specifically how the current draft could be changed and under what circumstances.
3:45-4 pm: Nominating Committee Report
Julie Cillo '92, chair of the Nominating Committee, offered her thanks to Andrea Lordan '89, who is cycling off the Nominating Committee, and to the rest of the members of the committee for their work. Julie presented lists of incoming class, regional, affiliated group, undergraduate, graduate, and club officers who are cycling onto the Alumni Council for the December 2006 meeting.
Julie presented the at-large councilors slate, nominated by the Nominating Committee, to be voted on the following morning. She said factors including geographic location, gender, class, leadership skills, service to the alumni body, and professional skills had been considered in the formation of the slate of candidates.
There were calls for votes for John Hathaway '48 to the Hanover Inn Board of Overseers and for Richard Babcock '69 for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine Editorial Board. Both were unanimously approved.
The slate of Nominating Committee candidates presented (vote for two):
Karen Brace '85 Anton Anderson '89
JB Daukas '84 Martha Hartfiel '83
The slate of College Relations Group candidates presented (vote for one):
James Wooster '59 Gersh Abraham '58
Michelle Sweetser '99
The candidate presented for president-elect:
Rick Silverman '81
The candidate presented for president:
Martha Beattie '76
4-4:45 pm: Report of Fall Survey Results
Andy Horne '87 of the College Relations Group (CRG) Subcommittee on Alumni Council Effectiveness reported:
Recommendations were based on December 2005 short questionnaires. Some comments also came from long questionnaires that were distributed in the December 2005 councilor registration packet.
Andy emphasized his subcommittee's conclusion that the focus of the Alumni Council should be on acts, not words, and that whatever the council does in this regard needs to be independent of the constitutional discussion and debate. The subcommittee gave the following recommendations to the CRG, and the CRG reviewed them.
Three Primary Goals
Improve the committee structure.
Improve the Alumni Council's interaction with current College life.
Improve the communication system between/among the council, the councilors, and their constituencies.
Improve the committee structure.
Define purposeful acts of each committee.
Create two new committees: Orientation and Governance.
Improve the Alumni Council's interaction with current College life.
Incorporate students into council committees.
Focus meetings on College life and interaction.
Improve communication system between/among the council, the councilors, and their constituencies.
Establish a general objective for every council meeting.
Establish a level of uniformity in meeting agendas.
Create and use communication templates.
Identify and implement an annual calendar.
Create an alumni correspondent.
Define councilor obligations.
4:45-5:30 pm: Trustee Report from Al Mulley '70
Al first acknowledged the passing of Jim Freedman.
Al then mentioned there were changes in the organization of the board of trustees before he joined (one and a half years ago) to streamline down to three committees—Finance, Governance, and Facilities—with various working groups. He serves on the Facilities Committee.
His working group this year focused on graduate school academics—last year's focus was on undergraduate academics.
The board of trustees includes an Alumni Relations Working Group—to find more effective ways to communicate between trustees and alumni. Trustees are spending more time around the country meeting with alumni—for example on May 10, four trustees in Boston met with about 60 alumni to discuss the topic “How Does Dartmouth Lead?” Al then opened the floor for questions:
Q: From Julie Cillo '92: When they go into the community, do the trustees see the same faces? How can we help increase the diversity of the audience?
A: Al commented that he is relatively new on the board, so every face is new to him; anything that we as alumni can do to help is welcome.
Q: From Bill Carney '75: We've seen Al twice at Council and CAGOW, but other trustees not as much. In particular, it seems the charter trustees are more visible than the elected ones.
A: This is more reflective of Al's proximity to Hanover. The chair keeps track of appearances of all trustees. This visibility is probably more reflective of geography and life issues.
Q: From John Reed '75: Given that the Alumni Sentiment Survey will be launched in the coming year, is there anything that the trustees would like to see coming out of that survey?
A: I would love to know more about aspirations for Dartmouth's leadership.
Q: What is the process that the trustees use for making decisions or venting on issues, and when they do meet, do trustees really speak their mind?
A: The work of the board of trustees is basically to weigh lots of different perspectives and come to a view that represents the collective wisdom of those governing Dartmouth. There are no shrinking violets on the board of trustees, but any individual board member has no power; it's only the collective power that enables decision making and governing on the board.
