July 14, 2016 Self-Study Action Committee Report and Implementation

Dear Swarthmore Community Members,

Let me begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to Diane Anderson and the entire Self-Study Action Committee for their work over the spring semester. After a thorough process of soliciting ideas and solutions in response to the results of the Campus Climate Survey, the Self-Study Action Committee has produced a detailed report of recommendations designed to foster a more inclusive community.

Find the full Self-Study Action Committee Report here

Initial Implementation Steps

When establishing the Self-Study Action Committee, I agreed to implement at least 3-4 recommendations within one year of receiving their final report. Thanks to the Committee’s exemplary work, I have decided to commit to implementing recommendations within each category of the report:

Transparent and Comprehensive Resource Guides
  • Expand Organizational Charts (pg. 7)
  • Establish regular policy orientations for faculty and staff (pg. 7)
Advancement and Employment
  • Evaluate Student Employment System (pg. 10)
  • Enhance management training and professional development for faculty and staff in conflict resolution, diversity, communication, emotional intelligence, and other recommended areas (pg. 10)
Support for Marginalized Community Members
  • Add an option to indicate pronouns consistent with gender identity to Faculty Services and Class Rosters (pg. 12)
  • Develop faculty and staff training on using pronouns consistent with gender identity (pg. 12)
  • Label Bond Hall as home for Religious and Spiritual Life and expand Religious Holidays included on print and online calendars (pg. 13)
Diverse and Accessible Mental Health Care
  • Clearly communicate mental health resources available to faculty and staff through Carebridge (pg. 15)
  • Clearly communicate faculty and staff insurance coverage for mental health services (pg. 15)
  • Evaluate strategies to diversify CAPS interns and employees and assess diversity of in-network mental health providers (pg. 15)
Community Engagement
  • Schedule regular Collections (pg. 16)

Beyond this initial list, each recommendation in the report will be carefully considered in future years in order to prioritize projects in light of funding constraints, feasibility, and their alignment with overall institutional goals.   In the fall, we will announce the names of colleagues and departments who are responsible for implementation of these initial steps as well as further details of the planning effort.

Establishing a Standing Committee

This fall a Standing Committee of faculty, staff and students will be charged with continuing the robust community engagement and feedback collection undertaken by the Self-Study Action Committee.  This committee will be responsible for:

  • Establishing an online feedback mechanism
  • Scheduling events each semester to discuss progress and gather feedback
  • Collecting and publishing progress reports

Existing Initiatives

I would like to acknowledge various offices for their work on existing initiatives that address a number of other recommendations in this report. Specifically:

  • Self-Study of Identity-Based Centers: Under the leadership of Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development Shá Duncan Smith, the self-study of identity-based centers that was initiated last academic year will continue to identify opportunities to support diverse groups of community members and promote cross-cultural collaboration and engagement for the entire Swarthmore Community.
  • Hidden Costs of Education: The Dean’s Office has identified increasing support for first-generation and low-income students as a top priority and will continue to implement these recommendations.
  • Promotion and Tenure Review: Under the supervision of the Committee on Promotion and Tenure and the Provost’s Office, each academic department is improving the clarity of its criteria pertaining to faculty promotion and tenure.
  • Benefits Review: Human Resources is preparing to conduct a Benefits Review. Phase one will focus on assessing health insurance plans, services and costs over the course of the next year. In the subsequent year this review will extend to examine other benefits including paid time off, staff tuition and tuition grant benefits.  These reviews will inform a number of the recommendations associated with employee benefits.
  • Pay Grade Chart: HR has recently posted an updated Pay Grade Chart on the HR Website. Workshops will be scheduled in the fall to provide an overview of the new compensation structure.  
  • One Card Program: This initiative will support our newly expanded student meal plans, allow for use of the card for food purchases with merchants in the Borough, and enable authorized cardholders to access campus buildings. As we implement this system we hope to have credit cards accepted at dining registers in the next year.
  • Student Employment Evaluation: A working group of staff from the Dean's Office, Financial Aid, ITS, and representatives from student employers is reviewing the College's current student employment processes and systems.  The goal of this review is to match students with campus employers, streamline job posting and application processes, and assure that qualified students with a work-study grant receive preference in the hiring process.  We expect to develop recommendations for systems and process changes in time for the 2017-18 budget cycle.

Learn More

Starting in the fall, we will use this same platform to share regular updates and to announce future opportunities for community feedback. We look forward to providing you with more information as it becomes available.


Valerie Smith