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Hiring & Retention Working Group

Diversity

Achieving diversity in employment is a formidable challenge for any institution, but especially for one located in a rural section of northern New England. It is hard, labor- intensive work that cannot be accomplished merely by avoiding discrimination at the point of the hiring decision, but instead requires a comprehensive strategy implemented through sustained effort, including:

  • Articulation of the College’s values by senior leaders;
  • Managers and divisional leaders held accountable for results;
  • Training for faculty and staff;
  • Communication to the outside world that Dartmouth is a place where difference is respected;
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with organizations concerned with issues facing minorities and creating a database of promising personnel for future searches;
  • Attention to issues of diversity during candidate visits to Hanover;
  • Assistance in new staff members’ personal and professional transitions, to help them adjust and succeed; and
  • On-going support for diverse affinity groups of employees.

To elaborate on a few of these points:

Leadership Commitment to Diversity: The effort to achieve and maintain workforce diversity is unlikely to succeed unless it is identified as an institutional priority by senior leadership and communicated effectively across the College community. The College’s policy is clear. Nevertheless, the President and other senior leaders should periodically reiterate that policy in communications with managers and others.

In his letter reaffirming the College’s policy of equal opportunity, printed in the introduction to the IDE MANUAL OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROCEDURES, President Wright stated:

“ . . . [W]e need to protect our hiring and admissions practices, build on accomplishments in this area, and articulate for the wider community the benefits of diversity. A campus that values difference and supports diversity is a campus that encourages its members to explore the complexities that are central to the intellectual life. Matters of race, ethnicity, and gender are not always easy to confront. But they must be confronted, for issues concerning them are critical to our society. As an academic community we cannot afford to do any less than this.”

Such statements serve to remind members of the College community that a more diverse and inclusive work environment can improve organizational performance. We recommend that senior leaders communicate the importance of diversity throughout the College, on an ongoing basis. In particular, we urge that the President convey to all vice presidents and deans the importance of achieving diversity, and that the vice presidents and deans convey this message to their own departments. (As discussed below, success in hiring and retaining a diverse staff should be reflected in performance reviews.)

Communicating Dartmouth’s Commitment to Diversity – The College should also take steps to communicate its commitment to diversity to the external world, in order to inform prospective employees that Dartmouth is an institution that welcomes employees of all backgrounds and perspectives. Actions by HR staff, such as participation in professional meetings and job fairs designed to interest women and people of color, can help to communicate this message and can improve non-exempt as well as exempt hiring. In addition, Dartmouth needs to make sure that both its website and its publications fully reflect this commitment.

Pool Building: Without better resources to identify and recruit a pool that includes promising minority and women candidates at the start of the search process, hiring managers or search committees, however conscientious, face great obstacles in achieving a diverse workforce. The College should establish a process for identifying and developing a diverse pool of qualified prospective applicants for employment:

  • A unit within HR should maintain a national database of highly-qualified professionals in relevant fields, including minority and women professionals, who come to the College’s attention through Dartmouth searches, networking, contact with women and minority professional associations, or other means. This database should regularly be reviewed, updated and routinely shared with hiring managers. In addition, IDE as well as HR should establish contacts with various national, regional and local organizations that are concerned with the issues facing minorities and use these groups to identify candidates for exempt and, where relevant, non-exempt jobs.
  • HR should work with Alumni Relations to identify Dartmouth alumni, including minority and women alumni, who work in relevant fields and could become actively part of the recruiting network and pool building.

Support for New Staff; Helping New Colleagues Succeed: As is discussed in the joint report on retention and campus culture, although Dartmouth closely monitors exempt searches and compiles detailed records concerning the race and gender of applicants and hires, many offices pay little attention to helping staff members adjust once they actually start work. While this is a problem for all new employees, the situation particularly affects those of more diverse backgrounds who may come from larger and more urban areas where it is easier to find support or affinity groups. We recommend that the College take several steps to address the personal and professional aspects of adjustment:

  • The College should establish a “Welcome” office within HR to actively reach out to staff members new to the area, hear their concerns, and help them access resources including housing, education, health care, employment opportunities for accompanying spouses/partners, community/social involvement and other services. This office could also organize social events to introduce new staff members to one another and to other Dartmouth colleagues.
  • The Welcome office should create a new-employee handbook with information on the history and organization of the College, the Upper Valley, and the above subjects.
  • The College should establish and publish a list of colleagues who are willing to serve as confidential, professional mentors to new staff members. The network should be developed by a steering committee appointed by the Provost. Its membership should include a diverse group of men and women from academic and administrative departments throughout the College.
  • Hiring managers should also anticipate who might need mentoring or special help with adjustment to Dartmouth and initiate contacts with those who can be of assistance.

Assessment: Success in meeting diversity goals should be assessed annually, on a top- down basis, for both the College as a whole and individual departments/managers:

  • Vice presidents and deans should include a section on diversity goals in their annual reports to the President, and those at managerial level and above should report on their efforts in this regard to their immediate supervisors.
  • As part of its annual affirmative action report to senior officers and the Board of Trustees, IDE/EO-AA should evaluate Dartmouth’s performance in meeting diversity goals.
  • Performance reviews of individual managers should include an assessment of performance on diversity initiatives.

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Last updated: 01/31/07