Beginning in July 2021, we have engaged with the U-M community in our process to identify our unifying shared values. We have focused specifically on faculty, staff and student employee experiences (workplace behavior and norms) on the Ann Arbor campus and at Michigan Medicine.

Phase 1: Community Engagement Process

The process to engage the community included:

  • Identifying the university’s existing network of values
  • Two dozen information sessions with faculty and staff stakeholder groups
  • A pulse poll to determine the values that should guide our university (administered to all Ann Arbor and Michigan Medicine faculty and staff)
  • 11 focus groups of faculty and staff to deepen our understanding of how our community is and is not living out these values
Phase 1: Results

Analysis by the Institute for Social Research (ISR) and Organizational Learning found that inclusion, diversity and excellence emerged as the top three values from the existing values statements provided by the schools, colleges and units.

4,419 faculty and staff responded to the pulse poll. Responses indicated the that the same top five value words were chosen by faculty and staff, but in different orders of importance.

Top 5 values by faculty:

  1. Excellence
  2. Integrity
  3. Inclusion
  4. Respect
  5. Equity
Top 5 values by staff:

  1. Integrity
  2. Respect
  3. Inclusion
  4. Excellence
  5. Equity
Top 5 values overall:

  1. Integrity
  2. Excellence
  3. Respect
  4. Inclusion
  5. Equity

Focus groups were asked three key questions and the following themes emerged:

1. “How are we living our top values?”

  • Our institutional emphasis on DEI as an example of living our values
  • Individuals in our community strive for excellence, academic excellence and innovation
  • Working with colleagues who are open and willing to collaborate
  • Individuals demonstrate a commitment to values in daily activities, such as kindness, respect, support, advancing innovation

2. “How are we not living our top values?”

  • Our DEI efforts need additional work and focus
  • High profile instances of leadership not modeling our values
  • A perceived lack of accountability for poor behavior
  • Elements of our culture are inconsistent with our values

3. “What obstacles are preventing us from living our values?”

  • The process, structure and guidelines to define and enforce expectations are not clear to all in the community
  • There is a lack of commitment to taking the right actions
  • Potential structural issues including decentralization and a need for leadership training
Future Work: Recommendations

For our values to represent all faculty and staff, gathering feedback across campus is a vital part of our culture journey. Based on findings from these campus engagement activities, the working group proposed the following recommendations for future work related to establishing unifying shared values:

  • Finalize data gathering and engagement activities by engaging the U-M community in a process to define proposed institutional values and associated behaviors
  • Establish a coordinated process/plan for the communication and socialization of values
  • Identify opportunities for alignment and integration of values into institutional policies and processes
  • Create/provide accountability mechanisms to support the application and operationalization of values
  • Plan for review and evaluation of values for ongoing relevancy and alignment