Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence

Letter to the Dartmouth Community

May 27, 2016

To the Dartmouth community:

We write to you today to present our commitments to advance diversity and inclusion at Dartmouth.

Over the last weeks, we have studied the reports from the three Inclusive Excellence working groups. We have reviewed the Community Study report. We have taken stock of many previous reports and surveys. We have listened to your feedback on calls, at community forums, and in meetings and office hours, and we have read your emails.

We have identified many previous efforts over the years to enhance diversity and inclusion in our community. And we have concluded that Dartmouth needs no more reports, task forces, or initiatives that occur in isolation. Rather, Dartmouth needs action, alignment, accountability, and transparency. Today we stand together and commit our institution to cultural change. This change is both possible and necessary, on behalf of the highest academic standards that are integral to this institution.

Dartmouth’s capacity to advance its dual mission of education and research depends upon the  full diversity and inclusivity of this community. We have work to do. We must increase diversity, particularly among our faculty and staff. As we do so, we must also create a community in  which every individual, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, disability, nationality, political or religious views, or position within the institution, is respected. On this close-knit and intimate campus, we must ensure that every person knows that he, she, or they is a valued member of our community.

Diversity and inclusivity are necessary partners. Without inclusivity, the benefits of diversity— an increase in understanding, improvement in performance, enhanced innovation, and heightened levels of satisfaction—will not be realized. We commit to investments in both, to create a community in which difference is valued, where each individual’s identity and contributions are treated with respect, and where differences lead to a strengthened identity for all.

In 2015, we launched the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative to enhance the student experience and heighten learning outside the classroom, making the campus safer, more diverse, and more inclusive. The actions announced today build on Moving Dartmouth Forward with an expanded focus on diversity and inclusivity among staff and faculty, as well as students. As we did with Moving Dartmouth Forward, we commit to transparency and accountability in our actions. We will create a permanent home on Dartmouth’s website to allow you to track our progress across all dimensions of diversity and inclusivity, to ask questions, and to contribute ideas. We will appoint an external review committee to evaluate our work in fulfilling our commitments to diversity and inclusivity. And we will link that external review committee with the external committee already in place to evaluate our Moving Dartmouth Forward commitments.

Creating the culture we need and value will require a permanent commitment by the Dartmouth community. The actions we outline in the Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence mark that commitment with a period of focused action, supported by clear, accessible communication about our progress. We recognize that this effort is a marathon and not a sprint. We commit ourselves to constant vigilance and clarity regarding our efforts and their results.


Phil Hanlon ’77, President

Carolyn Dever, Provost

Evelynn Ellis, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity

Rick Mills, Executive Vice President

Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence

Download a PDF of the plan.

The Inclusive Excellence initiative comprised three working groups, focused respectively on faculty, on staff, and on students. Each group was charged with four objectives:

  • to develop better means of documenting current efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive community and to enhance coordination throughout the institution;
  • to define clear goals, with metrics for monitoring progress;
  • to establish explicit standards of accountability;
  • and to propose short- and long-term institutional initiatives based on the evaluation of existing efforts and best practices.

The working groups focused on the particular circumstances of Dartmouth’s faculty, students, and staff, acknowledging that the patterns of diversity and inclusion among these communities vary widely. Yet at the same time, the three working groups were linked: the needs of Dartmouth faculty, staff, and students are intimately connected within and across discrete communities.

This is particularly the case where the resources of individual community members must strain to provide support and cultural connection on behalf of diverse groups that may be small in number and distributed across the campus. The entire Dartmouth community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the students, faculty, and staff members who participated in the three Inclusive Excellence working groups.

We understand that the well being of one sector of our community has powerful implications for the well being of the whole. Through the commitments described here, we aspire to enhance the strength of our entire institution through changes that create and support a positive and productive culture for faculty, staff, and students. Through our commitments to transparency and accountability, we express our intention to persevere in these efforts permanently, and to create lasting change.

Increase Faculty and Staff Diversity

Increasing the diversity of our faculty and staff will require deploying a variety of strategies tailored to the different hiring practices of various positions. For example, tenure-track faculty and senior staff searches are conducted by search committees, while unit managers fill most staff positions. To see sustained increases in diversity for all positions, we will have to make progress on both recruitment and retention.

