The 206th Session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Alumni Liaison Committee and the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.
Later in the afternoon, councilors attended one of three dinner discussion groups with students on the following topics: “Changing Lives: Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth,” “A Campus for All: Are We There Yet?” and “Curbing High-risk Behavior: The Student Perspective.”
The morning began with meetings of the Academic Affairs, Athletics, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs committees.
Councilors attended classes around campus for the “Back to the Classroom” experience. During this time, the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion met. Luncheon meetings followed for the Honorary Degrees Committee and the Young Alumni Committee.
The afternoon plenary session in 105 Dartmouth Hall opened with welcoming remarks by council president Marty Lempres ’84. Marty highlighted events of the year for Dartmouth and her alumni.
During the next presentation, “A Conversation with Interim President Carol Folt ’78a,” councilors heard about President Folt’s year as interim president, and how she has enjoyed interacting with students and connecting with alumni. She acknowledged the major historical celebrations on campus this past year, including the 40th anniversary of Black Alumni at Dartmouth (BADA); the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Native American studies program; the 40th anniversary of coeducation; and the 50th anniversary of the Hopkins Center and the Year of the Arts programming.
President Folt gave an overview of events and developments on campus. First she addressed the topic of student life. Projects such as centralizing student advising by bringing 22 offices together in the same place are improving the student experience. A new director of career services has been hired. The dean of the faculty is working more closely with the student deans. Due to expanded global outreach efforts, programs are being added, international alumni groups are being utilized, and faculty are being recruited internationally. A global view was emphasized in the working reports of the strategic plan, as well as the Year of the Arts. Renowned photojournalist James Nachtwey ’70 was on campus as the Roth Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Other highpoints included Dartmouth’s ongoing relationship with Haiti, the Porter Symposium, Dartmouth at the Crossroads, and Global Ventures at Tuck. The Leading Voices speaker series brought prominent voices in higher education such as Daphne Koller and Anne-Marie Slaughter to campus as part of the strategic planning process.
President Folt recognized the winners of prestigious faculty awards, including Eric Fossum, Don Pease, Ivy Schweitzer, and incoming president Philip Hanlon ’77. Federal grants have aided Dartmouth’s biomedical centers and labs, which employ undergraduates and graduate students. Dartmouth is top ranked in student-athlete graduation rates. Abbey D'Agostino ’14 and Nejc Zupan ’14 are two outstanding examples. Three teams reached the Ivy League championships.
Several anniversaries were celebrated this year at Dartmouth. Greenways, the celebration of 40 years of coeducation, attracted hundreds of alumni to campus. The weekend featured panels and keynote speakers Laurel Richie ’81 and Rachel Dratch ’88. The MacArthur Fellows panel of five fellows concluded the weekend on a high note. The Native American studies program, founded 40 years ago and chaired by Bruce Duthu ’80, held many celebratory events and programs throughout the year. BADA celebrated 40 years and has approximately 3,000 members. The Hopkins Center marked its 50th anniversary with the Year of the Arts.
President Folt touched upon the strategic planning process. The working group reports provide for a number of possible actions, and alumni feedback is being synthesized. The committee will work closely with incoming President Hanlon to move toward finalizing the plan. The plan is student centered, keeping liberal arts at the forefront. It emphasizes hands-on learning and creativity in a global environment.
President Folt addressed the campus climate and recent events on campus. She emphasized this is a community discussion, in which, as at every institution, there are concerns about fostering or negating the learning environment. In a culmination of events, classes were cancelled on April 24 and several offices came together to plan the program, “A Day of Reflection and Understanding.” Five hundred students attended the morning speech, 2,000 attended the program on the lawn of Dartmouth Hall, 2,400 enjoyed a community lunch on the Green, and 1,000 attended the afternoon teach-ins. President Folt described the day as “civility in process.”
Referring to the transition to President-Elect Hanlon, President Folt revealed there has been much sharing of information and data with him. She commented on how the Dartmouth community is energized by the strategic plan and open to the new president.
On behalf of the Alumni Council, Marty presented President Folt with flowers and thanked her for her devotion and service to Dartmouth.
