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Administrative Communications and Culture Working Group

Institutional Responsibility and Accountability

Each division, department, unit, and individual employee within the administration needs to take responsibility for meeting the institutional goal of better serving the faculty and students. This requires employees to take an institutional approach to their work and to understand the impact of their actions in the broadest terms, and it requires managers to communicate priorities and to provide feedback to their employees. As an institution, the College must encourage more systematic performance evaluation from departments and individuals and must hold managers responsible for their decisions. Institutional leadership also needs to recognize that a culture that encourages innovation and risk taking will also result in some mistakes.

A culture that recognizes institutional responsibility at the divisional, department, unit, and individual level, encourages attention to priorities and goals as well as clear and regular communication about them. A culture that values accountability does the following:

  • Requires performance reviews and planning at the divisional, departmental, and individual level to achieve results consistent with the College’s mission;
  • Invests resources and focuses efforts to improve quality, achieve shared goals and objectives, enhance efficiency and effectiveness, and build trust and confidence;
  • Provides training and professional development opportunities to ensure that every employee has the tools to succeed;
  • Assesses performance against goals and plans.

The committee heard from many employees (through public meetings, emails, and the staff survey), that they would like to see greater accountability at every level, more transparency around goal setting, regular performance reviews, and a compensation program more clearly based on merit. Implementing changes around these principles should be framed in a manner that promotes and recognizes accomplishments rather than invoking fear and apprehension. The framework for any assessment program should stem from widely held institutional values such as commitment to excellence, integrity, innovation, and community.

Recommendations:

  • Responsibility for Performance: Officers and managers should clearly establish their expectations around performance in meeting institutional goals, and how they expect to measure achievement. Managers and staff across the institution should challenge themselves, their colleagues, and their leaders to focus on institutional impact and responsibility, including the consistent and regular use of assessment tools to ensure that they are soliciting feedback and providing appropriate feedback to employees and that they are meeting institutional goals.
  • Training on Accountability: Human resources and divisions need to provide their managers with the appropriate training needed to undertake the necessary planning and assessments. With an overall understanding of what it means to be accountable in the workplace, a focus on goals and objectives for meeting them will be more effective.
  • Performance Planning and Reviews: Dartmouth must strive for one hundred percent participation in the process of goal setting and performance evaluation for individuals and divisions and departments. An important aspect of performance reviews is the ongoing discussion between supervisors and employees in establishing clear position expectations, tools and training to succeed, and opportunities for growth. There should be an ongoing conversation and assessment during the year as well as an annual written evaluation.
  • Compensation Program: There should be a clearly articulated institution-wide merit-based compensation program for all non- faculty employees. This means there should be a consistent designation of a base raise for satisfactory performance and any additional raise to be determined by merit. Also, as the overall cost of benefits (health insurance, social security contributions, etc.) for employees continues to increase, an annual statement to each employee of Dartmouth’s contribution would be useful.

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Last updated: 01/31/07