Welcome! This toolkit is designed for individuals, leaders and teams to learn more about U-M’s core values, and provide resources to support putting these values into action.

Our core values define our identity and purpose, and serve as a compass to guide decision-making, actions and interactions within the organization. Demonstrating these values is essential as we pursue excellence and carry out the university’s mission.

U-M’s Core Values

The core values are: integrity, respect, inclusion, equity, diversity and innovation.

What if my area has department/unit values?

We recognize that schools, colleges, units or teams have their own unique cultures and may have their own set of values that reflect this. U-M’s core values are not intended to replace these values, but to live alongside them. This toolkit will provide resources to help individuals and teams understand and communicate how multiple sets of values can live together.

Add yourself to the Culture Journey email listserv to receive updates on when new resources are available, stay up to date on upcoming events and share stories from across the university on ways to engage.

Get Started

Step 1: Learn about the Values

Use this slide deck to learn more about the core values, including how they were chosen, why they are important, and how they can help to create a culture at U-M that fosters trust and provides a strong foundation to live up to our highest ideals.

Consider including this slide deck in a team meeting to engage others in your learning and begin promoting the values in your teams, school, college or unit.

Consider attending one of our toolkit drop-in consultation sessions. Sign up for the course interest list to be notified when a future session is scheduled.

Watch one or more of the videos about the university’s core values or subscribe to the Culture Journey: Engaging Our Community podcast.

Step 2: Reflect

Ask yourself questions about the values. Use the Values Personal Reflection handout to explore how your school, college, unit or team’s values align with the university’s core values. Choose the questions that resonate with you the most or modify them as needed. Consider choosing a different question to reflect on a regular basis (daily, weekly, monthly) and keep a journal of your thoughts.

Step 3: Have a Team Discussion

Engage teams in discussions about the university’s core values. Here is a list of activities you might choose from:

  • Lead a Group Activity about Values in Action
  • Lead a Group Discussion about U-M’s Core Values 
    • Engage your members of your team, school, college or unit in meaningful discussion about U-M’s core values.
    • Recommended group size: 2+
    • Time: 10+ minutes
  • Host a Values Conversation Club 
    • An easy-to-implement format that uses a video about a topic of interest to guide team conversations. A collection of videos about the values is available that can be featured in a conversation club, along with questions to engage teams in meaningful discussion. You could also consider using the Culture Journey Podcast to engage your team in discussion.
    • Recommended group size: 2-100
    • Time: 30 minutes
  • Share Values Stories and Recognize Values in Action
    • Create intentional opportunities for team members to share stories of when they have observed the values in action. Encourage team members to recognize and thank others for modeling the values. Use stories to start team meetings, or share in team communication channels such as bulletin boards, Slack channels or listservs. We also share some stories about values in action in the Culture Journey Podcast, you could also use an episode as a starting point for your discussion.
    • Recommended group size: 2+
    • Time: 5+ minutes
  • Values Mentorship
    • Pair up with a teammate to be “values mentors” for each other. Talk about how you use core values in your work and share tips and stories about challenges or successes.
    • Recommended group size: 2
    • Time: Monthly or quarterly cadence of 30+ minutes
  • Values Journal
    • Keep a values reflection journal and encourage others to do the same. Use the questions in Step 2 as prompts, or jot down instances where you observed or applied U-M’s core values in your daily work. Periodically share and discuss reflections as a team.
    • Recommended group size: 2+
    • Time: 20 minutes


Promote the Values
  • Use the Culture Journey digital and print tools to promote the values in your area
    • Zoom backgrounds
    • Email signature mark
    • Agenda and email templates
    • Slide deck to introduce the values
    • Posters featuring the university’s values, clarifying statements and behaviors
  • Place a Culture Journey swag order for your department
Learn More About Culture Change
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Let us Know What you Think

We are looking for feedback related to the values toolkit and resources. Let us know what you think in a brief survey.