May 19–21, 2011

After a brief introduction by Hugh O’Reilly ’86 and introductions around the room, the Academic Affairs Committee heard from Cecelia Gaposchkin, PhD, assistant dean of Dartmouth’s faculty, and two students about academic student advising. Dean Gaposchkin told the committee that each student is assigned a faculty member during his or her freshman fall term to assist the student with course selections and the overall transition to college academics. However, she indicated that while the student-advisor matchings are made based on each student’s indicated interests, they still suffer from an inevitable “blind date” problem, and the relationships often do not develop very far. The students and other faculty members in attendance agreed with this assessment. Over time, most of these relationships are superseded by a more natural relationship with a faculty member more often affiliated with the student’s major. She also mentioned that each student was also assigned a dean, but that each dean was responsible for more than 800 students, making it difficult to develop any true bond between the student and the assigned dean. Dean Gaposchkin then fielded a host of questions from the committee members and a lively and refreshingly open and candid discussion ensued, with the dean frequently asking the students and other faculty members in attendance to weigh in.

The committee then heard from Inge-Lise Ameer, EdD, associate dean of student support services in the dean of the college division, where she oversees the undergraduate deans, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, the Academic Skills Center, student accessibility services, career services, and premed advising. She is in the process of gathering information using student and faculty interviews and focus groups to develop a plan to simplify how these services are viewed by the students and how these services can be better utilized and coordinated. Again, Dean Ameer answered a number of very good questions from the committee with informative and candid answers.

Finally, the committee heard from Laura Braunstein, PhD, English language and literature librarian for the College, who talked about the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning and new teaching technology at Dartmouth. She demonstrated the “Blackboard” electronic learning management system, which was very interesting and well received by the committee.

As a final order of business, Patrick Martin ’73 was elected vice chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.

There being no there committee business, O’Reilly adjourned the meeting.