7:30-9:40 pm: Banquet Program, Rick Routhier '73 Tu '76 Presiding
The Dartmouth Alumni Award was presented to Bob Conn '61. Per Tom Brokaw, “It's easy to make a buck—not so easy to make a difference.” Bob clearly has made a difference. In his remarks, Bob spoke of the importance of maintaining the independence of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. He recommended an annual review of that independence by the Communications Committee.
The Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award was presented to Kate Aiken '92.
President Jim Wright spoke about (1) the continuity of values and goals of the last five presidents of the Wheelock Succession and (2) the changes that have resulted. With the passing of the 14th and 15th presidents in the Wheelock Succession, David McLaughlin and Jim Freedman, Jim Wright stands alone for the first time.
Noting that there are now buildings in process or completed to honor John S. Dickey, John Kemeny, and David McLaughlin, President Wright committed to so honor Jim Freedman.
Each of the five recent presidents, including Wright, has sought College diversity, strong undergraduate education, learning beyond the classroom, and internationalism. Dartmouth has accomplished a lot since joining the Ivy League in 1954:
We are ranked fourth in students studying abroad, well above any other Ivy school.
We are a top college in Peace Corps participation.
One-third of Tuck School students are from overseas.
Eighty percent of Dartmouth students are involved in intramural or College athletics.
Examples of diversity results were given.
There is a significant new fitness facility, and $70 million will be spent on enhanced athletic facilities.
The values that are important at Dartmouth have not changed.
President Wright said his theme for Dartmouth is “Never stop dreaming and never stop reaching.” He closed by thanking the Alumni Council representatives for all they do for Dartmouth.
Second Plenary Session
8:30-8:45 am: Alumni Survey Recap—John Reed '75 filling in for Jim Bildner '75
John Reed '75 reported that the brief history of the Alumni Sentiment Survey was that, about 15 months ago, Rick Routhier '73 Tu '76 asked Jim Bildner '75, John, and Dave Bracken '73 to develop a concept and plan for launching a regular, state-of-the-art alumni surveying process to (1) continuously improve the level of engagement of alumni with the College and (2) continuously build the strength of the College's brand in the higher education market. Earlier this year, David Spalding '76 and the Office of Alumni Relations agreed to support the survey, both financially and operationally.
The plan now is for the survey to be designed and sent to all 66,500 alumni in the fall of 2006 so results can be analyzed and reported back to the Alumni Council and the alumni themselves by the May 2007 council meeting.
A task force is forming. Current members are the former, current, and incoming chairs of the Communications Committee (Jim Bildner '75, John Reed '75, and Andrew Koh '96), David Spalding '76, Bill Walker, the College's research director (position filled by the summer), and three alumni—not necessarily from the Alumni Council—with relevant marketing and research/surveying expertise.
The task force is to function as an interim vehicle to help establish the regular and effective use of the most advanced and powerful marketing research and customer management tools for the College and, three to five years from now, to transition full control of the tool(s) to the College.
Current expectation is to do a full survey of all living alumni every five years, with smaller scale sampling and surveying done each year.
External consulting firms will bid on building the survey, delivering it, analyzing incoming results, and reporting them out to the Dartmouth community. This work will be bid out via an RFP to multiple companies this summer.
John opened the floor to questions:
Q: Will there be a transition from this task force to the ALB in the new council?
A: Not clear yet; however, this will happen if the new constitution passes this fall.
One comment was made about sampling data, and that it should provide statistically valid and useful information to the Dartmouth community for current or future purposes.
8:45-9:30 am: Subcommittee Reports and Recommendations
Andy Horne '87 returned to the recommendations of his committee—first presented to the Alumni Council yesterday—for discussion and voting. He first reviewed the recommendations of the College Relations Group subcommittee on Alumni Council Effectiveness. The two proposals to be voted on were:
Forming a Governance Committee of the Alumni CouncilPurposeful acts of this committee:
Ensure committee's completion of purposeful acts.
Oversee councilors' performances.
Meet calendar deadlines.
Chair—immediate past president or past chair of CAO—and two retiring councilors and at least two councilors who just completed second year.
