Alumni Council News November 2012

Fellow 60's: Due to Sandy, I was regretfully unable to attend the Dartmouth Alumni Council meeting November 1-3. However, Jim Adler and Tom Andrews graciously provided me with their notes, which I have combined to produce what follows. For more detailed minutes, see:

Enrollment and Admissions Committee Meeting (based on notes from Senior Associate Director Sue Young '77)

Per Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris '84, the majority of admitted students who do not come cite our fraternity/sorority system as the a reason. The Administration continues to factor this into ongoing discussions, e.g. the Strategic Planning process. See addendum.

Following the Dean's presentation, a brief discussion on last year’s new initiative, the Yield Project, took place. The idea was to contact applicants who had received “likely” letters from the College to encourage them to enroll. While this was an admirable goal, the results did not show a large impact when compared to students not contacted. Consequently, the committee decided to table the project for the time being. 

Vice Chair Lisa Cloitre '94, T'02 discussed a new initiative to create interviewer-training modules in collaboration with the Admissions Office. She will form a small sub-committee to explore training options (such as videos, pod casts and webinars) and report back at the May '13 DAC meeting. 

Plenary Session 1

Cost of Higher Education Senior Vice President David Spaulding '76

The cost of higher education is growing faster than CPI, family income, and medical care, but our "sticker price" has increased by a smaller percentage than public higher education institutions. And our scholarships decrease the gap between our net cost and that of public institutions even more. Of applicants who are accepted to Dartmouth but go elsewhere, only 5% cite cost as the reason.

Total (or Gross) Dartmouth Cost is $120,000 per student; our out-of-pocket cost ("sticker price") is $60,000 thanks to alumni giving; our average net cost after scholarships is $20,000. Approx. half of Dartmouth students receive financial aid, and those with annual family income of under $100K go tuition free. The average loan balance for graduating Dartmouth scholarship recipient students in 1999 was $16K. It is now down to $11KScholarship recipients graduating in 2011 had an average debt of $11,501.., the lowest among the eight NH schools.Dartmouth has the lowest average student debt at $18,712, compared to the N.H. average college student debt of $31,048.

Fixed costs are hard to reduce as compensation is largest portion, and the work force is among the most highly educated of all service industries. Online courses are not proving to be particularly effective, but Dartmouth is exploring ways to improve classroom efficiency by recording lectures that can be watched at any time and then devoting classroom time to discussion and Q&A.

Trustee Chair Steve Mandel '78: It is very hard to reduce gross cost and maintain quality of Dartmouth education (e.g. a 1% annual increase in the cost of living is hard to change). We want to keep the sticker price between the top and the bottom of our "peer" institutions. Full price realistically cannot be made "affordable," since only 2% of all U.S. families can afford to pay it without some sort of aid. 

The Student Athletic Experience – Harry Sheehy, AD

This year's Homecoming game attendance was the highest in 15 years (10, 150 total with 1919 Students). Student Participation (figures overlap): Varsity (1,039), club (1265), intramural (1500), fitness (4,356), phys-ed (80 courses).

Number of Ivy League finishes in top 3– 2010 (3), 2011 (12), 2012 (11). In one week this spring, we played for five championships. Fall men's and women's soccer and field hockey all finished 2nd in the league. 

Athletic giving doubled in past 3 years, to $3½ million. Dartmouth Peak Performance program (DP2) is a four-year leadership program, unique to Dartmouth and a "game changer." Varsity athlete graduation rate is 99.7%, top in Ivies.

Facility priorities ahead: new indoor practice facility (Leverone can’t take everyone), expanded sports medicine facility, Memorial Field west stands replacement (advice for now is to sit in the first 3 rows and be ready to move fast).

Alumni Trustee Search Committee – Pete Frederick '65, Chair

One seat will be open to fill Peter Robinson’s seat as he retires after two terms. Election will be held 2/12/13 – 3/12/13. Petitioners must file by 1/7/13. 

The Committee met face to face six times, held 13 conf. calls, considered over 300 alumni put forward by other alums, and held lengthy interviews with four "finalists." They settled on Mitchell ('Mitch") Kurz '73, and the DAC voted unanimously to accept him as the nominee. Mitch Kurz has achieved notable success in two career fields of importance to the Board of Trustees: marketing/communication and secondary school education. He is a remarkable and articulate individual with a wonderful sense of humor.

The reasons (which I support) for choosing just one candidate are: 1) the committee is better able to determine the best candidate after rigorous screening and investigation; 2) the other highly qualified candidates remain available for future consideration; 3) anyone who thinks the nominee is somehow less than ideally qualified, or that alumni somehow “deserve” the right to choose among two or more candidates, can very easily run as a petitioner or put forward someone else to do so.

