The Student Experience

Integrate DEI into policies, practices, curriculum, and programs that impact the student experience at Thayer.

Student Onboarding

Years 1-4

Assess and enhance student policies and programs to ensure the diverse needs of students are met when joining the Thayer community.

  • Outcomes

    • Onboarding process is formalized, streamlined, and made more accessible for all graduate, dual-degree students, and remote students.
    • Incorporate DEI in onboarding program.
    • Students are aware of benefits, know where to find resources, go for help, and feel at ease asking for help.
    • Support and resources around being a successful graduate student, navigating Thayer, and navigating the Upper Valley.
    • Continued advocacy for students' needs to ensure successful transition to Dartmouth and the Upper Valley, for example concerning relocation benefit, housing, transportation.
  • Actions

    • Engage current students in the improvement of the onboarding program, for example, consider developing an orientation program that expands throughout the entire first year and/or additional programming for international students.
    • Evaluate all student orientation materials, checklists and forms to ensure program requirements are clear and readily and timely accessible.
    • Evaluate and better leverage campus resources to ensure students are well informed and supported, for example health services, wellness, IDE, Title IX, Guarini, Ovis, outdoor programs.
    • Review the grad student handbook, processes and guides for clarity.
    • Improve grad student advising.
    • Improve information and access to information about living and working in the Upper Valley for graduate students.
  • Metrics

    • Students’ awareness of available benefits, resources and support services, gauged via survey.
    • Participant feedback and evaluation of experience.

Student Mentorship

Years 2–4

Evaluate, build on and support student mentorship programs to provide consistent access to resources.

  • Outcomes

    • Enhanced student-to-student as well as student-to-faculty connections.
    • Consistent quality of faculty advising and mentoring.
    • A culture of mentoring, coaching, and feedback.
  • Actions

    • Design mentorship training that includes best practices, tools, programmatic resources, and roles and responsibilities to ensure quality mentorship experiences. Consider the needs of Dual Degree Students and remote Masters of Engineering students.
    • Assess and identify needs and resources for different student groups in relation to mentorship (across identity groups, backgrounds and abilities and degree programs).
    • Evaluate existing mentoring programs and combine / sunset / enhance / make known in order to build a formal student mentorship program framework and process. Create mentorship events throughout the year to engage cohorts.
    • Explore different types of mentorship / advocacy such as student-student, student-faculty, student-staff, student-alum (e.g. Dean's Council Mentorship Program).
    • Provide development support for faculty to build knowledge, experience, and engagement with specific focus on inclusion of students representing a full spectrum of diversity.​
    • Establish a tracking system that includes feedback processes to evaluate mentoring processes and participant experience and identify training needs.
  • Metrics

    • Mentoring program representation by role, race/ethnicity, gender and other indices, as needed.
    • Participant feedback and evaluation of experience.
    • Retention rates of program participants.

Equity in Support

Years 2–4

Strengthen and expand existing initiatives to support students from all identity groups, backgrounds and abilities in their pursuit of an engineering degree at all levels.

  • Outcomes

    • Increased sense of belonging for students from all identity groups and backgrounds.
    • Online MEng students feel connected to each other, and the existing Thayer Community.
    • Improved and more equitable experiences for students of all identities, backgrounds and abilities.
    • Strong retention rate of incoming undergraduates who express interest in engineering and graduate engineering students at consistent rates across all groups.
  • Actions

    • Develop an engagement and success program for online MEng students.
    • Identify and address barriers to student success.
    • Explore developing an academic support program for graduate students, including a potential bridge program.
    • Identify ways to encourage student engagement with advising, mentoring, and career services throughout the student's journey at Thayer.
    • Develop creative ways of sharing highlights with students (i.e., screen in classrooms automatically showing updates and reminders before the start of class. Slack Channel for cohorts, Thayer School Communications, in student housing, IG stories, and social media).
    • Develop alternate pathways into the undergraduate engineering program to reduce barriers based on foundational preparation.
    • Consider a "trial graduate fellowship" that allows students to try on what it is like to be a graduate student.
    • Consider a graduate course on research methodology and writing for scientific publication.
    • Increase awareness of and access to mental health services for students, with an emphasis on graduate and professional students.
  • Metrics

    • Improved rates of satisfaction/engagement year over year.
    • Improved retention rate by group year over year, moving towards representative rates across the board.
    • Increased retention from introductory courses to upper-level courses.

Graduate Recruitment

Years 2–4

Expand graduate student recruitment practices to identify, attract, and increase participation of students representing a full spectrum of lived experiences, backgrounds, capabilities, cultures, perspectives and other aspects of identity.

  • Outcomes

    • Diverse representation of graduate students across all identity groups, backgrounds and abilities.
    • Increased equity in the application process.
    • Prospective students can quickly see how student wellbeing and DEI are an important part of our culture.
    • A diverse applicant pool across all program areas.
    • Retention of the diversity of the applicant pool through matriculation.
  • Actions

    • Provide clear guidance around the application process on the website, for example by providing a sample application package to ensure all students regardless of background understand the process.
    • Review and identify ways to highlight DEI initiatives and student support resources for prospective students (for example on the website, during recruitment events).
    • Engage the Thayer Admissions Marketing Director to enhance the diversity recruitment strategies.
    • Review and update the student selection process to ensure diversity of the pool is retained through matriculation.
    • Identify opportunities to engage alumni in DEI-related recruitment efforts.
    • Collect and report on recruitment data insights for student recruiting efforts across demographics (i.e., race/ethnicity, gender, disability, etc.) and identities (i.e., first generation college, international students, graduate students, etc.).
  • Metrics

    • Increased diversity of admissions pool and pipeline.
    • Increased diversity of Thayer’s graduate student community.
    • Diversity of matriculated students compared to diversity of the applicant pool.
    • Improved rates of satisfaction/engagement in pulse survey results year over year.

Inclusive Teaching & Research

Years 3–4

Establish expectations and equip faculty with tools and best practices to incorporate DEI and inclusive teaching practices in courses and curriculum.

  • Outcomes

    • Faculty have increased awareness around student inequities.
    • Faculty are supported in incorporating inclusive teaching practices.
    • Feedback on inclusive teaching practices is integrated in teaching evaluation.
    • Evaluation of inclusive teaching efforts is integrated in review and promotion process
    • DEI is integrated into the graduate curriculum.
  • Actions

    • Leveraging DCAL, identify, regularly update and share (Communications) best practices for inclusive teaching.
    • Leveraging DCAL, train and support faculty and instructional staff in adopting inclusive teaching practices.
    • Review all questions on course evaluations for bias and incorporate inclusive teaching as an additional feedback point.
    • Incorporate assessment of inclusive teaching practices in course approvals and syllabi review.
    • Develop/explore new approaches to integrating DEI, ethics, and/or social responsibility into the graduate curriculum.
    • Consider mini-grants to faculty to enhance their knowledge of incorporating DEI into the coursework and classroom structure to create a more inclusive and welcoming learning environment for all students (i.e., diverse case studies, classroom community agreements, evidence of application of inclusive teaching pedagogy and methodology, etc.).
    • Discuss best practices around student attendance policies with faculty to foster inclusive practices for students with disabilities.
    • Develop templates for guidelines, rubrics and expectations for roles and responsibilities for group projects to share with faculty and instructional staff.
  • Metrics

    • Faculty attendance at DEI educational workshops and events.
    • Student feedback on DEI related questions in teaching evaluations.
    • Teaching evaluation revamp completed.
    • DEI questions on student exit surveys.