Next on the agenda was a faculty update by Mike Mastanduno, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. Dean Mastanduno focused on three main topics: transfer credits, AP credits, and ongoing curricular review. Vigilant about the academic level of some transfer programs, the Committee on Instruction recently created a more thorough application process for transfer credits. This process defends the integrity of the curriculum. Regarding AP credits, the faculty decided it would no longer give credit for high AP scores, as it was felt a high school class was not the same academic level as a Dartmouth class. Dean Mastanduno then described the ongoing review of the curriculum, intended to create an environment for a premier liberal arts education. Some issues being examined are whether majors are uniformly rigorous and if the passing time between classes needs to be extended due to the expanding nature of the campus.
Next, the council heard a panel presentation on student life at Dartmouth, moderated by Charlotte Johnson, dean of the College. Dean Johnson described the dean of the College’s strategic priorities, and her efforts to establish the optimal climate for student engagement and success, bringing together intellectual engagement, safety, wellness, residential and social options, and inclusion. Inge Lise-Ameer, associate dean of the College for student support services, spoke about residential and social options, specifically the First Year Residential Education program, whose goal is to form community. She also talked about the modified undergraduate advisor role, the opening of Sarner Underground, the renovation of the Collis Center, and increased late-night programming. Divisional diversity action plans have been put into place, and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership has reorganized. The Center for Gender and Student Engagement, the Bias Incident Response Team, and increasing diversity of staff are other aspects of inclusion and diversity. Lastly, she spoke about how the advising services have been brought together. Eighty-one percent of students seek advising for academic reasons.
Harry Kinne, director of safety and security, outlined his office’s initiatives, which included walk-throughs, safe rides, first-responder training, the hire of a special investigator, rape aggression defense training, and International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators accreditation. Elizabeth Lee Agosto, special assistant to the dean of the College, described ongoing harm-reduction initiatives regarding sexual assault, including the hiring of an additional Sexual Abuse Awareness Program coordinator, the establishment of the Committee on Student Safety and Accountability, and the approval by the Greek Leadership Council of a new policy increasing accountability. Training has begun for the Dartmouth Bystander Initiative, designed by Jennifer Sayre ’93. Aurora Matzkin ’97, Dartmouth’s health improvement leader, spoke about the National College Health Improvement Program learning collaborative on high-risk drinking, composed of 32 institutions including Dartmouth. This is an adoption and improvement model that is focused on spreading and adapting best practices across multiple settings and creating changes within organizations that promote the delivery of effective practices. The Dartmouth College Health Improvement Program started in spring 2011. The project aim was to eliminate Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center emergency department visits for a blood alcohol content greater than .25 by eradicating this level of intoxication from the campus community. The Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students program serves students who have committed an alcohol policy violation. Situations declined in 2012. Progress is being made with this harm-reduction initiative.
Next on the agenda was an update from Pete Frederick ’65, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Pete reviewed the committee’s timeline and working agenda. He then presented the incoming councilors, who have been selected by their constituencies and will join the Alumni Council on July 1, 2013, to represent classes, regions, affiliated groups, associations, and faculty. As required by the constitution, Pete asked Alumni Council members to approve the selection of the two at-large representatives, the graduate and professional school representatives, the undergraduate representatives, the district enrollment representatives, and the Alumni Liaison Committee appointment. The Nominating Committee had nominated Michelle Fortier ’94 ’95Th for membership on the Alumni Liaison Committee. The motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously. Pete then presented the slate of Alumni Council candidates for the Alumni Liaison Committee, Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, and president-elect positions. Councilors were given ballots to return by 10:30 am Saturday.
No resolutions had been submitted in advance of the meeting. The following resolution, thanking Marty Lempres ’84 for his service as president of the Alumni Council, was unanimously approved by the council.
The Alumni Council extends our immense gratitude to Marty Lempres ’84 for his dedication and leadership as president. Always an enthusiastic Dartmouth volunteer, Marty served as class head agent and reunion fundraising chair. Luckily for us, he turned his attention toward representing the Class of 1984 on the Alumni Council. Marty took on a multitude of roles, joining the Academic Affairs Committee, Orientation Committee, and Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, and becoming chair of the Executive Committee. His efforts on the Alumni Liaison Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion underscore the essential role of these crucial groups.
