Self-Study Action Committee 2015-16

In response to the information gathered through this survey, a Self-Study Action Committee was formed in January 2016. This group was tasked with encouraging community members to submit ideas based on the study's findings and recommending action items to President Valerie Smith.


  • Diane Anderson (chair), associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor, Educational Studies Department

  • Katie Clark, Center for Innovation and Leadership

  • Leonie Cohen, '16

  • Betsy Durning, administrative assistant, Dean's Office

  • Zenobia Hargust, director, Equal Opportunity and Engagement

  • Kenny Jones, environmental services

  • Keton Kakkar, '19

  • Meghan Kelly '18

  • Mohammed Lotif, assistant director, Intercultural Center

  • Sheila Magee '81, gardener

  • Jen Moore, administrative assistant, History Department

  • Gina Patnaik, assistant professor, English Literature

  • Ben Roebuck, '17

  • Peggy Seiden, college librarian

  • Robin Huntington Shores, director of institutional research and assessment

  • Elizabeth Vallen, professor, Biology

  • Robert Weinberg, professor, History Department

  • Kaaren Williamsen, Title IX coordinator


The Committee met weekly from January 25 to April 12 and then twice a week from April 26 to May 5. They were charged with:

  • Establishing processes to soliciting ideas and solutions from the widest constituencies of our community.

  • Analyzing submissions of ideas and solutions.

  • Proposing 3-4 Actions that President Smith might authorize within a year of the report. In consultation with President Smith we agreed that the report would be submitted by April 30 for a response from her by May 30. Ultimately, in true Swarthmore College fashion, we asked for a two week extension.

Community Engagement Strategies

Community-wide conversations provided opportunities to discuss what we had learned and what our next steps should be to reinforce what is going well and to address areas where we might do better, for the benefit of all members of the community. This feedback was collected through four key mechanisms:

Community Roundtables

  • Community Roundtable discussions were held at three different times on Friday, March 18, 2016.

Brainstorming Sessions

  • All College committees, administrative divisions, academic departments, athletic teams, student groups were invited to convene their own brainstorming sessions and submit strategies and ideas.

Small Group Discussions

  • Small private groups were encouraged to meet and explore their questions and offer proposals.

Idea Boxes

  • Anonymous "Idea Boxes" were installed in the following locations:

    1. Science Center Coffee Bar

    2. Kohlberg Coffee Bar

    3. Sharples Dining Hall

    4. 101 South Chester Road

    5. Matchbox

    6. Shane Lounge

    7. Mephistos Lounge in Willets

    8. 502 Fieldhouse Lane

    9. Parrish Lower Level

Final Report

Based on this extensive community engagement process, the Self-Study Action Committee shared its final report with President Valerie Smith in May 2016. The full report was released to the community along with a set of initial implementation steps in June 2016. You can read the final report and other summarized materials created by the Self-Study Action Committee at: