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Culture Charter

Our culture charter is a co-created set of cultural and behavioral aspirations for leadership and the broader community that can guide and inform our interactions.

Behavioral Aspirations


  • Leadership: Leadership at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences has a high bar. We ask college leaders to embody accountabilities over and above those expected of the broader community so they can support the development of a positive and effective organizational culture and can have a powerful impact on the humanities and social sciences and the communities we serve. Here, leadership is about leading to our values: curiosity; critical thinking; empathy; diversity, equity and justice; and collaborative innovation. By leading with these values, our leaders will help forge a positive working environment. Our leaders will find ways to engage with, recognize and invest in the full diversity of the people in the college community and contribute to thoughtful decisions that will lead us toward achieving our cultural and strategic goals.
  • Community: Being a college community member in any role, discipline or position comes with important expectations for contributing to a positive environment in which to live, work and learn. Here, being a member of the college community is about demonstrating our values: curiosity; critical thinking; empathy; diversity, equity and justice; and collaborative innovation. All of us share responsibility for creating the collaborative, supportive and respectful environment we wish to be a part of. By embodying our values in our work and interpersonal interactions, we all have an opportunity to build a collaborative and supportive community, one that facilitates our mutual success as a college, to the betterment of the humanities and social sciences and our society.

Specific Behaviors

Demonstrate transparency in actions and decision-making.
Leaders will be open and communicative about agendas and goals with the intention of supporting students, employees and stakeholders.
Work to best serve students, colleagues and stakeholders.
Community members will ensure that everyday work and decision-making prioritize students and the college’s key stakeholders.
Lead with openness and empathy.
Leaders endeavor to be curious and listen to and learn from the unique lived experiences of students and employees, and to demonstrate openness in receiving feedback, new ideas and solutions with the genuine intention to make positive change and collectively address pressing challenges.
Demonstrate empathy and openness.
Community members will ensure they show up with curiosity and empathy to understand our students and colleagues better and to treat one another with respect and kindness. Together, we’ll strive to build a culture that is truly welcoming of a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences.
Pursue bold action to address the needs of all employees.
Actions will be responsive to the needs and
challenges of all employees. Leaders will take steps to expand equality of opportunity for all, advocate to achieve pay equity and ensure everyone has clear pathways to grow and advance.
Speak up to address the needs of all colleagues.
Community members advocate for themselves and for their colleagues when they feel safe to do so, to help create a culture in which we can all safely voice our concerns, reduce negative cultural dynamics and build a healthy workplace where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.
Celebrate and reward positive contributions.
Leaders endeavor to recognize and value the positive contributions of students, staff and faculty, and to trust people’s ability to effectively and efficiently perform their roles and responsibilities.
Appreciate and value contributions of our students and colleagues.
Whenever possible, community members will express gratitude and appreciation to our students and peers for the unique value they bring, to further the college’s vision and mission.
Foster an environment of collaboration and innovation.
Leaders will take deliberate steps to move beyond silos by encouraging collaborative partnerships across teams, departments and units, both internally and externally. Leaders will pursue interdisciplinary partnerships with STEM colleges and the university to solve the most pressing problems affecting students and stakeholders.
Find opportunities to collaborate and solve problems.
Community members will seek out opportunities to collaborate with colleagues across units, departments, roles and hierarchies. Community members will work proactively to partner across disciplines, with STEM-focused units and departments, and to find creative and innovative collective solutions to the most challenging problems.
Lead with integrity and authenticity.
Leaders will strive to model honesty in daily interactions with students and employees, so as to build mutual trust and understanding.
Demonstrate integrity and authenticity.
Community members will work with integrity and be honest with each other about the collective problems we face, and will cooperate to find creative ways to make positive changes.
Take action on discrimination and injustice, and address harmful behaviors.
Leaders will be proactive in addressing inequalities of all kinds and drive positive action by centering the needs of the most vulnerable and underrepresented groups in decision-making processes.
Stand together against harmful behaviors and injustices.
Community members endeavor to speak up when witnessing harmful behavior, injustice or discrimination, when they feel safe to do so, and will be advocates by offering their ear, voice or platform to colleagues and peers who might be experiencing inequality.
Invest in resources and supports for all.
Leaders will take bold steps to break down barriers to equitable access and to invest in making resources and support available to all, especially the most underserved and underrepresented groups.
Illuminate and advocate for resources and support.
Community members will find opportunities to advocate for equitable access to, and investment in, support to be made available for all.
Lead with values, and promote diversity of thought.
Leaders commit to foster an environment where independence of thought is encouraged and rewarded, regardless of one’s role, position or rank within the college. Leaders will take bold steps to build spaces where diversity of perspectives and new ideas are welcomed with curiosity and empathy.
Practice our values, and embrace diversity of thought.
Community members will demonstrate an eagerness and willingness to embrace a diversity of perspectives and new ideas from students and colleagues in everyday work, and to proactively cultivate a culture of academic excellence and innovation.
Promote the college’s unique value and expertise.
Leaders will find new opportunities to create awareness about the college’s unique value in interdisciplinary education and excellence in learning, teaching and research. When possible, leaders will take steps to create opportunities for interdisciplinary alliances and partnerships that encourage creative problem-solving and
Engage in advancing the college’s vision and mission.
Community members will contribute their expertise and unique perspectives to advance interdisciplinary education, teaching and research, and will take proactive steps to build cross-functional and interdisciplinary partnerships with STEM-focused colleagues and colleges.
1A Note About Leaders: In the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, there are some colleagues who are in official leadership roles — they serve as chairs of committees, heads of departments, directors and so on. These leaders can and should consider the behavioral aspirations for leaders to guide how they show up in their roles and in their interactions with others. There are also community members who, at times, because of circumstances, find themselves in more informal leadership positions. At these times, those community members should consult the behavioral aspirations of leaders and aspire to uphold them where and when possible.