As he relinquishes his presidency to his successor, we are pleased to acknowledge Marty’s upbeat manner, positive connections both with alumni councilors and the wider College community, and his support of the reaffirmation of the trustee election process. We offer our heartfelt thanks for Marty’s loyalty to Dartmouth and her alumni around the world, and wish him goodwill as he considers his next endeavors.
The following resolution, thanking Pete Frederick ’65 for his service as chair of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee, was unanimously approved by the council.
The Alumni Council extends our sincere appreciation to Pete Frederick ’65 for his extraordinary leadership of the Nominating and Trustee Search Committee. During his tenure as chair of the NomCom, an incredibly accomplished and diverse group of alumni have brought their talents and fellowship to the Alumni Council. The alumni trustee candidates presented and elected under his leadership: Nate Fick ’99, Rick Kimball ’78, Mitch Kurz ’73, and Ben Wilson ’73 possess the multifaceted skills to strengthen the Board of Trustees and by extension this College we all love. For this we are all grateful.
Dartmouth offers many volunteer opportunities, and we would be hard pressed to imagine a role Pete has not filled with aplomb. Enrollment interviewer, Alumni Fund agent, president of clubs in Delaware and North Carolina, he also led the great Class of 1965 as president and reunion co-chair. He has represented the ’65s on the Alumni Council, where he joined the Communications Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. In particular, we will miss Pete’s witty presentations during the Friday plenary sessions. Who knew PowerPoint presentations could be so vastly entertaining? We do not worry that he will stray far, however, as he and Marcia will be just down the street, at least during football and hockey seasons. We extend our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Pete for his efforts on behalf of Dartmouth and the Alumni Council.
Following a reception at the Top of the Hop, the evening dinner program opened with remarks by Marty Lempres '84 and the presentation of the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award to David Wagner ’99. Following dinner, Andrea Lordan ’86 received the Dartmouth Alumni Award. The evening concluded with remarks by James Nachtwey ’70, photojournalist and Roth Distinguished Visiting Scholar. His presentation included a narration and viewing of many of his award-winning photographs.
The Alumni Liaison Committee held a breakfast meeting with trustee Annette Gordon-Reed ’81.
The Saturday plenary session was held in the Oopik Auditorium of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center. President-elect Mark Davis ’81 greeted councilors. The session started off with a presentation by John “J.B.” Daukas ’84, president of the Association of Alumni (AoA) on the study of trustee and AoA election rules. J.B. explained that the association is studying the manner in which trustees and AoA officers are elected in uncontested elections, soliciting alumni input, and proposing a constitutional amendment to the election process if warranted.
There are 26 trustees, including the governor of New Hampshire and the president of the College (who are ex-officio members). Sixteen trustees are charter trustees, selected by the board of trustees. Eight are alumni-nominated trustees. The Alumni Council nominates one to two candidates per vacancy, the AoA runs an alumni-wide election, and the board of trustees votes on whether to seat the winning candidate. When it is notified of a vacancy, the Alumni Council solicits nominations from Dartmouth’s 74,000 alumni. Following the announcement of the candidate(s) nominated by the Alumni Council, petition candidates have 60 days to gather and submit 500 signatures in order to be included on the ballot. An election period follows with voting by paper and electronic ballot. The trustees then vote on whether to elect the nominated candidate to the board of trustees. AoA officers and executive committee members are also elected in a direct alumni-wide vote, which occurs at the same time as the trustee election. J.B. provided a history of alumni-nominated trustee elections. Concerns about the current process, which requires that an election must be held even when it is uncontested, include cost and irritation about the election process. One possible approach to this issue is to hold alumni-wide elections only when the election is contested, preserving the petition process. J.B. noted that the AoA is open to other suggestions from alumni. This type of change to the election process would require an amendment to the AoA constitution. An amendment can be made by an alumni-wide vote, and two-thirds of the votes cast must be in favor in order for it to pass. The AoA Executive Committee is discussing the proposal of a constitutional amendment that alumni would vote on in the 2014 election.
Mark introduced trustee Annette Gordon-Reed ’81, who provided a board update. She serves on the board of trustees’ Governance and Academic Affairs committees. Annette participated in the search for President-Elect Hanlon and described him as “self-effacing” and “brilliant.” She spoke about the ongoing searches for positions such as provost, executive vice president for finance, vice president for development, and vice president for marketing and communications. Robert Lasher ’88 will start his new position as vice president for advancement on July 1, 2013.
Annette touched on several topics, such as the growth of the College's endowment; the anniversaries of BADA, Native American studies, coeducation, and the Hopkins Center; and trends in education such as the advent of massive open online courses (MOOCs). She reiterated that the strategic planning process will not come to a conclusion until the new president arrives, and that a priority for her is to communicate Dartmouth’s message internationally. She spoke about the recent events on campus, and how the board was kept apprised of developments and administrative decisions. Questions from the council included how to address the rising cost of education, the campus climate, how to gain international recognition for Dartmouth, return on investment for faculty, the student code of conduct, MOOCs, entrepreneurship, and student leader access to the administration.
Next on the agenda was an admissions update from Maria Laskaris ’84, dean of admissions and financial aid. This year, once again, Dartmouth received applications from students with exceptional academic credentials. 2,245 students were admitted to the Class of 2017 from a pool of 22,428 applicants, or a 10-percent rate of admission. Additional application readers were hired to accommodate this very individualized, holistic process. The yield is similar to the Classes of 2015 and 2016, and Maria reminded councilors that the yield effort starts the summer before students apply.
Looking ahead, recruiting is under way for the Class of 2018. Publications and the web site have been redesigned. The campus visit is critically important in building a talented and diverse applicant pool. This summer, Dartmouth will host many visitors, through Dartmouth Bound, Academic Spotlight programs, and campus tours.
The alumni interviewing program is undergoing a comprehensive review. In order to comply with protection of minors, alumni interviewer program participants will be asked to complete a disclosure form, which states they have read about best practices regarding interviewing as well as affirming they are citizens in good standing. This has been communicated to the district enrollment directors as well as to the Enrollment and Admissions Committee. Maria mentioned the importance of alumni interviewers, and thanked all councilors who participate in this process. Lastly, Maria spoke about Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that centers on whether and how race may be used in college-admission decisions. The 2003 case Grutter v. University of Michigan affirmed the consideration of race and ethnicity as part of an individualized, holistic review process. There is a range of possible outcomes that could affect Dartmouth; however, that decision has not been handed down yet.
After a short coffee break, Martha Beattie ’76, vice president for alumni relations, addressed the group. She gave an update on senior leadership, and spoke briefly about market research. A 2012 alumni survey of interest in broad topic areas by decade of graduation yielded interesting results. A 2013 volunteer satisfaction survey results showed 34 percent of volunteers were very satisfied, and 48 percent were satisfied. There will be a more extensive market research presentation at the fall meeting of the council. Lastly, Martha shared details of the upcoming reunion events, including the Big Apple Circus and the Blues Brothers Revue “On the Green.” Attendee feedback deemed 2012 the “best reunion ever.”
The open forum commenced. Co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, S. Caroline Kerr ’05, gave an update on the committee’s efforts. She reiterated the missions of the committee, which are to increase the diversity of the College’s workforce through recruitment and retention of staff and faculty of color (both national and international) and other under-represented populations and to determine what structures, resources, and best practices are needed to this end. Information included goals, committee membership, and timeline. Caroline referenced best practices of colleges and universities, and businesses, as well as Dartmouth internal data. Final data collection will take place and a synthesis report will be developed in the period between May and October 2013. President-Elect Hanlon and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee will be updated, and the committee will present its findings to the Alumni Council during the October meeting.
Reports of the Student Affairs, Communications, Academic Affairs, Athletics, Honorary Degrees, Enrollment and Admissions, Alumni Liaison, Young Alumni, and the Alumni Award committees were presented by the chairs. The summaries of those committee reports will be posted online.
During the open discussion period for councilors, there was an extensive discussion about recent events on campus.
Mark Davis announced the results of the election for new members of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee. Gray Reisfield Horan ’82 was elected to the Alumni Liaison Committee. David Edelson ’81 and S. Caroline Kerr ’05 were elected to the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee. Lou Spelios ’95 was elected to serve as president-elect of the Alumni Council.
There was no old business.
The meeting was adjourned.
An Executive Committee debriefing took place on Thursday, May 23, 2013. via teleconference.