Dartmouth Working to Diversify Faculty, Elevate Faculty of Color

News subtitle

A set of priorities is designed to infuse the campus culture with an anti-racist ethos.

Snowy rooftop and cupola of Dartmouth Hall
(Photo by Robert Gill)

Dartmouth is taking concrete steps to diversify its faculty; create a pipeline to elevate Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) to leadership positions; make higher education more affordable to a greater number of students; and infuse its campus culture with an anti-racist ethos, says President Philip J. Hanlon ’77, on the holiday celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

President Hanlon, his senior leadership team, and Matt Delmont, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History who in July was named special advisor to the president on matters of faculty equity, diversity, and inclusivity, have been working to set priorities for the next five years and to pursue new diversity and inclusivity initiatives that will complement the ongoing work of Moving Dartmouth Forward, Inclusive Excellence and the Campus Climate and Culture initiative, all of which are having a measurable effect.

In an email yesterday, Hanlon emphasized the importance of the diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“Despite the historic challenges of this past year, this is a moment of exceptional opportunity for Dartmouth. I look forward to harnessing the extraordinary intellect and resolve of our community as we continue to take action toward a better and more just society for all,” he wrote.

In addition, he urged community members to participate in Dartmouth’s slate of King Day events, which can help people understand the issues and systemic barriers faced by BIPOC students, faculty, and staff.

The initiatives underway follow a pledge made in July by Hanlon, members of the board of trustees, and senior leaders to implement a series of changes at Dartmouth in the wake of police violence against Blacks nationally and protests in cities across the country. Faculty and staff responded, penning a letter endorsed by more than 1,000 faculty, staff, students, and alumni calling on Dartmouth leaders to implement widespread change.

The communications have led to meetings in the months that followed, ongoing dialogue on long-lasting and meaningful actions to demonstrate a shared commitment to racial justice and an anti-racist Dartmouth culture.

“This work is fundamentally about what kind of institution we want Dartmouth to be today and in the future,” says Delmont. “These initiatives and investments are an important part of the ongoing effort to ensure faculty, staff, and students of color have the necessary support and community to thrive.”

The initiatives lay out a five-year vision to increase the number of BIPOC faculty at Dartmouth, expand their representation in leadership roles, and enhance the existing infrastructure to support their work. The plans also seek to expand financial aid—making it the top priority of the Call to Lead capital campaign—so that Dartmouth can assist a greater number of students.

What follows are details about the initiatives.

Commit 15 faculty lines—three per year for the next five years—to a cohort hiring initiative for BIPOC faculty and faculty who study racial injustice, systemic racism, and institutional equity. These scholars would bring diverse perspectives to campus and help ease a mentoring burden that falls disproportionately on current BIPOC faculty. In addition, the faculty would support Dartmouth’s drive to achieve 25% faculty of color by 2027, a primary goal of Inclusive Excellence. The current percentage is almost 20%. In addition:

  • Dartmouth will conduct a campus-wide equity study of faculty salaries this academic year to ensure racial and gender equity across the Institution.
  • Delmont is working with faculty colleagues and Advancement to develop initiatives to advance faculty diversity, for which we will seek philanthropic support.

Expand the representation of BIPOC faculty and staff in leadership positions and achieve a greater understanding of the obstacles faced by BIPOC students, faculty, and staff in seeking leadership posts and how best to address them. This work includes:

  • More substantial leadership training to cultivate new leaders on Hanlon’s senior team, with a goal of increasing BIPOC members of the team by the 2025 academic year. Dartmouth aims to create conditions in every leadership search that will yield candidates with a record of developing anti-racist initiatives and policies.
  • Elevating financial aid to be the top priority for the remainder of the Call to Lead capital campaign to ensure that all accepted students can experience a Dartmouth education. The Presidential Commission on Financial Aid, created by Hanlon in May, will help achieve these goals: to strengthen and expand the commitment to need blind admissions for all students, including international students, and to meet accepted students’ full demonstrated need; to eliminate undergraduate loans; and to raise the minimum annual family income threshold to qualify for full tuition scholarship from $100,000 to $125,000.
  • Expanding and permanently endowing the E.E. Just Program, which provides mentoring, research internships, and undergraduate fellowships to support students from groups that have been underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
  • A commitment that search committees for every leadership position, and every campus-wide task force and working group will include BIPOC individuals and those with an understanding of anti-racist policies and initiatives. Dartmouth will also institute more comprehensive implicit bias training that goes beyond current offerings and will focus specifically on the search process and work with search firms that have demonstrated success in the hiring of diverse and anti-racist candidates.

Enhance the infrastructure to support the work done by the BIPOC community. 

  • Dartmouth is elevating the role and responsibilities of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (OIDE) as it transitions into the Office of the President. The new senior vice president and chief diversity officer will report to the president and be a member of the president’s Senior Leadership Group.
  • OIDE will review self-studies and strategic diversity and equity plans that will be required of every unit by the end of the current academic year and will incorporate progress in implementing the plans and advancing anti-racism within units as a factor in determining unit leaders’ annual compensation and reappointment.
  • Delmont will convene conversations with BIPOC faculty to better understand what they need in order to thrive at Dartmouth. He will work with the leaders of centers and institutes to determine how they can more actively support and advance scholarly work on anti-racism, inclusion, and related topics.
  • House professors are working on ways to realize the potential of the house system in undertaking anti-racist efforts and, more generally, in creating more inclusive communities.
  • Dartmouth will continue to support the Historical Accountability Student Research Program, in which students research topics to provide an understanding of Dartmouth’s past, and identify opportunities to incorporate the work of faculty in the program.
Susan J. Boutwell