Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 80.07
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Dickinson College
PA-3: Inclusive and Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.88 / 3.00 Neil Leary
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which the following stakeholders can regularly participate in the governance of the institution?:
Yes or No
Students Yes
Academic staff Yes
Non-academic staff Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal participatory or shared governance bodies:

Faculty, staff, students and alumni all play significant roles in the college’s governance. All college constituents provide input through a comprehensive committee structure and through open-planning sessions that help the Board of Trustees, the college president and the president’s staff develop the college’s strategic plan, operational budget and numerous policies. The Board of Trustees has sole fiduciary responsibility for the college, oversees matters of basic policy, elects the college president and reviews the president’s performance. The president steers the college, aligning day-to-day operations with Dickinson’s mission and strategic plan. The president’s staff is made up of vice presidents, who lead the college’s divisions, the provost, the chief of staff, and general counsel. President’s staff members manage their respective divisions and collaborate with the president and the Board of Trustees to implement the college’s strategic plan. The strategic plan is developed and updated through a collaborative process that embraces transparency and builds consensus by soliciting input from across the Dickinson community.

Five All-College Committees are responsible for governance of (i) academic programs, (ii) equity and inclusivity, (iii) enrollment and student life, (iv) information technology and services, and (v) planning and budget. Each of the All-College Committees is composed of voting members, who include faculty, administrators, staff and students, as well as non-voting members. The faculty and student members of All-College Committees are elected.

Policies, regulations and guidelines that have to do with academic matters are governed by the faculty. Voting members of the faculty include the president of the college, the dean, and all full-time and reduced-time professors, associate professors, assistant professors and instructors.

The Dickinson College Student Senate works to serve the student body and encourage social, cultural, and academic initiatives to create a more active and engaged student community. It consists of 38 voting members who are elected by the student body and is led by the Senate President.

The Staff Forum is made up of staff representing all divisions of the college—Academic Affairs, Campus Operations, Enrollment & Communications, College Advancement, Financial Operations, Human Resource Services, Library & Information Services, and Student Development, as well as the President’s Office, to enhance communications with all areas of the college. The Forum meets monthly to share information and to discuss questions and concerns in addition to recommending actions and improvements on behalf of the college community.


Total number of individuals on the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of students representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of non-academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Number of women serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:

Percentage of official members of the highest governing body that are women:

Website URL where information about the institution’s highest governing body may be found:
Does the institution host or support one or more formal bodies through which external stakeholders have a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them?:

A brief description of the campus-community council or equivalent body that gives external stakeholders a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them:

The Carlisle Community Action Network (CAN), founded by Dickinson College President Margee M. Ensign in 2017, brings together broad cross-section of community leadership from education, business, human services, faith communities, healthcare, law enforcement, government and military. Thirty to forty community members, Dickinson staff and faculty and Dickinson’s president met monthly for breakfasts till the COVID-19 pandemic began. Since then the group has grown to 90 members and meets weekly using distance technology. The CAN provides a forum in which members of the community meet with Dickinson’s president and other staff to discuss and act on both college and community concerns, including college decisions that impact the community, such as decisions about sending students home in spring 2020, bringing students back to campus in spring 2021, and public health measures to protect the community as well as Dickinson’s students, faculty and staff. CAN has proven to be an effective body for coordinating action of the college and multiple community stakeholders to work together for our common benefit.

Another mechanism through which community members can voice concerns about campus-community issues is Dickinson’s Learning and Action Networks (LAN). LANs are collaborations of community stakeholders and Dickinson faculty, staff and students that seek to co-create knowledge and action on issues of concern to the community. The focus of each LAN is developed with community partners to respond to community needs, which can be a community issue (e.g., community health), a neighborhood (e.g. the Northside neighborhood), or a type of activity (e.g. community-engaged arts). Through Dickinson’s LANs, community stakeholders and Dickinson community members have worked to strengthen neighborhood identity, challenged negative narratives about the Northside, address inequities in access to affordable transportation and organize health promoting physical activities for area youth.

The Dickinson Student Ambassador to Carlisle Borough Council is another channel by which campus-community concerns are communicated between Dickinson and Carlisle residents. The Student Ambassador, a non-voting member of the Borough Council, serves as a two-way conduit of information between the college and community. The ambassador briefs our President's Chief of Staff on matters of import after each council meeting and makes periodic reports to the Student Senate.

Number of people from underrepresented groups serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body.:

Website URL where information about the institution’s governance structure is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.