Nominated or appointed by the Nominating Committee.
Serve in the role of doing things that no one is doing today.
Length of term to be determined by Nominating Committee.
Addresses “who will oversee and police the police.”
In response, concerns expressed by councilors included:
Is this committee really necessary? Can the president or committee chair(s) address this?
Will volunteers be put off and unmotivated by the oversight nature of the committee?
Some problems needing solving are simply a by-product of councilors' not knowing how to perform their jobs.
Maybe this idea is good, but do we need a separate committee to do this? A response to this question was that the Alumni Council Executive Committee is already burdened and is made up of committee chairs that need to be policed in the first place.
A suggestion made was to increase councilor satisfaction by allowing councilors to join their first-choice committees.
Next, Andy sought a “general sense” of how councilors felt about the proposed committee. The straw poll was split nearly 50-50, so for the moment this committee was not approved. The issue was tabled for further review by the Executive Committee.
Forming an Orientation Committee:Purposeful acts of this committee:
Identify, contact, and orient new councilors per new calendar.
Serve as mentor to new councilors (1 to 3 ratio).
Address unhappy committee assignments.
Five third-year councilors; five second-year councilors.
Ten or more members should be volunteers.
Concern about members' being volunteers. If each committee, in addition to appointing the new vice chair, appointed someone to the Orientation Committee, this might address some of the dissatisfaction issues.
Address issue of current new councilor orientation: current method is one-hour orientation on Thursday afternoon of first meeting.
Concerns from councilors:
Need to orient the chairs to ensure proper transition of roles.
A vote was called, and this committee was unanimously approved.
3) Improving the communication system among the Alumni Council, the councilors, and their constituencies by using templates.
A vote was called, and this plan was unanimously approved.
4) Creation of “alumni correspondents.” Key points of this proposal are (1) to get alumni perspectives on College events on a particular weekend (e.g., Green Key Weekend) to let the average alumnus know—without PR spin—what is going on at the College and in student life, etc. and 2) to address the issue of alumni getting only disparate, inconsistent, or sparse feedback on Dartmouth life (not from the College, but from an independent correspondent) or only seeing feedback from correspondents with an axe to grind (e.g., correspondents from issue-charged groups such as the Hanover Institute).
Concerns expressed in response included:
How do you pay for something like this, especially if 40 percent of the alumni body still needs or prefers to be reached by U.S. mail (postage and paper expenses)?
Would anyone pay attention given that many alumni are already oversaturated with information?
Why not put the stamp of the Alumni Council (detached and representative organization) on the reports—versus having an average alumnus submit them?
A vote was called, and the vast majority opposed the “alumni correspondent” plan.
9:30-10:30 am: Committee Reports
Honorary Degrees: Some progress made in identifying candidates for degrees; notices are being sent to class presidents and to Alumni Council members seeking their suggestions on nominees.
Continuing Education: Overall in 2005-06, there were 15 alumni club seminars with 900 participants; 41 alumni trips with 680 participants; 5 Chalk Talks with 270 participants; and 65 faculty members involved overall. The committee wants input from David Spalding '76 on direction and product offerings.
Academic Affairs: Everyone who now serves on this committee wants to be there. As its purposeful act, the committee will ask four of its members to make its language and goals as a committee more focused. Also want to (1) better engage alumni; (2) enhance coordination between alumni, faculty, and administrators; and 3) improve information available to alumni about faculty activities. Will bring proposals for specific actions this coming year. JB Daukas '84 was named vice chair.
Alumni Organizations: Seeks as a purposeful act to increase alumni engagement through in-person dialogue and communications. We need a stronger in-person component in sharing information among varied groups. Another purposeful act is to identify common priorities and communicate these findings to the Alumni Relations office to address. This will increase the accountability of Alumni Relations to determine whether an initiative can be accomplished or not. Additional suggestions are (1) a shared database of best practices from alumni clubs, classes, and other groups and (2) an analysis of how alumni organizations are shifting from linkage to the College through class connections to other affiliate connections. We need to be prepared to respond to this change. David Eichman '82 was named vice chair.
