Strategic Initiatives Report

Strategic Planning Table of Contents

     Overview and Timeline
     Strategic Initiatives Report (current page)
     Community Engagement Themes Report 

Overview

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE) at Dartmouth has conducted an assessment to understand Dartmouth’s progress in meeting the goals set forth in Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF), Inclusive Excellence (IE), and the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I).

From July 2021 to January 2022, members of the IDE team have reviewed the status of the actions put forth in MDF, IE, and C3I. Each of these complementary initiatives represent the College’s progressive efforts to address the climate and culture for students, faculty, and staff. We intentionally focused our attention on summarizing the work to date and highlighting impactful actions from each initiative.

The information used to create this report was synthesized through a process of reviewing reports and public documents as well as hosting meetings with individuals intimately involved in the initiatives’ development and implementation. For each initiative, the report contains a summary of actions (goals) and progress, as well as recommended next steps. The report is also intended to provide a foundational framing for the development of a new, unified institutional strategic plan for diversity and inclusion at Dartmouth.

Read the full report as a PDF

Read the executive summary as a PDF

Executive Summary

Introduction

In 2020, Dartmouth College leadership made the decision to expand the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE). As a part of that expansion, the senior vice president and senior diversity officer role was established and charged with strengthening existing diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus to infuse a greater sense of accountability and sustainability across the institution. Dr. Shontay Delalue assumed the inaugural role in July 2021 and immediately—with her team—began reviewing and assessing Dartmouth’s stated goals related to climate, culture, and diversity. IDE committed to issuing a 6-month status report on the initial findings.

The purpose of this report is to summarize Dartmouth College’s progress toward the goals detailed in each of the three following major initiatives that have been launched since 2015: Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF), Inclusive Excellence (IE), and the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I). These initiatives were launched with an overall goal of supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and enhancing the climate and culture of the campus. The goal of this report is to provide a broad overview of the status of the three initiatives described herein.

While the three initiatives are distinct, there are some intentional areas of overlap. The launch of these initiatives represents a multi-pronged and increasingly progressive approach to addressing campus climate and culture concerns. MDF placed its emphasis primarily on the undergraduate experience, while IE implemented actions to improve experiences for faculty and staff. C3I built on both initiatives and addressed issues of sexual harassment and gender-based violence. This report serves as a first combined review of these efforts and as a path forward to address diversity and inclusion, as well as campus climate and culture, in a more cohesive way. The report is also intended to provide a foundational framing for the development of a new, unified institutional strategic plan for diversity and inclusion at Dartmouth.

Overview of Strategic Initiatives

Moving Dartmouth Forward

Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF) was launched in January 2015 and included 21 action steps that fell under five focus areas: (1) transform residential life; (2) promote a safer and healthier campus; (3) clarify and strengthen expectations for acceptable student conduct; (4) strengthen academic rigor, and (5) be accountable. IDE reviewed the progress of each stated action in Moving Dartmouth Forward. Overall, 95% (20 out of 21) of the actions from this initiative were either completed (16) or remain in progress (4); one action was not implemented.

IDE recommends that this plan—in its current iteration—be sunset, and that the actions in progress be incorporated into the ongoing work of the Division of Student Affairs. Future oversight for this work, including data-driven reviews of the campus ban on hard-alcohol, should be overseen by the Dean of the College. We recommend that an annual report be generated by the Division of Student Affairs that outlines actions that have been institutionalized, progress in those areas, and plans for sustaining the work including metrics for evaluation and accountability.

Inclusive Excellence

The Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence (IE) was released in May 2016, to build on Moving Dartmouth Forward, with an expanded focus on diversity and inclusivity among staff and faculty, as well as students. Each action step was intended to address one of six focus areas: (1) increase faculty recruitment and retention; (2) increase staff recruitment and retention; (3) build a more inclusive community; (4) increase transparency; (5) confront and learn from the past; and (6) be accountable. IDE reviewed the progress of each stated action in Inclusive Excellence. Overall, 76% (28 out of 37) of the actions from this plan were completed and 24% (9 out of 37) of the actions remain in progress on campus.

IDE recommends that this plan in its current form be sunset, and the actions in progress be further reviewed and, where appropriate, expanded to new actions that would be incorporated into a comprehensive strategic DEI plan with measurable goals and a clear accountability matrix.

Campus Climate and Culture Initiative

The Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I) was launched in January 2019 as the third strategic pillar for the College related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The actions detailed in this plan were heavily informed by the recommendations in the Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. To address the recommendations detailed in this report, the actions in C3I were organized by five focus areas: (1) campus climate, (2) academic and professional development, (3) recruitment, (4) resources, and (5) measurement and reporting. IDE reviewed the progress of each stated action in C3I. Overall, 67% (8 out of 12) actions from this plan were completed; and four actions remain in progress on campus.

IDE recommends that the College continue to implement the actions put forth in C3I and take the next few months to determine if it should be a standalone initiative or if it should be enveloped into the new institutional DEI strategic plan being proposed. If C3I does come under the umbrella of a new, more cohesive plan, it would need to broaden in scope to consider other intersections of identity in addition to gender.

Summary of Strategic Initiatives

The suite of strategic initiatives described in this report aimed to address specific climate and culture challenges the Dartmouth community has grappled with over the past seven years. Each initiative is responsible for meaningful contributions of resources, policies, and programs to create a more inclusive community for students, staff, and faculty. Seven years after the launch of the first initiative, the College has completed 74% (52 out of 70 actions – see Table 1) of the actions in all three of these initiatives.

Table 1. Status of Overall Progress on Major Initiatives

Major Initiatives Completed In Progress Not Implemented Total
Moving Dartmouth Forward 16 4 1 21
Inclusive Excellence 28 9   37
Campus Climate and Culture Initiative 8 4   12
Total 52 17 1 70

Conclusion and Next Steps

In summary, IDE’s recommendation is to create a new DEI strategic plan that builds on the progress of MDF, IE, and C3I, while also considering recent public commitments that the College has made since 2020. IDE also recommends that the presidential committees that provided oversight on MDF and IE each be formally disbanded, the structure of the active C3I External Advisory Committee be evaluated, and a new internal and external committee accountability structure be created to support the new strategic framework. The transition to a new institutional DEI strategic plan will result in a new plan name, clear definitions, and goals that encapsulate a broader, more unified vision. With the vast majority of actions completed, it is now time to consider a new strategic framework that builds on previous initiatives and takes a proactive, evidence-based approach to building and sustaining an inclusive community where everyone can thrive.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity is poised to lead the work of planning, implementing, and evaluating a new comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategic plan that intentionally sets out to address the most critical issues facing the institution. Based on this initial review and countless meetings, three themes emerged as potential overarching focus areas to consider going forward: (1) recruitment, retention and community engagement of staff, faculty, and students; (2) institutional policies, processes, and practices; and (3) culture, climate, and academic curriculum.

Read the full report as a PDF

Looking Forward

This report represents a first step in the process of developing a new DEI strategic plan: assessing progress on the current initiatives to date. Following the report, we launched a series of community engagement meetings in the spring 2022 term to gather input from various constituents within the Dartmouth community in the development of our new institutional DEI strategic plan. 

These conversations served to inform the final plan that we intend to release in the fall 2022 term. A summary of common themes that emerged through these sessions is now available in the Community Engagement Themes Report.

DEI strategic plans should be tied to goals and aided by an accountability structure utilizing metrics established while plans are in development. As we embark on this process, we must recognize that future success will depend on our ability to focus on a specific set of concrete, measurable actions that will have a lasting impact. 

Questions?

Please contact us at IDE@Dartmouth.edu or 603.646.1606