Culture, Climate & Community Engagement

Cultivate an inclusive culture in which all students, staff, and faculty feel a sense of connection and belonging.

Inclusive & Accessible Spaces

Years 1–4

Reimagine policies, practices, and protocols related to Thayer’s physical and digital environments that incorporate inclusive design principles.

  • Outcomes

    • Equitable representation and use of spaces at Thayer.
  • Actions

    • Taking into consideration institutional efforts, evaluate accessibility of buildings and make changes as needed. This may include crowdsourcing accessibility challenges/suggestions from building occupants to go beyond minimum requirements in building code.
    • Taking into consideration institutional efforts, evaluate accessibility of digital spaces and make changes as needed (website, social media, Canvas or academic resources).
    • Work with Campus Services to adapt restroom signage across campus, add signage at binary gender restrooms with directions to nearest gender neutral restrooms.
    • Review existing artwork/displays in Thayer facilities and refresh to ensure all communities are represented. Adopt a regular schedule and process for reviewing and refreshing visual displays.
    • Evaluate accessibility of non-classroom learning spaces, for example the machine shop.
    • Evaluate and address the difficulty of finding your way around the three buildings that make up Thayer, especially for first-time visitors.
    • Training and development for faculty and staff on how to support community members with disabilities or those in need of accommodations. This could include training on ergonomic equipment options, invisible disabilities, and appropriate language for having these conversations.
    • Develop process for identifying DEI allies within Thayer and facilitate ways for the larger community to connect with them for support.
    • Consider unapparent disabilities in evaluations of accessibility
    • Assess and explore opportunities for equitable use of spaces, considering issues such as on-site personnel access to outdoor light. Gather feedback from affected parties to inform appropriate changes/updates. Identify opportunities to co-locate faculty/staff based on role, discipline, etc.
  • Metrics

    • Follow-up surveys/evaluations to prospective students, faculty, staff to understand their perceptions/experiences at Thayer.
    • Documented, cyclical tracking for artwork/physical space/plants to maintain and keep up to date.

Shared Responsibility

Years 2–4

Develop and provide access to DEI-related resources, tools, networks, programs, and learning experiences to foster collective responsibility, partnership, and engagement for DEI.

  • Outcomes

    • Every community member feels empowered and equipped to build an inclusive environment.
    • Raised levels of awareness, trust and belonging within and across Thayer.
    • Greater clarity among students, faculty, and staff of DEI strategy, efforts, and achievements at Thayer.
    • A learning and work culture that promotes continuous DEI education at all levels across Thayer.
  • Actions

    • Develop a DEI-centered communications plan that clarifies goals, messaging, vehicles (eg. email, social media, announcements by faculty), frequency of communication, and responsible persons or offices.
    • Create working group to review and update content (eg. forms, links, etc.) on ThayerExpress (“intranet”) to identify gaps and needs, and develop plans and processes for continuous updates.
    • Identify a central web space for DEI resources and information (eg. Thayer’s DEI strategic plan, DEI “toolkits,” DEI Learning Series) and develop process for continuous updates.
    • In collaboration with student groups, help fund a DEI “lunch and learn” series around topics such as: unconscious bias, microaggressions, cultivating empathy, and allyship. Ensure topic alignment with Dartmouth-wide efforts.
    • Continue DEI Learning Series for faculty and staff that support continuous learning. Make resources widely available.
    • Continue regular DEI-focused topics for faculty and staff at meetings that require attendance (eg. faculty and all-staff meetings, etc.)
    • Continue DEI Learning Opportunities for students, faculty and staff that provides opportunity for the Thayer members to come together and engage.
    • Create a learning arc to form a common thread for all learning efforts.
  • Metrics

    • Webpage traffic to DEI resources page (tool kits, etc.)
    • Email campaign open rates, click-throughs, for DEI resources.
    • Number and demographics of staff and faculty who take part in DEI Learning Series annually.​​
    • Number and demographics of student, staff and faculties who participate in DEI Learning Opportunities.​​
    • ​Post-training surveys.
    • Pulse Survey results related to commitment to DEI.

Human-Centered Environment

Years 3–4

Develop and encourage a people-centered approach to work, life, and study.

