Cultivating a Respectful Culture
Lead: Jeanne Christiansen, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
: Three proposals outlined a vision for improving our community and culture. Consistent with Goal 4 of the Strategic Action Plan — to create and sustain an energized community that is adaptable, dynamic, and vital to enable the University to advance strategically and function efficiently — the Continuous Improvement proposal suggested that we need to examine and improve our organizational systems on a regular basis. In the proposal Cultivating a Respectful Community, author Dean Baird et al. recommend we continuously improve the skills of our employees as well as our culture and climate. They identify a number of topical areas that include leadership, conflict resolution, ethics, sexual harassment prevention, key policies and procedures, safety, cultural expectations for civil behavior, capitalizing on diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and communications skills. A number of venues could be employed to educate and develop our faculty, staff, and students around these topics to include: new employee orientation programs, unit safety committees and training, regularly-scheduled education seminars, e-learning tools, training trainers in units across the university, etc. Initial steps have already been taken in this area including a President’s Leadership Retreat held in August.
Last spring’s news coverage raising questions about research ethics points to the critical importance of this issue to our faculty, staff and graduate students and to the reputation of our institution. A portion of the Ethics and Justice in the Age of Globalization proposal, authored by Doug Lind and Larry Forney, provides a concrete approach to ensuring the highest operating standards for our academic enterprise. Specifically, they suggested stronger training on the ethical conduct of research that could be incorporated into this work.