Dartmouth students and faculty are supported in their work and in their learning by a talented group of administrators and staff. They are an essential part of the institution, and we are fortunate to be able to recruit and retain a highly qualified, diverse, and dedicated community of employees.
Over the last several years, we have worked to provide more effective support to our learning and teaching environment. In fall 2005, I invited McKinsey & Company, the management-consulting group, to visit campus to explore how we might improve. Their assessment found that a strong administrative team and structure exists here, but there were also opportunities for enhancement. Following their report, I established three working groups to develop specific recommendations around communications and culture, recruitment and retention, and the planning and budgeting process.
- We have made a number of improvements, including:
- Creating a new mission statement
- Strengthening the performance evaluation process
- Reviewing management procedures and seeking greater collaboration across all areas of the College
- Expanding and enhancing new employee orientation efforts
- Enhancing professional development offerings, including a comprehensive management training program
- Launching a formal Dartmouth spouse/partner network
- Streamlining the hiring process
- Establishing an Ombudsman office and revising grievance policies
- Sharing information, priorities, and decisions more effectively
Although we are, in fact, thinly staffed for our commitment to quality of service and the systems management, compliance, and monitoring demands that mark Dartmouth today, in light of the current economic situation we will need to cut back our compensation expenses. Attrition will be the preferred approach to this, but it is not likely to be sufficient to meet our objectives. As of late November 2008, we have frozen external hiring except under extraordinary circumstances, and we will look for ways to handle any necessary reductions in staffing in as supportive a manner as is possible.
In the coming months, as we make changes to the budget, we will need to continue to improve communications within and between departments and divisions, help supervisors find ways to recognize good work, and clarify pathways and opportunities for those staff interested in advancement at the College.