Education and Prevention Programs
In 2017, Vanderbilt was one of five recipients of the Campus Prevention Network’s 2017 Prevention Excellence Award for outstanding achievements in sexual assault prevention. The university provides numerous programs that address sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence, including the intersection of alcohol and drug use with sexual partners.
Programs for Students
Vanderbilt is committed to preventing and addressing student sexual misconduct from their first days on campus and throughout their time at Vanderbilt.
- CommonVU offers roughly a week of activities and events for first-year students to introduce them to the living-learning communities of their houses and The Ingram Commons, the faculties and academic classes of their schools, the norms and values of the Vanderbilt community, upperclass students and their organizations, and Nashville. During CommonVU, students participate in three sessions related to sexual misconduct.
- Project Safe provides comprehensive, year-round violence prevention programming to undergraduate, graduate and professional students in order to raise awareness and help prevent sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and dating and domestic violence. Project Safe also offers orientation for new student-athletes, including dating violence and sexual assault prevention.
- The Center for Student Wellbeing offers a variety of student-focused programming. The center is an integral part of the Student Care Network, providing resources and support services to all students in support of their health and wellness.
- Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) offers Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) self-defense training at least every other month.
- Other offices that host programming for students include: the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity; the University Counseling Center; the Title IX Office; the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center; the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Life; and the Office of Housing and Residential Education.
Programs for Faculty and Staff
Vanderbilt provides regular and ongoing training to faculty and staff, including senior administrators, on issues pertaining to sexual misconduct.
- Vanderbilt provides training on nondiscrimination laws and policies, including those covering sexual misconduct.
- The Office of Student Care Coordination maintains an online reference guide for faculty and staff on assisting students of concern.
- Project Safe and the Center for Student Wellbeing facilitate training on responding to students in distress. Project Safe has presented at more than 15 faculty meetings since August 2018.
- Project Safe has sponsored “lunch and learn” series for graduate students, post-docs and faculty.
- In the fall of 2014, the Faculty Senate and Vanderbilt’s Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Disability Services (EAD) offices launched an initiative called “Golden Opportunity, and Golden Obligation” to train faculty on their responsibilities as mandatory reporters.
- The university provides training for managers and supervisors with hiring responsibilities on subjects including discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
- The Title IX Office provides in-person training as well as online module training for faculty, regarding Title IX, sexual misconduct and reporting obligations.
- EEOO, the Title IX Office, the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrityand Project Safe provide training to faculty, staff and students on sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence and the university’s policies that address these issues.
Programs for Biomedical Scientists
Vanderbilt is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment for research and for post-doctoral fellow and graduate student training.
- Graduate students in the School of Medicine, Basic Sciences (SOM-BS) attend a mandatory orientation facilitated by Project Safe and a mandatory presentation on implicit bias led by members of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Provost’s Office of Inclusive Excellence.
- First-year SOM-BS graduate students participate in an Intensive Mentoring Program for Advancement and Career Training (IMPACT) by meeting weekly in groups with an assigned mentor. Discussions cover a range of topics, including choosing a research lab, interacting with faculty and staff, and responsibly conducting research. IMPACT leaders serve as trusted individuals for whom students can turn for detailed advice or direction to other sources when difficult issues arise.
- Vanderbilt is the only university in the country implementing a Culturally Aware Mentor Training workshop developed by Chris Pfund and Angela-Byars Winston of the National Research Mentoring Network and Center for Improvement of Research Mentoring Experiences. As a result of three recently facilitated workshops, the SOM-BS has 75 trained mentors across leadership and faculty who play key roles in graduate education. Pre and post workshop surveys are implemented to assess mentoring skills gained and actual impact on mentoring practices.
- Vanderbilt is aware of the risks created by power differentials in graduate training and is actively implementing policies to address them. In SOM-BS, these include having someone other than the student’s thesis advisor serve as chair of their thesis dissertation committee and asking women to serve on female students’ dissertation committees if possible. Many programs use mentor-mentee compacts or sponsor Aligning Expectations Workshops to improve communication and clarify expectations between advisors and students.