  • Outcomes

    • Increased sense of work-life balance, modeled by leadership.
    • Members of the Thayer community feel heard and supported.
    • The health of our community (physical and mental) is prioritized.
    • Affinity groups support community members.
    • Working and learning environments are aligned to our community members as well as the needs of Thayer.
    • International postdocs have as much stability as possible within the scope of their experience at Thayer and within the constraints of immigration rules.
  • Actions

    • In collaboration with HR, develop written guidance about acceptable work-life balance and expectations at Thayer. This could include consideration around flexible work arrangements and celebrations of non-dominant holidays. Increase clarity around use of vacation/sick time.
    • Share stories and experiences around work-life harmony to raise greater awareness of the importance of an institutional commitment.
    • Leadership commits to modeling work-life balance.
    • Provide guidance to faculty and supervisors on how to develop equitable arrangements for students and employees in a hybrid working and learning environment.
    • Identify policies and practices which serve as a means of excluding or promoting power differentials and make changes to instead promote inclusion and equity (e.g., faculty lunches only open to faculty, "assistant" / "associate" on name tags). Consider naming culture and possible norms of how the Thayer community addresses each other.
    • Create Thayer-based affinity groups for various roles (e.g. post docs, junior faculty, etc.) and identities (e.g. cultural, life experiences, etc.). Leverage or align with Dartmouth-wide affinity groups if possible (e.g. post doc association).
    • In partnership with OVIS and institutional efforts, review and evaluate current support provided to Thayer. Use focus group data to find ways to help OVIS support international students and Thayer’s action plan.
    • Review communications to international students and postdocs and look for opportunities to enhance.
  • Metrics

    • Increased retention rates for students, faculty, and staff; with a dedicated focus on each demographic and identity group.
    • Increased engagement and satisfaction as measured by pulse check surveys
    • Employees are taking their allotted paid time off each year.

Strengthened Programs

Years 3–4

Expand programs to provide faculty and staff opportunities to engage and strengthen connection with students within Thayer.

  • Outcomes

    • Fortified community values and respect for cultural diversity.
    • The diversity of our community is celebrated.
    • Increased awareness for diverse, multicultural, and religious needs of our community.
  • Actions

    • Continue highlighting and providing opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to share their stories, i.e., Humans of Thayer and in venues such as meetings, events and communications.
    • Hold panels with students on diverse issues, marketed to the entire Thayer community.
    • Plan Thayer community events intended to bring faculty, staff, and students together (e.g., event to encourage “speed meeting” between people who don’t yet know each other).
    • Work with Dartmouth (OPAL) to highlight or build upon an annual Multicultural calendar of events. (eg. Lunar New Year, Diwali celebrations, etc.)
    • Develop cultural awareness alerts, how members of the community celebrate them, and highlight activities of members from the different stakeholder groups. Be sure to consider the frequency to accommodate the diverse needs of the stakeholders.
    • Provide resources for DEI events (for example, via rolling budget that resets at the start of each term).
  • Metrics

    • Participation in programming amongst all groups and identities increases.
    • Positive reviews in post event surveys and identify areas of improvement.
    • Positive reviews related to community in quarterly pulse surveys.

Community Outreach

Year 4+

Expand programs to provide faculty, staff, and students opportunities to engage and strengthen connection with the community outside of Dartmouth.

  • Outcomes

    • Contribute to the health and growth of the K-12 pipeline.
    • Enhance outreach initiatives to the Upper Valley community.
    • Thayer is a recognized host of community outreach activities.
  • Actions

    • Collect, communicate and create transparency around community outreach that is already being done.
    • Add a staff resource to assist with community outreach activities.
    • Review and enhance outreach to high schools, 2-year institutions, and colleges, with a focus on minority serving institutions.
    • Develop a community engagement plan informed by the interests of faculty, staff and students and by the community / population to be reached..
    • Plan a series of community engagement events, informed by the community / population to be reached.
    • Revive the Thayer Open House event.
    • Build a Rube Goldberg machine for Thayer's entrance area (could be an 89/90 project).
  • Metrics

    • Something about the community knowledge of Thayer?