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Taubman College Compact

The College Compact is a description of the environment we wish to create and the behaviors we hope our community members will exhibit. These shared values articulate our commitments for our interactions and relationships with one another.

Our Shared Values

You and all of the things that make up your unique identity are welcome in our vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff. Combining our intellectual curiosity and areas of expertise allows Taubman College to create a place full of possibilities — for students to learn and experiment, for faculty to conduct research/creative practice and share knowledge, and for staff to contribute expertise and advance careers. We are a respectful, supportive and positive community where individuals can build meaningful and lasting connections with one another. We are at our very best when we acknowledge that we all have something valuable to contribute and work together towards common goals as equal partners.

A group of people enjoying food at a party outside.

Unique Identity

You and all of the things that make up your unique identity are welcome in our vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff.

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Our Definition

Our personal experiences are valued, encouraged, and used in our work and decisionmaking. People see themselves reflected in the community.

What this means...

  • In all of our interactions with each other, we will start from a place of mutual respect, regardless of identities or positionality. We acknowledge that we are all worthy and deserving of our place in this community and welcomed as we are.
  • We prioritize creating safer environments where people who choose to are able to be their full authentic selves, especially those with marginalized identities.
  • Faculty, students, and staff are able to teach, learn and work in an environment that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and other harmful behaviors.

We demonstrate this by...

  • Learning, using, and correctly pronouncing each other’s names and pronouns when we interact. 
  • Understanding our own identities (privileged and marginalized) and how they impact others. 
  • Searching for similarities with others and embracing our differences.
  • Doing our own work to educate ourselves on identities that may be unfamiliar to us. 
  • Recognizing the value of our multitude of backgrounds and experiences and the unique contributions of others.

Full of Possibilities

Combining our intellectual curiosity and areas of expertise allows Taubman College to create a place full of possibilities — for students to learn and experiment, for faculty to conduct /creative practice and share knowledge, and for staff to contribute expertise and advance careers. 

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Our Definition

There is always space to explore your ideas. We trust and support each other in developing them. We are flexible and open to change.

What this means...

  • We are committed to teaching and learning as well as creating environments and new experiences that foster exploration and growth and allow us to imagine a better world for each other.
  • We embrace an abundance mindset that acknowledges that different possibilities and courses of action can coexist.

We demonstrate this by...

  • Celebrating the breadth of expertise at the college.
  • Empowering others to express differing opinions and respectfully challenge the status quo. 
  • Being open to a wide variety of thoughts, ideas, and solutions.
  • Recognizing that we are all on our own journeys that may require different levels of support and being understanding of the fact that others may receive things that we don’t need.
  • Viewing failure as a learning experience and trying again.

Positive Community + Meaningful and Lasting Connections

We are a respectful, supportive, and positive community where individuals can build meaningful and lasting connections with one another.

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Our Definition

Our community is rooted in being a positive organization that believes in social and racial justice. We work together towards common goals and ideals,playing different roles to do so. We create safer and braver spaces to share with those who are similar and different from us. Most importantly, we celebrate together.

We value the quality of our connection and relationships over anything else. Through academics, work, projects, events, parties, gatherings, field trips, etc, we get to know one another holistically across constituencies and within cohorts. Our connections last beyond our time together at the college.

What this means...

  • We embrace being a positive organization that fosters lifelong relationships with one another, while simultaneously acknowledging that positive communities still make difficult decisions that we don’t always agree with.
  • We will respect, assist, validate, and celebrate each other as we build genuine connections academically and socially that will have lasting impact.

We demonstrate this by...

  • Showing compassion, understanding, care, and concern for one another. 
  • Choosing to see the best in one another by focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses.
  • Speaking kindly, listening to understand (while noting that this does not obligate us to agree), and disagreeing respectfully.
  • Prioritizing the health and well-being of ourselves and our community by staying home when we are not feeling well. 
  • Having fun and celebrating our individual and collective achievements with each other.
  • Staying connected and giving back.

Work Together + Equal Partners

We are at our very best when we acknowledge that we all have something valuable to contribute and work together towards common goals as equal partners

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Our Definition

Our learning and working is based on collaboration. Mutually supporting each other, we come together to advance shared goals and ideas.

Our relationships within the college, across and within students, faculty, and staff share power. We respect each other and our lived experiences.

What this means...

  • We will work to create collaborative environments and collective experiences that welcome and encourage diverse participation because we know that the end result will be better for it.
  • We recognize that good ideas and leadership can come from anyone regardless of position or rank/title.

We demonstrate this by...

  • Actively seeking people who have different backgrounds and experiences to work with and learn from.
  • Creating settings that foster empathetic transparency in our interactions and decision-making.
  • Intentionally alternating between leading and following, talking and listening.
  • Being dependable and following through on our commitments to one another.
  • Trusting others to do their part, even if it is not in the way we would do it.

Smiling students sitting around a table with a laptop on it.

Accountability

The College Compact is a description of the environment we wish to create and the behaviors we hope our community members will exhibit. Because we are human, we will not always  live up to these ideals with our actions. Additionally, our intent may be wellintentioned and the impact may not be the same as we intended. In caring for one another, we will take responsibility for our actions and/or our impact.

When we know we have failed in some way, we will:

  • Admit and take responsibility for our actions.
  • Apologize to the individual(s) we have harmed and work with them to right the wrong.
  • Forgive ourselves, while committing to self-improvement and not repeating the behavior.
  • Learn and grow from the experience.

When we witness something, we will use one or more strategies from the bystander intervention framework:

  • Address the situation directly or indirectly by confronting the person who is causing the harm or causing a distraction to stop the harm.
  • Discuss the situation privately with the individual who caused the harm first and work toward a mutually agreeable resolution, if we feel capable of doing so (if not, we will seek help for how to handle the situation.)
    • If a one-on-one meeting does not result in a successful outcome, we will involve others as appropriate.
    • You can also report and/or support those who have been harmed by discrimination, sexual harassment, and other harmful behaviors.

Why was the College Compact created?

In February 2020, several senior faculty and staff leaders in Taubman College, including the dean, participated in a university workshop, “Creating Climates Resistant to Sexual Harassment.” At the end, there was a call to action to actively prevent sexual harassment from occurring in our units. Part of Taubman College’s plan included creating a college compact to specifically address this issue. The following month, before we had a chance to begin that work, we were all sent home as a result of the pandemic. Over that summer,  we were witness to horrible racial injustices and our students came together and brought forth their initiative Design Justice Actions (DJA). One of their asks was to “Formulate a central ethos that enhances the thought processes of leadership, faculty, staff, and students towards championing social justice and DEI values in their work.” In light of everything we were all trying to deal with and process as a community, we decided to expand the college compact work to include more than just sexual harassment. 

We believe that all faculty, students, and staff deserve to teach, learn and work in an environment that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and other harmful behaviors. Atmospheres that allow microaggressions are more likely to become environments that allow macroaggressions. These macroaggressions breed the conditions needed for the creation of inequitable policies and culture, reflected on the ways that we treat each other and who has more opportunities to thrive. We have created this compact to articulate our shared values and address our fundamental commitments and obligations to one another.

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Thank you for your commitment to create a culture where all of our members can thrive. This work is ongoing and evolving. As such, we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

If you have questions or ideas, please send a message to taubmancollegecompact@umich.edu.

View the PDF version of the College Compact.

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