Academic Civility & the Dignity Project

Academic incivility, or behavior that creates an offensive, intimidating, or hostile learning or working environment, has emerged as a serious concern on campuses across the country. Although generally a taboo topic for discussion within academe, evidence of academic incivility's negative effects on students, faculty, and staff is increasing. It is essential, therefore, that universities address this serious issue and work to ensure campus climates that are conducive to well-being, learning, and productivity.

 The University of Minnesota is committed to taking a national leadership role in addressing academic incivility by acknowledging its existence; collaborating with students, faculty, and staff to understand how it affects campus climate - focusing on graduate students' academic experience and well-being; offering avenues for reporting incidents; and providing assistance when work or learning are disrupted by offensive, intimidating or hostile behavior. The University's Academic Civility Initiative was established to guide these efforts. We invite your participation as we work towards a university environment that is a civil and respectful place to learn and work.

In Fall 2007, the Student Conflict Resolution Center conducted a survey of all UMN-TC graduate students regarding the prevalence, manifestations, and effects of academic incivility. The survey also explored barriers to seeking assistance and satisfaction with interventions when the behavior was reported.

In an effort to garner diverse University perspectives and share both the responsibility and opportunity for responding to the problem, the Dignity Project Work Group was formed. The Work Group envisions a University culture that fosters academic excellence by promoting civil and respectful relationships through effective prevention of and response to hostile, offensive or intimidating behavior. Members include:

Dignity Project Workgroup Member List

  • Sara Binahmed-Menzies, Graduate Fellow, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering
  • Richard Brundage, Professor, Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology
  • Alisa Eland, Associate Director for Counseling & Advising, International Student and Scholar Services
  • Douglas Ernie, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Matthew Hanson, Assistant Director of Mental Health, Boynton Health Services
  • Michael Huyen, Assistant Director, Student Conflict Resolution Center
  • Alex Hermanny, Equal Opportunity Associate, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
  • Jan Morse, Director, Student Conflict Resolution Center
  • Susan Culican, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education
  • Kristin Anderson, PhD, Associate Dean for School of Public Health
  • Dave Golden, Director of Communications at Boynton Health Services
  • Julie Showers, Associate Vice President, Office for Equity and Diversity
  • Karen Starry, Assistant to the Dean, Graduate School
  • Mary Tate, Director of Minority Affairs and Diversity, Medical School
  • Tamar Gronvall, Director, Office for Conflict Resolution

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