In the spring of 1996 members of the Division of Student Affairs at Oregon State University adopted the Campus Compact, a document in which we describe our aspirations to build a strong sense of community on the OSU campus. The Compact focuses on relationships, attitudes, and behavior we will foster through-out the University campus.
In the Compact we also identify specific initiatives through which we will achieve our desired outcomes. One of the initiatives, under the heading "Professional Development," focuses on enhancing personal growth and development of staff, establishing learning and performance expectations, and setting standards for professional relationships and service delivery. This document describes our goals and expectations.
The thoughts expressed in this document were generated through discussions among members of Student Affairs units, all of whom had the opportunity to be involved. Each work group responded to the following questions:
- What do you feel are your basic rights as a member of the Student Affairs staff?
- What responsibilities do you have to other members of the Student Affairs staff?
- What are you willing to personally be held accountable for?
- What responsibilities do your department, the Division of Student Affairs, and the University have to you?
The answers to these questions form the basis of our Rights and Responsibilities document.
This document does not replace job descriptions, union contracts, or other pre-existing documents. Nor is it meant to diminish our responsibility to meet all legal obligations for accessibility or other workplace standards. This is not a legal document. This is a document rooted in care - how we would like to be cared for, how we will care for our colleagues, and how we will show our care for OSU and its mission. This represents our best thinking about how we will construct our work lives and relationships. The words and ideas expressed are those of the people who are employed in the Division of Student Affairs at Oregon State University. This document will serve as the standard toward which we aspire. Each work group will develop a specific plan for how to achieve this standard. Each will outline a regular process for evaluating their progress and achievements.
Our Basic Rights and Responsibilities
We want a work environment characterized by open and honest communication, where members show respect for the needs, interests, concerns, challenges, and humanity of co-workers. We will accept responsibility for fostering relationships of appreciation, recognition, support, celebration, and commitment to each other's well-being and success. Positive treatment, and commitment and care will be accorded to all because it is our responsibility to acknowledge the dignity of each person, not simply that person's perceived status. We will be committed to doing a good job and acting in good faith on behalf of ourselves, students, our units, our Division, the University, and the taxpayers of the state of Oregon. Above all else, we will practice respect, open communication, and create an enriching work environment for all members.
An individual's ability to grow and develop professionally is influenced by the physical work space, the attitudes shown in that space, and the general atmosphere of the environment. Physical aspects of the environment, such as ergonomically correct and adequate equipment, may enhance or detract from performance and growth. Attention to temperature, lighting, safety, accessibility, and visual displays, and respect for an individual's personal space also will affect the physical and emotional well-being of individuals. A safe emotional environment is built on trust, integrity, and support. It encourages individuals to speak freely, without fear or threat of ridicule, judgment, or retaliation. A trusting atmosphere creates a space for confidentiality and humor and expresses faith in the ability and good intentions of others. Dignity, mutual respect, and integrity serve as the cornerstones of an emotionally supportive and trusting environment and provide a firm foundation from which to promote learning and good work performance.
Each of us is responsible for the physical, emotional, and spiritual condition of our work space. To act on my responsibility to create a positive work environment I will:
- keep my space safe, clean, and well-organized for all users;
- be honest, show respect, and honor others.
- collaborate with others and contribute to the goals and responsibilities of my workplace; help to create and maintain a pleasant, positive work environment that encourages and supports all.
- maintain standards for a culture and environment of community.
- demonstrate faith, trust, and belief in what we are doing.
- implement strategies to break down false divisions among staff and to eliminate elitist attitudes at all levels.
- show respect for the environment; uphold a warm and cooperative atmosphere.
- maintain a positive attitude toward my work and my colleagues.
- embrace diversity; respect the privacy and confidentiality of others.
- value every person for their contribution; provide quality customer service to co-workers, students, and others.
- bring a spirit of teamwork, cooperation, and care to my work.
- exhibit personal energy in my interactions.
- act with care, fairness, and forgiveness towards myself and others.
- provide support and assistance to co-workers in need of help, whenever I am able.
- show care for the goals, mission, people, resources, and property of the University.
In addition to contributing to the creation of a positive work environment, each staff member should expect to receive positive results from the environment they create. As a staff member in the Division of Student Affairs I have a right to:
- be treated with courtesy, openness, and understanding.
- have my personal space respected and have privacy to carry out my work.
- be treated as competent and included as part of a team.
- be respected for my individual skills and knowledge.
- receive affirmation, validation, appreciation, collegiality, support, and mentoring.
- be able to learn from mistakes with the benefit of coaching.
- stretch individual boundaries to grow without fear of repercussion of failure.
- have the opportunity to enhance community in the workplace and on the campus.
- be allowed to fit into and embrace Campus Compact principles.
- have a reasonable workload through agreement between my supervisor and myself.
Honest and open communication between colleagues creates a positive atmosphere. While we all seek open communication, it may be difficult to overcome the barriers that get in the way. We openly acknowledge that we must work hard to rise above any issues that interfere with out ability to share information among colleagues. Lack of honest communication breeds misunderstanding and mistrust and inhibits the growth and productivity of each of us. Communication is the most vital aspect of our work and lives, and it is the mechanism through which we connect with each other. Because good communication is essential to good work, this is a crucial element in our desire to educate, to provide quality service, and to be of value to our University.
To act on my responsibility to create positive communication I will:
- provide and solicit constructive feedback from my co-workers.
- share accurate information, ask for input, and provide clarification as needed.
- communicate with others in an appropriate manner, by means of appropriate technology; acknowledge that communication flows in many directions and will seek to foster communication in all ways.
- exchange information on plans, goals, directions, and priorities.
- seek and provide opportunities for collaboration with others on campus.
- seek and provide opportunities for input into decisions and processes that move the Department, Division, and University.
- communicate clear expectations and offer assistance/support in meeting them.
- promote the good work of my department and other units.
- acknowledge the value of others' ideas.
- seek and provide opportunities for everyone to be listened to and heard.
- participate in honest and open communication.
- have an understanding of the basic roles of my co-workers and the stated mission of my unit, the Division of Student Affairs, and Oregon State University
- provide reliable and accurate information; be thorough in my communication.
In addition to contributing to the development of positive communication, each staff member is entitled to the benefits associated with an organization characterized by good communication. As part of an organization committed to open and honest communication I have the right to:
- speak and be heard; be listened to.
- be recognized and applauded for my contributions; be informed about, involved with, and included in decisions.
- courteous dialogue and respectful behavior.
- acceptance of my individuality.
- sensitive response to my expressed needs.
- consideration of my ideas; constructive feedback.
- honest, ongoing assessment of relationships and communications.
- seek clarification if I do not understand information communicated to me by others.
Each of us needs certain basic resources in order to fulfill his or her responsibilities. We also must acknowledge that we do not have an infinite source of money with which to acquire material and human resources. Therefore, it is imperative that we make the best use of the resources needed to carry out our work. In the area of resource allocation and utilization I have a responsibility to:
- use University resources for work-related purposes.
- use resources in an efficient and cost-effective manner, while continually looking for ways to work smarter.
- show a willingness to do my job and help others to get their work done as well.
- actively encourage cooperation and teamwork.
- be honest about what I can accomplish and ask for help when I need to.
- show responsible use of my time and the time of others.
- develop efficient yet effective programs.
Our commitment to the growth and development of staff must be expressed in such a manner as to ensure access to opportunities, offer fair distribution of resources, and strengthen the concept that these opportunities are not to be viewed as investments rather than financial or staffing burdens. In the area of resource allocation and utilization I have a right to:
- have the opportunity to create and implement a personal professional growth plan.
- have access to workplace technology and equipment that meet minimal Division/University criteria and allow me to meet work expectations.
- implement work hour flexibility/time for self care.
- be provided with adequate training, tools, resources, time, and support to do my job and for professional development.
- a commitment of financial resources for professional development through ongoing budgeting.
Professional Development and Learning
The most essential element of a University is a commitment to the advancement of knowledge. As members of a learning organization we are committed to enhancing our knowledge and the knowledge of those with whom we work. Out of professional necessity and ethical responsibility, learning standards have been developed to which members of the Division of Student Affairs will comply. These standards relate to two areas -- professional development and the use of technology. General learning and professional development focus on the way in which we have knowledge and how we use knowledge to increase our effectiveness. Technology development involves full use of available technology and keeping pace with technological advancement. Within Student Affairs, career-long learning is encouraged, expected, and required for each of us. Specifically, as a member and active learner in the Division of Student Affairs, I have a responsibility to:
- seek out professional development opportunities.
- know my job and be familiar with the responsibilities of my co-workers.
- help train co-workers and support them in finding new ways to accomplish tasks.
- acquire the knowledge and skills I need to perform my job and contribute to the University.
At the same time, we are a learning organization, where member growth is nurtured, encouraged, and promoted. As a staff member of the Division of Student Affairs. I have a right to:
- resources, time, and support for professional development opportunities.
- recognition for the knowledge and skills I acquire.
- ongoing education and training.
- encouragement for professional improvement.
- access to on-the-job training; access to active mentoring.
- opportunities for cross-training and seeking in-house advancement.
- honest and constructive work appraisals as a way of promoting my growth and the growth of my supervisor.
All members of the division of Student Affairs will be held accountable for and have access to skills development, which includes:
- the ability to use basic computer applications, specifically electronic mail, word processing, and the World Wide Web.
- access to a "community" terminal, if the nature of my work is such that I do not work from a desk.
- having an active e-mail account.
- having access to an Audix mailbox.
- access to a computer whose specifications comply to at least the minimum standard defined for members of the Division, at my work station.
- access to hard copy documentation to support my use of software.
- release time for learning opportunities.
- hands-on learning experiences.
- access to computer learner groups.
Specific Technology Requirements - All Student Affairs units will comply with the minimum standards found at http://tss.oregonstate.edu/cn/policy/2005/?page=home&type=normal
Each of us will be held accountable. This accountability goes beyond fulfilling the basics of our job description. The accountability we speak of refers to our willingness to state who we are willing to be, what we will give, and what unique contribution we will bring to our work setting. Accountability is the willingness to step forward and be counted. As a member of the Division of Student Affairs I am willing to be held accountable for:
- my performance, behaviors, and feelings; communicating my needs, and ensuring that my needs are met.
- doing my job to the best of my capabilities and fulfilling the functions of my job.
- acting in a professional manner at all times and upholding the integrity of OSU through honest, ethical behavior.
- providing timely response and follow-through on requests, concerns expressed to me, and commitments I make.
- sharing the skills, knowledge, and opinions in ways that benefit those I serve.
- showing respect for those with whom I work; respecting the bounds of confidentiality.
- being at work on time and using the time at work for work related purposes.
- my actions and standing up for my rights and the rights of others when they are infringed upon.
- honoring the difference of others.
- the quality of my relationships with my colleagues.
- taking appropriate risks.
- providing fair annual reviews and evaluations for those I supervise.
- assuring due process/mediation in a timely manner.
- representing and advocating for students and staff on campus, and at the community and state levels.
- creating reliable and accurate rules and regulations.
- ensuring that I have information on rights and benefits.
Many of the expectations and concepts listed in this document may be categorized as attitudes or values. However, these concepts translate into specific behaviors. Engaging in the specific behavior described will produce the environment that will create the desired outcomes. In order to implement this set of Rights and Responsibilities:
- Each work group will conduct at least one meeting each term to review this document.
- Each work group will define exactly how these concepts will be translated into day-to-day behavior.
- Each department head will report to the Vice Provost of Student Affairs, at least annually, the status of their department's progress.
- This document will, along with the Campus Compact, serve as the basis for the orientation of new members to the vision, values, and commitments of Student Affairs.
Rights and Responsibilities submitted by: Curt Black, Edie Blakely, Kristie Deschesne, Jodi Nelson, Larry Roper, Gail Wolcott