Trustees Prioritize Campus Diversity and Inclusivity

Strengthening the diversity and inclusivity of Dartmouth’s community and accelerating academic excellence were the top priorities at the weekend meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Baker Tower offset view
(Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

 

Provost Carolyn Dever and her team briefed the board on the College’s ongoing initiative to strengthen Dartmouth’s diversity and inclusivity. The initiative will develop a plan for sustained and persistent diversity and inclusion; define clear metrics for success and accountability; and identify the most promising strategies—and phase out ineffective ones—to ensure Dartmouth’s plan is best in class and creates the standard for higher education.

The trustees engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about the progress of the initiative, with a focus on identifying actions Dartmouth can take that will produce concrete results. They urged the administration to adopt rigorous standards of accountability and to maintain a sustained effort until diversity and inclusivity strengthen all institutional actions and programs.  

“Dartmouth embraces diversity and inclusivity as a core value with the knowledge that it significantly enhances the quality of the education we offer,” says President Phil Hanlon ’77. “Collaborating and living with people whose perspectives and experiences differ from our own is a critical learning opportunity. It is a cornerstone of the Dartmouth experience and produces graduates who are prepared to lead in a diverse and global workforce.”

Provost Dever emphasized the important relationship between a diverse, inclusive campus and academic excellence.

“Higher education today requires a community of many voices in order to address 21st century challenges,” she says. “Our engagement with the full human diversity of backgrounds, identities, thoughts, and experiences is essential to Dartmouth’s leadership in its dual mission of discovery and education.”

The board supports and looks forward to the publication of a comprehensive plan for diversity and inclusivity at Dartmouth. The board also committed to participate in diversity training to ensure that it realizes the full commitment to diversity and inclusion to which it holds the campus.

Tuition Rates and Financial Aid Set

The trustees approved a 3.8 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board for the 2016-17 academic year. Undergraduate tuition will increase 3.9 percent to $49,998, an increase of $1,878 over the current year’s rate. Total tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees next year will be $66,174.

The decision follows a budget process that prioritizes robust investment in excellence and innovation as well as support for Dartmouth’s most important academic priorities, including ensuring the success of the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative.

For the third consecutive year, all departments will be required to target 1.5 percent of their budgets for reallocation to projects that spur new initiatives and support improving the academic enterprise.

Board members reaffirmed their commitment to affordability and access through continuation of Dartmouth’s generous need-based financial aid program.  This commitment is exemplified by the following:

  • For the 2017 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, the College has budgeted $95.8 million in financial aid, a 4.7 percent increase over the $91.5 million expected during fiscal year 2016.
     
  • Students with an annual family income of up to $100,000 receive free tuition and no loans for all four years.
     
  • Since 2005, Dartmouth has more than doubled its scholarship awards. The average annual scholarship awarded to undergraduate students for the 2014-2015 academic year was $46,315.
     
  • In the 2015 U.S. News & World Report college rankings, Dartmouth placed ninth among universities for value, based on a school’s academic quality and net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.

“It is a priority of the board that Dartmouth meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of every student who walks through the door. At the same time, we must continue to invest in academic priorities and key initiatives—like the recently launched house communities—that benefit all of our students,” says Board Chair Bill Helman ’80.

The tuition rates apply to all undergraduates and to students in the Dartmouth Graduate Studies programs and at Thayer School of Engineering, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Tuition for the Geisel School of Medicine will increase 3 percent to $59,463, and tuition for the Tuck School of Business will increase 3.4 percent to $66,390.

Approval of Operating and Capital Budgets, Endowment Distribution

The trustees voted to approve Dartmouth’s 2017 fiscal year operating budget of $988 million. The board also approved a capital budget of $83 million to fund a number of projects, including strategic investment in shaping Geisel’s future and renovation of the Hood Museum of Art

The board approved an estimated distribution from the endowment for fiscal year 2017 of $219 million for operating and non-operating activities, a 5.3 percent increase over the current fiscal year. The 2017 distribution represents approximately 4.9 percent of the endowment value as of December 31, 2015. The endowment distribution will fund approximately 22 percent of the operating budget.

Strengthening Academic Innovation

The board took steps to broaden the impact of faculty and student research by approving a new College Intellectual Property Policy (IP) and Policy on Acceptance of Equity. The new policies lower barriers and strengthen support for individual community members to launch entrepreneurial efforts and increases control of their inventions. 

“We are committed to promoting innovation as an integral part of the Dartmouth experience,” says President Hanlon.  “These policy changes enhance the College’s ability to attract the very top talent by removing impediments and making it easier to turn the best ideas into reality.”

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The revised policies will give Dartmouth inventors the right, under certain conditions, to require the College to assign title to College-owned intellectual property developed in connection with the inventor’s professional activities to a newly-formed inventor company.

“These new policies build on what was already in place to create an option for faculty who are particularly interested in finding ways to translate their research out of the academy and into a setting with direct societal impact,” says Tillman Gerngross, associate provost of Dartmouth’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.  “We are an institution at the forefront of helping that translation occur and we want to take the steps that make the process easier.”

The board met with Lee Coffin, who begins work July 1 as the vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid. Following a reception with students, faculty, and staff working on the inclusion and diversity initiative, the trustees also had the opportunity to attend the Dartmouth Idol finals on Friday evening.

“This weekend’s meeting was an extremely productive, energetic, and important session focused on strengthening the Dartmouth experience,” says Helman. “The board is inspired by Phil Hanlon’s vision and the College’s momentum.  It’s an exciting time to be at Dartmouth.”