Diversity, in all its variations, is central to the Dartmouth experience. We must encourage and sustain an environment that welcomes and embraces all students, faculty, and staff. Dartmouths commitment to diversity goes back to our founding charter. Beginning in the Dickey years it has become an ever more critical element of our mission. The Class of 2006 is the most diverse class in Dartmouth history. We are also gratified by significant recent gains in the hiring and retention of faculty and staff of color.
A diverse campus is about more than admitting students of color or recruiting a diverse faculty and administration. It is about creating a climate on campus that is welcoming to all and that encourages our students to respect difference and to learn from each other. The more diverse the student body, the richer the learning environment.
We have begun to implement the recommendations of the Committee on Institutional Diversity and Equity, whose report was issued in June 2001. Ozzie Harris, Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, has appointed a Council on Diversity and a Council on Inter-Group Relations. We have also rewritten the College Mission Statement to more fully reflect our commitment to a fully diverse and open campus. Dean of the College James Larimore has expanded the advising positions related to diversity and intergroup relations, and matters of diversity, community and civic engagement are increasingly common features in orientation, residential life, and other programs. In the fall of 2001, Dartmouth opened The Pavilion, a kosher, halal, sakahara dining area for community members with religious or other special dietary needs and other interested persons. This project resulted from the cooperation among students, faculty, and administrators. The Pavilion is already encouraging greater interaction, conversation and learning within our community.
While these initiatives are welcome and important, we still have much to do.
- We must continually assess our hiring and retention of minority faculty and staff, and we must explore the ways in which we can improve our mentoring and support systems.
- We must consider more aggressive recruitment of senior level scholars of diverse backgrounds, and we must look for targets of opportunity that will strengthen our programs, not only in area studies but also across the curriculum.
- We must support faculty efforts to assess the ways in which issues relating to diversity can be more fully integrated into the curriculum and their teaching.
- We must explore programs that encourage an inclusive sense of community in our residence halls, dining rooms, and social and other spaces on the campus, seizing the educational advantage that the diversity of our community makes available to us.
- Finally, we must review our financial aid policies to ensure that we can continue to enroll a diverse student body at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.