Plenary Session 2

Martha Beattie '76, VP for Alumni Relations

Homecoming: 4,000 people were on hand for Dartmouth Night and the bonfire, including 1,390 young alums. The students like the night football game, but the 2013 game will be a day game.

Dartmouth For Life: This is a new program just established to better support alumni and connects them to the College. Headed by Dan Parish '89 (son of Ben Parish '60), it involves career mentoring/networking on-line, career panels on and off campus, life stage planning, continuing education on-line, and getting knowledgeable alumni back to campus to speak to undergrads.

Dartmouth Alumni Magazine funding: Classes will no longer have to have to pay for subscriptions. Cost saving to classes/ cost to college is $1 million annually – hope is that this will result in greater DCF participation and that classes will use the money saved to invest in projects that benefit the College and its students.

Reunions: This June, the College started offering a massive afternoon stage show and a midnight fireworks display with student group entertainment for reuning classes – great success. Starting in 2014, the College will reinstitute clustering for reunions between the 25th and 50th based on popular demand. (They already cluster prior to 25th.)

Hanover Inn: They hotel has been completely remodeled to brighten décor and provide expanded facilities for conferences. Alumni response has been mixed, but we’re encouraged to "give it a chance."

Dean of the College – Charlotte Johnson

A comprehensive, coordinated, focused effort to reduce high risk drinking, hazing and sexual assault puts Dartmouth "far ahead of the curve" among higher education institutions. 

High Risk Drinking: The reduction effort includes pre-matriculation education, improved primary care services, green team (trained student intervention and response teams visit parties regularly), campus police walk-throughs twice an evening, special training for athletes, special intervention skills training.

Hazing: This elimination effort includes a definition clarification, new member education, fresh start amnesty, safety hotline and bartender training. The Rolling Stone article on hazing was a wake-up call in the sense that, while the problem is nationwide, Dartmouth was put in the spotlight, particularly given its "Animal House" fame.

Sexual assault: The problem is real and countrywide. Efforts are under way to provide better education to ensure prevention, provide better counseling and support for victims, and improve the process for investigation and judicial response. Nationwide, fewer than 10% of assaults are reported, but at Dartmouth this may be as high as 25%.

Plenary Session 3

Board of Trustees Update – Steve Mandel '78, Chair

The Presidential Search Committee has six trustees, seven faculty members, one student and one non-trustee alum. They have "identified the fish to be reeled in and are now doing so." An announcement is likely within the calendar year. Vacancies at Yale, Princeton and Berkeley complicate process. (Yale and Berkeley have since filled the position.)

Strategic Planning Process: The final document will be "purposefully vague" in some areas, especially timing of implementation. Main purpose is to provide an overall vision and not everything identified will actually happen, both for cost reasons and to avoid offending some of the participants. The report will probably be released next spring after the new President has had time to reflect on it.

Campus Master Plan: The idea is to keep Dartmouth a walking campus (15 minutes maximum walk from building to building) and to keep a feeling of open space. Other goals are to ensure that 95% of students live on campus and to maintain flexible academic growth. The town-gown relationship is better now after some rough years due to differing philosophies on enforcement of laws governing alcohol use. Zoning regs are always an issue – e.g., new sorority houses are needed, but no one wants to live next to one.

Budget: We're in good shape. Spending didn’t go down with the $100 million cut in projected budget; it just went flat for two years. We ended up with a net cut of 100 employees in a workforce of 3,300. We have a comfortable reserve now against future endowment contractions, but he would like to see it increase further.

International make-up of the student body: We're doing a good job of ensuring international diversity, but finding the right balance is tricky. Due to differing measurement standards, it’s hard to assess entrance qualifications and financial aid needs. 

Jeanine Avner, Chair Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion 

The reason for the committee is a noticeable and ongoing exit of minority faculty and continuing low numbers of diverse faculty. The mission is to determine what strategies, resources and best practices are needed to increase diversity of Dartmouth's work force.

================================ Addendum ==============================

Fellow '60's: In my email to you of November 20, I stated: "Per Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris '84, the majority of admitted students who do not come cite our fraternity/sorority system as the/a reason." The Dean has clarified this by saying that while it was not "the" reason, it did have a significant influence. In fact, the majority of students who turned down Dartmouth's offer of admission cited the presence of a strong fraternity/sorority system as one of the reasons.

By the way, I received more comments on this than on the other issues mentioned in my email.