About the Action Collaborative
The Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education is an initiative where over 55 colleges, universities, and other research and training organizations1 are identifying, researching, developing, and implementing efforts that move beyond basic legal compliance to evidence-based policies and practices for addressing and preventing all forms of sexual harassment and promoting a campus climate of civility and respect. The Action Collaborative model brings together a coalition of the willing to work on a systemwide problem and to identify and develop innovative and evidence-based solutions. It does this by facilitating the exchange of information, ideas, and strategies around topics of mutual interest and concern, and by inspiring and supporting collective action among its member organizations, partner network organizations, and the broader higher education community.
The work of this Action Collaborative is guided by and builds on the National Academies report Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018), which outlines a series of recommendations for making systemwide changes in higher education that can prevent and address hostile environments and harassing behavior. To put these recommendations into practice and advance work on sexual harassment prevention across higher education, the Action Collaborative pursues four goals (Figure 1):
1 The full list of member and partner network organizations in the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education is available at https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/action-collaborative-on-preventing-sexual-harassment-in-higher-education#participants
- To raise awareness about sexual harassment, its consequences, and the approaches for addressing and preventing it
- To share and elevate evidence-based policies and strategies for reducing and preventing sexual harassment
- To contribute to setting a shared research agenda for this work, and gather and apply research results across institutions
- To develop a standard for measuring progress toward reducing and preventing sexual harassment in higher education
As a group, the member organizations in the Action Collaborative provide financial support for the Action Collaborative, collaborate about strategies for advancing systemwide changes, as well as gather and share information that can assist the higher education community in advancing efforts to prevent sexual harassment (through the Action Collaborative’s Working Groups). As individual organizations, the member organizations also take the following actions on their own each year (Figure 2):
- Develop new approaches to address the problem from a preventative orientation
- Implement and testing new or revised programs, policies, and practices
- Share the results from these new or revised approaches
- Identify and engage a group of additional individuals at their institution or organization who can assist and inform this work, including experts, researchers, people with job responsibilities related to issues of sexual harassment, and key stakeholders such as people who have experienced harassment and students.
The Partner Network of the Action Collaborative provides an additional opportunity for collective sharing across colleges and universities, research entities, higher education associations, grassroots and non-profit organizations, federal agencies, national laboratories, industry, and other stakeholder organizations. These groups possess diverse perspectives, ideas, and solutions valuable to advancing the goals of the Action Collaborative, though they may not have the ability or interest in participating as a Member of the Action Collaborative. To capture and integrate the knowledge of these stakeholders into the Collaborative, and to more effectively cross-pollinate innovative ideas and promising practices across higher education, partner network organizations commit to connecting, contributing, advancing, and learning together, but do not have to provide financial support for the Collaborative due to the generous support of the member organizations. The partner network organizations’ commitment also includes an annual public sharing of information about their organization’s efforts and innovations around preventing and addressing sexual harassment.
Since member and partner network organizations are expected to share their work publicly each year, their efforts include actions in the planning stages, those in the process of being implemented and tested, efforts that are fully implemented, and those that are being revised. Rather than sharing everything these organizations are doing, they are asked to share what they consider to be their most innovative, novel, or significant work. This process of open sharing of the most significant work allows the higher education community to learn from one another’s plans, practices, and results; inform the development of new approaches to address and prevent sexual harassment; and inform the implementing and testing of such approaches. A listing of Action Collaborative member and partner network organizations can be found here.
This annual report for 2021-2022 highlights the Action Collaborative’s overall progress toward its four goals and summarizes the work shared by member and partner network organizations during the third year of the collaborative. A complete collection of member and partner network authored “descriptions of work” is available at www.nationalacademies.org/sexual-harassment-collaborative-repository.