Athletics: Itspurposeful act is to maintain liaison role and to focus on promotion of club sports, with resolution to encourage more money allocated to support club sports. Currently there is a lack of space for club sports—there are too few playing fields. New resolution calls for a new artificial turf field primarily for club sports as a top priority. Now will try to send this message to relevant target groups.
Communications: Focus this coming summer and fall will be on encouraging participation in the vote on the proposed constitution. Also will focus on helping the College navigate the rapidly changing landscape of communications technologies (e.g., blogs) to create the strongest messages possible. Expect interaction also with the Alumni Sentiment Task Force as it works to launch survey and then analyze and report. Andrew Koh '96 was named vice chair.
Admissions: Alumni volunteers are now very active, and the Admissions Office relies on them. Over last two years there has been increased volunteering, but not with affiliate groups. Goal is to target these affiliate groups to get more volunteers. Another goal is to expand the book award program. Discussion of “Legacy Weekend” continued with potential management of event by the Financial Aid Office—with funding by the Development Office.
Student Life: Reported that the value and enthusiasm generated by focus groups was great. Most significant activity now between 10 pm and midnight is Facebook.com– sharing all types of information in connecting people and groups with each other. Identified three purposeful acts to help better connect alums and students: (1) identify and hold more focus groups; (2) catalogue 12-14 ways to connect alumni and students (e.g., TASTE, inCircle, etc.); and (3) better include graduate students in activities with alumni because they are a significant campus presence. David Eichman '82 was named vice chair.
Young Alumni: Purposeful acts to work towards are (1) “Alumni 101” manual on how to most effectively function as an alumnus—now getting proofed and will be provided to seniors before their graduation; (2) improved YADA Web site; (3) YADA survey; and (4) Lobster bake and TASTE, Hill Winds Society—including 15 ambassadors to alumni. Consensus is that if the new constitution is voted in, young alumni should advocate to undergraduates that they understand and support it.
Nominating: Anton Anderson '89 and JB Daukas '84 were elected to the Nominating Committee and Jim Wooster '59 was elected to the CRG. Congratulations extended to Martha Beattie '76 and Rick Routhier '73 Tu '76 on their prospective and past contributions.
10:45 am-12:15 pm: Open Forum,Vote on Constitution, and Old and New Business
The councilors discussed a series of amendments and resolutions dealing with the existing constitution of the Council and the proposed constitution of the Association of Alumni.
Voted: That the current Alumni Council constitution be amended by substituting therefore, in its entirety, the document entitled "Proposed Constitution of the Dartmouth Alumni Association, April 14, 2006," which was noticed to all councilors 30 days prior to the May 2006 Alumni Council meeting.
RESOLVED, that Article XI of the Constitution of the Council of the Alumni of Dartmouth College is amended to read as follows:
This Constitution may be amended as follows:
1. At any meeting of the Council by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, provided that the proposed amendment has been included in the notice of the meeting and mailed to members no later than thirty days prior to the Council meeting; or
2. By a two-thirds vote of the members voting by mail or other means determined by the Executive Committee, if the Executive Committee determines by a three-quarters vote to submit a proposed amendment for approval by such means, provided that the proposed amendment has been mailed to members no later than thirty days prior to the request for vote.
Discussion ensued surrounding a limited number of issues: (1) There was some question about who would be eligible to vote—deadline will be to vote by June 30 so that current councilors are eligible. (2) What will be the period during which councilors would have to vote on any proposed change in the constitution? It was determined that the Executive Committee would determine this period—initial suggestion was two weeks or more. (3) Need a sunset on the change to allow all-media voting to cover the possibility that the new constitution could fail to pass by all alumni, leaving us with this legacy statement in our constitution designed for this one situation but now governing on an ongoing basis. This resolution passed by 87%.
RESOLVED, that the Executive Committee of the Alumni Council and the members thereof are hereby directed that they shall vote to submit any proposed amendment to the proposed constitution of the Dartmouth Alumni Association dated April 14, 2006 to a vote by mail or other means other than at a duly convened meeting of the Council only in the event that such proposed amendment is technical in nature, and does not substantively alter or amend the constitution approved by the council on May 20, 2006. Resolution passed overwhelmingly.