Faculty Recruitment and Retention

  • We reaffirm our 2014 goal to increase the percentage of underrepresented tenure-track faculty institution-wide from 16 percent to 25 percent by 2020. With our current focus on the recruitment of underrepresented faculty, and an earlier commitment of an additional $1 million per year in the Diversity Recruitment Fund, we are beginning to see progress. Last year, all of the professional schools saw increases in underrepresented faculty and this year, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has recruited eight new faculty of color to date. Meeting the 25 percent goal will require recruiting approximately 50 additional underrepresented faculty, with estimated expenditures of $100 million over the next ten years in salary and start-up costs. To provide additional incentive for departments and schools to recruit underrepresented faculty, and to help us reach the 25 percent goal, we will:
    • Double the Diversity Recruitment Fund to $2 million annually, supported by $45 million in endowment dollars;
    • Task school deans to work with the Office of the Provost to retain key faculty, both preemptively in the context of excellent performance in research, teaching and service, as well as in response to recruitment efforts by peer institutions;
    • Track our progress in reaching this goal on our website.

Accountability: School Deans and Provost.

Accountability: School Deans and Provost.

  • We recognize that issues of implicit bias can have unintended effects on evaluations and collegiality. To mitigate these effects and understand their prevalence, we will ask the faculty of each school to review their tenure and promotion processes. The faculty of each school will work within the school’s appropriate governance processes, and report outcomes and proposed new practices to their Deans and the President and Provost by June 1, 2017. Accountability: School Deans.
  • Recognizing that faculty of color and women may bear a heavier burden of mentorship and committee service, we ask that departments, divisions, and schools find rational means to measure and balance institutional workload, including mentoring, across the faculty. Deans will be asked to report to the Provost annually on such measures, including participation rates and outcomes. Initial annual reports will be due on June 1, 2017. Accountability: School Deans.
  • As an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, we have offered NCFDD workshops and have funded faculty attendance at NCFDD boot camps. We will continue to extend the reach of NCFDD programming. Accountability: Provost.
  • We will conduct exit interviews with all departing faculty, as well as “stay” interviews in order to increase our understanding of the factors influencing employment decisions and to assist us in our efforts to recruit and retain an excellent and diverse faculty. As noted above, through the Office of the Provost, Deans will have access to resources in service of faculty retention. Accountability: Vice President for Institutional Diversity and  Equity.

Staff Recruitment and Retention

Build a More Inclusive Community

Increase Transparency

  • By September 15, 2016, we will launch a new comprehensive diversity and inclusion website which will include a dashboard detailing initiatives, their status, and the responsible offices; a directory of relevant personnel and other resources; a compendium of ways to get involved; a calendar of events; and other information. Accountability: Provost, Executive Vice President, and Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity.
  • By September 15, 2016, Dartmouth will form a new Council on Institutional Diversity and Inclusivity, comprising students, faculty, and staff drawn from all schools and divisions, to advise the President, Provost, Executive Vice President, and Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity. The Council will share best practices from throughout the institution, monitor progress, ensure that departments, divisions, and schools are aware of training opportunities, and provide updates and recommendations to senior leadership. Accountability: President and  Provost.
  • By September 15, 2016, we will create a Research and Assessment Team to develop metrics to evaluate our efforts, to study data, and to work with and to support the Committee on Institutional Diversity and Inclusivity, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, and senior leadership. Accountability: President and Provost.
  • We will publish an annual Dartmouth College diversity and inclusion report card which will be posted on our website. It will include programs, initiatives, relevant data and goals from across the College. The first report card will be published by May 30, 2017. Accountability: President and  Provost.
  • Senior leaders will provide a variety of mechanisms, including public forums, to support community feedback and dialogue on issues of diversity and inclusivity. Accountability: President; Provost; School Deans; Executive Vice President; Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity; Dean of the College; Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

Confront and Learn From the Past

Many students, faculty, staff and alumni have conducted valuable research over the years to shed light on some of the darkest moments in the history of Dartmouth, as well as some forgotten bright spots. We believe that a full treatment of Dartmouth’s involvement in slavery, its historic treatment of underrepresented minorities and marginalized and excluded groups, and an examination of those moments where Dartmouth has led, will help us navigate a more honest and informed way forward. In consultation with faculty, students, alumni, and staff, we will commission public projects on the subject as part of our sestercentennial celebration in 2019. Accountability: President and Provost.

Be Accountable

These actions represent the start of a comprehensive effort to build a culture of academic excellence on Dartmouth’s campus through the thoughtful cultivation of diversity and inclusion of all sorts, in all areas of our community. Our intention is to build both accountability and transparency into our work at every level, to ensure that the community as a whole has a clear understanding of what’s underway, and the opportunity to evaluate success, failure, and follow-up action. As new ideas in support of diversity and inclusivity emerge, both on campus and beyond, we will add to this list of work, always with the commitment to accountability and transparency. At all times, we welcome engagement on these efforts with the Dartmouth community, here on campus and beyond the Hanover Plain.