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Announcing the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative

January 3, 2019

To the Dartmouth community,

We are writing today to announce a comprehensive set of actions that aim to create a learning environment free from sexual harassment and abuse of power, where every member of the Dartmouth community can thrive.

Powerful accounts of sexual misconduct and the surfacing of painful memories have had a profound effect on us all. While change does not come easily for any institution, and there are no easy solutions, the stories that brave members of our community have shared strengthen our resolve to ensure that our learning environment is safe and inclusive for all of its members.

In concert with Moving Dartmouth Forward and Inclusive Excellence, we are launching The Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I) as the third pillar in a set of initiatives established to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environment for all Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff.

  • C3I (http://dartgo.org/c3i) will seek to foster healthy, professional, and nurturing relationships among faculty, staff, and students.
  • Moving Dartmouth Forward (https://forward.dartmouth.edu/home), launched in 2015, takes aim at sexual assault, high-risk drinking, and other harmful and exclusionary behaviors within the undergraduate social scene.
  • Inclusive Excellence (https://inclusive.dartmouth.edu/), rolled out in 2016, aspires to create a culture of inclusion and equity and promote diversity among faculty, students, and staff.

Together, these three interlocking initiatives form a broad-based program to ensure that behaviors and relationships in all contexts on campus are consistent with our values.

As senior leaders, we will commit the resources and energy required to overcome the biases and barriers that women and many others face on our campus. To succeed, we will need support and engagement from every corner of our community. To hold ourselves accountable, we will establish an independent external advisory committee to measure and report our progress publicly.

We are confident that by working together, Dartmouth can be a place where--without exception and across all disciplines--members of our community can advance their careers in a campus-wide environment that is productive, nurturing, professional, and supportive.

AN EVIDENCE-BASED FOUNDATION

As the foundation for C3I, we have embraced and expanded upon the recommendations for institutions of higher education made in a groundbreaking report (https://www.nap.edu/read/24994/chapter/1), from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), called "Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine."

The report provides the first evidence-based exploration of the damaging toll of sexual harassment on both research integrity and retaining talented students and faculty. While the report focuses specifically on STEM-related fields, the findings and principles are generally applicable across disciplines. The report states: "Institutions can take concrete steps to reduce sexual harassment by making system-wide changes that demonstrate how seriously they take this issue and that reflect that they are listening to those who courageously speak up to report their sexual harassment experiences."

C3I will encompass measurable actions that address specific recommendations from the NASEM report. It will work, in part, to address the three kinds of sexual harassment the report identifies: gender harassment (sexist hostility and crude behavior); unwanted sexual attention (unwelcome verbal or physical sexual advances); and sexual coercion (when favorable professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity).

We have named an independent External Advisory Committee, led by Gilda Barabino (https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/engineering/message), dean of the Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York (CCNY) and a member of the NASEM task force that wrote the report, to evaluate our progress in an annual report to the board of trustees that will be public. We also will appoint a director of C3I to manage its implementation and keep us on course.

MEASURABLE ACTIONS

The Campus Climate and Culture Initiative will incorporate the following elements:

Campus Climate

  • Conducting climate reviews for all academic departments at Dartmouth, to be led by Abigail Stewart of the University of Michigan, a professor of psychology and a national expert in creating inclusive academic environments. Professor Stewart will run the review process in partnership with Vicki May, professor of engineering at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. Professor May is already engaged in the process, and her participation will build internal capacity to continue this practice on a regular basis.
  • Revising our sexual misconduct policies and procedures to create clear and consistent expectations with a single policy for our faculty, students, and staff, and appropriate processes for adjudicating potential violations of this policy.
  • Creating a policies-in-action working group. The provost will convene a working group to identify additional policies and actions to diffuse hierarchical, power-differentiated relationships between faculty and advisees, faculty and staff, and senior faculty and junior faculty.
  • Establishing mandatory Title IX training, to begin immediately. All faculty, staff, post-doctoral scholars, and graduate and professional students are now required to complete an online sexual violence prevention program. This training is in addition to the Sexual Violence Prevention Project, a four-year education program for undergraduates, and builds on the work we are doing to advance an effective training program for every member of our campus community.

 Academic and Professional Development

  • Providing leadership development training for deans, academic department chairs, directors, faculty members, and also principal investigators who manage other researchers and investigators.
  • Making research advisory committees mandatory in all programs overseen by the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies to ensure that all graduate students have access to multiple advisers.

Recruitment

  • Diversity recruitment fund: In 2015, the provost's office launched a pilot program to help support the recruitment and retention of faculty candidates who are underrepresented in their fields. We will provide additional resources to help support this program at a sustainable level of up to 12 new hires per year for the next five years.

Resources

  • Reviewing and expanding our capacity in the Title IX office.
  • Increasing investment in mental health resources, including the addition of five counselors by 2022, growing the total to 15 full-time-equivalent counselors by 2022.
  • National Academies collaboration: As a founding member of the Gender and Equity Collaborative and a participant in the Action Collective, Dartmouth will continue to partner with institutions committed to sharing ideas and best practices related to the successful implementation of the NASEM report's recommendations.

Measurement and Reporting

  • Measurement and reporting metrics: With input from the working group convened by the provost, we will establish key performance indicators to measure progress and impact in providing a healthy learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff.
  • Providing an annual progress report to the board of trustees by the independent External Advisory Committee that will be available to the public.

LOOKING AHEAD

Over the coming weeks and months, and in a variety of settings, such as faculty meetings and department events, each of us will be available to hear your thoughts, answer any questions, and provide more information and updates. You can email us at C3I@dartmouth.edu with your comments, questions, and suggestions at any time.

All of us are deeply committed to creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive climate where our community members can fulfill their academic and professional aspirations. At the start of the College's 250th anniversary year, we want to set a higher standard for ourselves in creating a more respectful culture across our campus.

As Board of Trustees Chair Laurel Richie '81 so often reminds us, every Dartmouth generation has a responsibility to leave the institution better than they found it. It is now our generation's turn--a moment in which we all must play a part.

We look forward to hearing from every member of the extended Dartmouth community and ask you to join us in supporting the full range of initiatives--The Campus Climate and Culture Initiative, Moving Dartmouth Forward, and Inclusive Excellence--to build an intellectually robust academic community and culture that allow Dartmouth to reach its fullest potential.

Sincerely,

Philip J. Hanlon '77, President
Joseph Helble, Provost
Duane Compton, Dean of the Geisel School of Medicine
F. Jon Kull '88, Dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
Kathryn Lively, Interim Dean of the College
Rick Mills, Executive Vice President
Laura Ray, Interim Dean of Thayer School of Engineering
Matthew Slaughter, Dean of the Tuck School of Business
Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Last Updated: 1/3/19