Respect, trust, accountability, shared vision, integrity and partnerships are needed to sustain a welcoming and inclusive ANR workplace environment.
UC ANR's Principles of Community Committee met for the first time on Sept. 29 in Davis to develop an outline for the Principles of Community. This document will serve as a guide for ANR employees to resolve and address conflict. In creating the Principles of Community, the committee strives to promote positive communications in the staff and academic personnel units, represent all organizational units, and provide examples of best practices.
Elizabeth Villalobos of Fresno County was elected chair and Tina Jordan of Davis was elected co-chair by the committee, which also includes Mary Blackburn, Emily LaRue, Chris Martinez, Laura Snell, Katherine Soule, Erin Spaniel, Jeff Tibayan and Terri White.
In 2012, ANR embarked on a journey to find out about the status of the working and learning environment across the entire UC system. As soon as the findings came in, ANR put into place an action plan.
This plan included regional workshops across the state to present results to all employees and to offer opportunities for employees to discuss the findings. One of the findings selected for discussion was the prevalence of “exclusionary behavior” experienced by employees. To help address this issue and to create a more welcoming and inclusive work environment, ANR leadership announced that a set of Principles of Community would be developed and used as a tool for education and training. To solicit input from the employees for the principles, 24 breakout sessions were held this year. At the end of each session, volunteers were recruited to form a statewide committee that would use the input from the employees to develop the Principles of Community for ANR.
After reviewing the charge, the Principles of Community Committee broke into groups to identify common themes derived from the 24 work environment breakout sessions held earlier this year.
The committee found that many ANR staff members viewed communication, perspectives, commonalities, age and generational differences to be both challenges and benefits for a diverse workforce. Respect, trust, accountability, shared vision, integrity, and partnerships were common values necessary to make a community and are characteristics needed to sustain a welcoming and inclusive ANR workplace environment. The committee also learned how ANR employees voiced their opinions on specific rights and responsibilities within the community such as communication, respect, a safe place, training, tools and work ethic, to name a few.
With the help from Emily LaRue, the committee's scribe, our team is on track to make history. We anticipate delivering a first draft of the principles and implementation plan by the end of the 2015 calendar year with a final draft due to ANR leadership in February 2016.
The committee plans to meet by conference call every two weeks. Feel free to contact any committee member with suggestions to share with the group because we want to capture the voices of ANR employees as we work to foster a more welcoming and inclusive work environment. Before we begin developing an implementation strategy, there will also be an opportunity for UC ANR members to provide comment and feedback.
The Principles of Community Committee wants you to know that we have heard what you have said and plan to develop a set of principles to help minimize the exclusionary behaviors staff has experienced in the past and move all to a positive working environment.
Author: Erin Spaniel (Thompson)