Approved by the: University Senate - May 5, 2011
Administration - no action required*
Board of Regents - no action required
* President Kaler is in agreement with this resolution


Supporting the Efforts of the Work Group Promoting Academic Civility in Graduate and Professional Education

The University Senate supports the Academic Civility Work Group, which envisions "a university culture that fosters academic excellence and promotes civil and respectful relationships through effective prevention of, and response to hostile, offensive, or intimidating behavior."

The University Senate encourages the continued growth of a respectful culture for graduate and professional students by addressing University faculty and staff attitudes and behaviors in a systemic way through the following actions:

  1. Faculty and staff are encouraged to support the Academic Civility Initiative by providing a positive, supportive, and constructive working and learning environment, and by responding to reported instances of hostile, intimidating, or offensive behavior in a timely and respectful manner.

  2. Units and departments should adapt and use materials developed by the Work Group that support best practices of advising and mentoring. Link to materials:  http://www.sos.umn.edu/stafffaculty/advisingmentoring.html

  3. A comprehensive review should be conducted of the research and surveys (e.g., the 2007 and 2011 SCRC surveys, "Pulse" survey, exit interviews, COGS survey, and institutional research) to provide additional analysis of these data and possible direction for further efforts to create a culture of mutual responsibility and respect.

COMMENT:

Academic civility is an essential "best practice" for successful graduate and professional programs. The Student Conflict Resolution Center's (SCRC) 2007 Graduate Student Experience Survey made visible behavior incompatible with academic civility at the University of Minnesota. Academic incivility can be defined as hostile, intimidating or offensive behavior by faculty, staff, or students within the institution, to the extent that it interferes with the ability to work or study, and carries high costs to affected individuals and the institution. This survey, administered by the Office of Measurement Services, showed that approximately one third of survey respondents had experienced or observed academic incivility. A summary of survey results may be found at:  http://www.sos.umn.edu/stafffaculty/Survey_Summary_AcadInc_UMNTC.pdf.

Following the dissemination of survey results a Work Group for Academic Civility, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, was formed in 2008 to develop a model to promote civil and respectful relationships through effective prevention of, and response to hostile, offensive, or intimidating behavior.

The Work Group has prepared useful materials that identify strategies for addressing incivility and support effective and respectful advising relationships. These are being distributed to interested departments and units where they are customized to meet departmental needs. An effective and respectful student-adviser relationship is a critical factor in the success of graduate and professional students, fosters academic excellence, and embodies academic civility. To see membership and materials developed by the Work Group go to: http://www.sos.umn.edu/stafffaculty/academic_civility.html.

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