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The Dartmouth
May 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

College announces three-year diversity, equity and inclusion plan

The plan, titled “Toward Equity: Aligning Action and Accountability,” intends to advance diversity goals on campus through 15 initiatives.

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The College has developed a new three-year institutional diversity, equity and inclusion plan titled “Toward Equity: Aligning Action and Accountability,” College President Phil Hanlon announced this morning. The plan outlines 15 initiatives ranging from expanding mentorship opportunities for underrepresented students to developing an Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life. 

The plan contains four foundational elements: using common DEI definitions throughout the College, developing an institutional climate survey to gather data on student experiences, assessing and aligning resources devoted to DEI across campus and repositioning the office of institutional diversity and equity. 

Senior vice president and senior diversity officer Shontay Delalue led the process which created the new plan. She said that her team oversaw community focus groups and used surveys to incorporate input from the community, while also reviewing information from previous College DEI efforts, such as Moving Dartmouth Forward, Inclusive Excellence and the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative. 

In an interview with The Dartmouth, Delalue said that strategic plans like this are intended to “engage everyone” within the institution. She added that as a plan, “Toward Equity” is not intended to solve all of the College’s issues, but focus on a specific “set of priorities” which she said have the biggest impact. 

The 15 strategic actions included in the plan fall into four priority areas: coordination, structure, accountability and assessment. 

To improve coordination, the College’s goals include expanding and formalizing existing mentoring programs for underrepresented students, developing strategies to retain diverse faculty and staff and expanding initiatives to promote underrepresented students in STEM. 

Structural actions include standardizing the collection and reporting of DEI data and  establishing an Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life. 

Under accountability, the College aims to provide more DEI training for senior leaders and develop a mechanism for the College to “improve historical accountability” for past injustices against “marginalized groups.” 

For assessment, the College plans to review trends from exit survey data to better understand the faculty and staff employee experience, as well as evaluating  graduate student mentoring committees to track equity and inclusion in their mentorship experience. 

Delalue said that the research revealed a common desire for College and administrative accountability for DEI goals. To that end, she said that specific actions in the plan have administrators appointed to oversee their implementation and their timelines can be found in the plan’s appendices. 

“People felt like previous [College DEI] initiatives were well-intended but did not have the metrics to ensure its success,” she said, adding that community members have reacted positively to the in-depth process and focus groups which led to the development of the new plan. “People said they had never been involved in that kind of process.” 

Delalue emphasized the importance of DEI initiatives as a form of institutional health. 

“In my profession of practitioner work around DEI, when you focus on marginalized members of a community, everyone benefits,” she said. “We all walk away better.”