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. Given the importance of the findings generated by the initial survey in 2007, this survey has been administered once every three years.

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: