Frequently asked questions about our Culture Journey submitted by faculty and staff, organized by theme:

Scope of the Culture Journey

Who is involved in the Culture Journey and what areas is it focused on?
The Culture Journey is gathering the input of faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor campus and at Michigan Medicine to identify core values that will be used to develop supportive workplace behaviors and norms. We are also looking into ways to further engage the broader community, including Flint, Dearborn, and students.

Data Collection

Can we see responses to the poll by race, ethnicity, and/or gender?
Responses to the poll can be presented by work location and type of employee (faculty or staff). Respondents were not asked to provide their race, ethnicity, or gender.

When you conducted focus groups and sent the pulse poll, how did you reach a cross section of our employee population? How are you ensuring you reach all populations?

  • The request to complete the poll was sent via email to all faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor campus and Michigan Medicine
  • The specific employee groups who were targeted to participate in our focus groups were identified by the working group. To fill focus groups, the Culture Change Core Planning Team worked with Human Resources Records and Information Services to pull a random stratified sample of the population that met demographics for each focus group. Examples of groups that participated are: faculty, staff (north campus, student life, staff of academic units, staff of business units), leaders of business units, leaders of academic units, and Michigan Medicine.
  • Additional focus groups are being planned as recommended in the working group’s report submitted to the EOs to ensure representation of as many people as possible.

Who is the Culture Change Working Group accountable to?
The working group provides its recommendations to the university’s executive officers and the Board of Regents.

How are you evaluating the effectiveness of your initiatives?
The work to date has focused on collecting information from the community regarding our values as an institution and their thoughts about our desired culture. The working group has recommended that, as the work continues, metrics be developed to evaluate the success of future work.

Will the culture efforts be staffed, the way that U-M created the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

  • Currently, Sonya Jacobs, chief organizational learning officer and senior director of faculty and leadership development for the Medical School, also serves as special advisor to the president on culture change. Her role is to advise the president and executive leadership and to help lead the university’s efforts on cultural change regarding ethics, values and compliance. A planning team consisting of staff from Organizational Learning has been shepherding the work to identify unifying shared values, supported by the Values Identification Working Group.
  • As recommendations are adopted, staffing needs will be evaluated to determine what will be required for implementation.

Community Engagement

Have you engaged the employee resource groups to create the culture journey strategy?
The Working Group, who helped to inform the culture journey strategy’s initial phases of work, had representation from VOICES of the Staff, CEW+, and SACUA.

How is the culture change effort eliciting and considering diversity of thought to ensure the entire community’s voice is heard and needs are met?

Diversity is a guiding principle in the culture change efforts. Some of the ways in which we have engaged our campus community include:

  • Faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor campus and in Michigan Medicine received an email request to fill out the pulse poll
  • Members of the working group include wide representation from across the university
  • Focus group composition was intentionally designed so that there was broad representation from across the university
  • Information sessions were presented to committees and groups across the Ann Arbor campus and Michigan Medicine
  • Consistent with our university-wide communications plan, we will continue large scale efforts to reach all members of the community via email. We will also promote ways to participate in the culture journey on this website and in the University Record. We will provide updates about the culture journey to university leaders so they may also disseminate information to their staff.

Developing and Integrating Values

What happens after the values are chosen?
After the values are chosen, we will develop definitions of the identified values to ensure that the community has a shared understanding of what each value looks like in day-to-day activities. The development of definitions and associated behaviors will be co-created with the input of community members. Best practice integrates values and associated behaviors into hiring and promotion processes, development, rewards and recognition, and decision making.

What is being done to communicate and carry out best practices for culture change across the university to break down silos and avoid reinventing the wheel?

  • We are committed to regular communication with those engaged in similar work to ensure alignment and reduction of duplication of efforts. In March 2022, we held a mini summit with other offices engaged in culture change across the university to discuss initiatives, timelines, and areas for collaboration. We will continue similar communications over time.
  • The culture change core planning team also works closely with the Culture Oversight and Alignment Committee in Michigan Medicine to support alignment and coordination of culture change efforts.

How does this initiative plan to amplify best practices already occurring in schools, colleges and units to support culture change?

  • We are beginning to collect examples of best practices across our schools, colleges, and units to highlight culture change efforts underway.
  • If you have a best practice in your area you would like to share and amplify, please contact