New Business Discussed:
RESOLVED that the Alumni Council express its sincere thanks to the Alumni Governance Task Force, chaired by Josiah Stevenson '57, for its tremendous effort in bringing forth a proposed new constitution that will bring alumni governance into the 21st century.
The Athletics Committee presented a resolution about club sports:
WHEREAS the Alumni Council approved a resolution on May 21, 2005 “Urging the College to recognize the significant and unique role filled by club sports and to publicize club sport achievements and otherwise support club sports accordingly;”
WHEREAS almost 900 athletes participate annually in 26 club sports with many of the teams achieving national success;
WHEREAS following upon the earlier resolution, the Athletic Committee of the Alumni Council established a subcommittee on club sports which has been working closely with the Club Sports Commission of the Student Assembly, having common goals and objectives, both recognizing that club sports are an essential part of the Dartmouth experience;
WHEREAS the financial contribution contributed to the club sports teams by the College continues to be minimal placing a significant financial burden on the students, their parents and club team alumni;
WHEREAS the availability and conditions of the various playing fields and indoor facilities are severe constraints on the opportunity for club athletes to practice and compete and preclude the opportunity for new club sports teams to be organized;
WHEREAS the subcommittee has determined that an artificial turf field or two would provide maximum flexibility, usage under our adverse weather conditions and significantly increase usage without the wear and tear on the existing grass and dirt fields;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
1. That the Alumni Council continues to believe that club sports, an integral part of Dartmouth life, are under supported by the College, and
2. That the Alumni Council believes that College and Athletic Department should make the construction of at least one artificial turf field, dedicated to use by club sports and intramural sports, either at Sachem Field or other such space as may be available, a top priority.
Discussion followed and this resolution was passed.
RESOLVED that the Alumni Council expresses its deep appreciation to Julie Amstein Cillo '92 for her leadership as chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.
Julie, you guided the committee through a year of research and thought for the important process of producing candidates for Alumni Trustee. Although there was no trustee seat open this year, the Nominating Committee, under your guidance, developed new ways to expand the network of information about potential trustees. Next year's committee will benefit greatly from the groundwork that you have laid.
We understand the great sacrifice of time and energy that your job as chair required, and we appreciate not only the sacrifice, but the enthusiasm, willingness, and constant good humor with which you made it.
RESOLVED that the Alumni Council extends its immense gratitude to Rick Routhier for his outstanding service to Dartmouth College through his role as President of the Alumni Council.
You cut your teeth as president-elect, but this past year, your unstinting commitment to Dartmouth has been monumental, and has involved untold hours traveling to Hanover and around the country speaking on behalf of the Council, and “burning up” the telephone and email lines. As president, you had the unique challenge of leading the Council's communications efforts on a new proposed constitution—reaching out to alumni to both provide information and to elicit feedback from them so that the Council could be fully informed and engaged on this complex matter. This effort culminated in a Webcast in Boston on March 27, where you led the alumni audience through an interactive feedback session. You have focused Councilors on their role as representatives of the vastly diverse voices of over 66,000 alumni, and you have charged the Council with being more engaged with the pulse of alumni sentiment through the establishment of a regular alumni survey. Your legacy to the Council is leading by example the practice and ideal of volunteer participation and service to Dartmouth.
You have dedicated yourself to maintaining good relations with alumni, students, College administrators and trustees. Your hard work between Council meetings has included frequent teleconferences of the Executive Committee, meetings with the Nominating Committee, sessions with the College Relations Group, and presentations of the Alumni and Young Alumni Award. You have encouraged an air of openness, tolerance, and respect. You have done all this with your usual good humor, even though your incredibly busy professional life added to the usual challenge of the presidency. Now it's time to relax and spend more time with Sarah, Sam, Jake, Ellen and Emma.
As you hand over the gavel, may your leadership continue to inspire Councilors and all alumni for years to come. We thank you for your unsparing and energetic dedication to the work of President of the Alumni Council.
Lastly, the Council read and passed a resolution to extend appreciation to Dean Jim Larimore as he moves to Swarthmore College.
Gifts and extended thanks were given to retiring councilors.
Report submitted by John Reed '75 Tu '79.