National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals that include off-campus research activities must have a project-specific written plan in place to safeguard all project participants. Specifically, principal investigators must create a plan for a safe and inclusive work environment and distribute that plan to each participant before travelling to the research site. 

Middlebury’s Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs, in consultation with the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (OIDEI), has created a template to help get you started (see Section A below). Have questions? First consult this NSF FAQ webpage. If you still need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs staff for help.

Middlebury is committed to creating and maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus environment where we value openness, curiosity, rigor, and equality. Discrimination, including harassment, is antithetical to our values and mission, and, therefore, Middlebury does not tolerate unlawful discrimination based on protected personal characteristics in its educational and employment environments.

In support of this goal and in compliance with the NSF policy to “foster safe and harassment-free environments wherever science is conducted” (NSF 2023 PAPPG II-E.9), Middlebury requires Safe and Inclusive (SAI) Work Environments Plans for all NSF proposals that include off-campus or off-site research. Each project-specific SAI plan must provide:

  1. A brief description of the field setting and unique challenges with respect to safety and inclusiveness for the project team, such as the physical and social environments in which participants will find themselves
  2. Steps that the College and project principal investigator will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus working environment, including processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture, codes of conduct, trainings, and mentor/mentee regular check-ins
  3. Communication processes both within the project team and to the organization(s) that minimize singular points within the communication pathway (e.g., a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone)
  4. Organizational mechanisms that will be used to report, respond, and resolve issues of harassment if they arise  

The plan includes three sections: Section A provides specific details for the off-campus research component of the project and should be submitted as part of the proposal submission package if requested. Section B outlines Middlebury policies that support safe and inclusive work environments, and Section C outlines campus trainings and other resources to promote safe and inclusive work environments.

Section A: Project Specific Plan Template

Download the fillable SAI plan template. Complete the form and save it with a descriptive file name (e.g., NSF SAI Plan-Smith-June 2023). Include it in your proposal package to upload to InfoEd for internal routing and approval. Submit the two-page form with the proposal through the portal if required by the NSF solicitation.

Section B: Middlebury Policies to Support Safe and Inclusive Working Environments

Middlebury recognizes the challenges of examining systemic discrimination at our own institution and the need to lead by example by promoting engagement, collaboration, and full participation within and across the diverse communities who work, live, and learn together. Middlebury’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is positioned to lead our efforts, serving as a hub for education, support services, advocacy and accountability related to diversity, equity and inclusion. With the Board and Senior Leadership Group, OIDEI identifies institutional goals, advocates for change, and provides both transparency and accountability about our progress in working toward those goals. Relevant policies include:

Section C: Campus Training and Resources to Support a Safe and Inclusive Working Environment

Middlebury offers a range of resources for students, staff, and faculty designed to increase engagement and inclusion, provide opportunities for community building, and connect individuals with the support they need to succeed.

  • All employees must complete the Building a Safe and Inclusive Community online course as a condition of employment. All students receive online programming through Safe Colleges. Content includes sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention, alcohol and other drugs, Title IX information, and other health and wellness topics.
  • OIDEI hosts weekly open office hours where students, staff, and faculty can share concerns related to difficult issues, seek support related to climate barriers, explore potential strategies to address concerns, and access individual consultation to develop strategies for navigating and responding to difficult issues or for implementing equitable and inclusive practices. 
  • DEI Workshops for Managers and Supervisors: Individuals who supervise full-time staff are invited to participate in a workshop series focused on understanding the role that identity (race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion, etc.) plays in the workplace.
  • Inclusive Practitioners Program: A continuing education program for faculty and staff, covering topics such as understanding and reducing barriers for first-generation students, managing power and privilege dynamics, how and why to use gender pronouns, and anti-racism as everyday practice.
  • The Community Bias Response Team (CBRT) provides the Middlebury community with a system for reporting and responding to bias-related incidents, behaviors, and actions. CBRT assesses the impact of bias-related incidents on individuals and groups and coordinates responses utilizing education and restorative practices.
  • The Coalition for Dismantling Antisemitism at Middlebury aims to create opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to learn more about antisemitism and how Jewish students experience it on campus and elsewhere. Please read this statement about our work and visit our Resources on Antisemitism page. 
  • The Advisory Group on Disability, Access, and Inclusion identifies ways to make Middlebury a more inclusive community, focusing on issues related to disability and people with disabilities.