The Dartmouth community has been invited to weigh in on work-life issues and well-being needs through two short, confidential surveys. The feedback will inform efforts by the administration to address ongoing issues and better support faculty and staff.
“A number of different concerns have been raised in the community recently like the availability and affordability of child care and housing in the area,” says Treb Allen, associate professor of economics and chair of the Ad Hoc Council on Work-Life Issues, which was established by the Office of the Provost.
The council is charged with providing guidance to Provost David Kotz ’86 and Executive Vice President Rick Mills in addressing the challenges of such issues as housing, child care, partner employment opportunities, and community building. The 15-member council, which first convened in February, has reached out to key stakeholders and experts at Dartmouth and the Upper Valley.
“The work of this council is incredibly important, as Dartmouth and its neighbors grapple with longstanding challenges that affect everyone in the Upper Valley,” Kotz said.
To get a better sense of how the diverse community is being affected, and to what degree, the council in late April sent out a confidential work-life survey to more than 7,200 faculty, staff, and graduate students. The survey saw a 30% response rate, with respondents offering detailed comments and suggestions to questions. The council is working to form a set of recommendations based on these responses, coupled with input from local experts.
One survey statistic that leaps off the page, says Allen, is that more than a quarter of the community that needs child care doesn’t have access to it. “I’m a numbers guy, so it’s very easy to see those percentages and say this is a pressing issue, but what is more compelling are the really heartfelt stories that people have taken the time to record,” he says.
He hopes that some combination of the numbers and the stories will lead to action on the part of Dartmouth and the region’s other employers, local communities, and other groups.
The second survey, which is also confidential and went out by email on Tuesday and is being conducted by Wellness at Dartmouth, seeks feedback about current wellness offerings and other well-being needs of faculty and staff.
“Dartmouth is a unique and wonderful place in a lot of ways,” says Allen. “And I think to take advantage of what makes it unique and wonderful, it is going to require a more concerted effort on the part of the institution and many others to make investments in terms of these key work-life issues.”
The council members, in addition to Allen and Mills, are:
- Devin Balkcom, professor of computer science
- Charles Carver, vice president, Graduate Student Council
- Heather Drinan, director of government relations
- Jenna Khan, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine
- Jake Kransteuber, senior financial analyst
- Nadia Lafreniere, postdoctoral researcher
- Petra McGillen, associate professor of German studies
- Chloe Poston, associate vice president for strategic initiatives, Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity
- Lorin Parker, executive director of talent management, Tuck School of Business
- Keighley Rockcliffe, president, Graduate Student Council
- Courtney Rotchford, program manager for health promotion and wellness
- Kimberley Samkoe, associate professor of engineering
- Daniel Veres, senior executive assistant to the provost