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Statement of Community Expectations

Creating a Thriving and Supportive Workplace: Statement of Community Expectations for Faculty, Staff, and Administrators

Adopted by the School Assembly June 2021 | Last Updated June 2021

I. Statement of Purpose and Scope

Our School has recognized diversity, equity and inclusion as core values in its recently adopted Strategic Plan. In order to give full effect to these values in practice, this document articulates the expectations of School administrators, faculty in all categories (including tenured and tenure track, professional track, and instructional) and staff (SPP community members) as reflected in their interactions with students, with each other in collegial and scholarly pursuits, and with the broader university community. 

The document builds on and amplifies existing University policies and codes of conduct (i.e. Expectations and Responsibilities for Faculty Members) that are already applicable to faculty and staff. This document will be reviewed and revised annually to reflect feedback from students, faculty, staff and administrators, so that it remains relevant and current. To submit feedback on this statement, please email Niambi Carter of the SPP Faculty Diversity Committee

These expectations and principles are aimed at fostering a culture of reciprocity, integrity, openness and mutual trust and respect – behaviors that are vital for the School’s and University’s mission. If you encounter behavior that is inconsistent with these principles and feel that is has been improperly overlooked, please bring the issue to the instructor, an advisor, or School of Public Policy administrator or to the SPP Equity Officer at

II. Key Principles

A. Promote and Preserve Academic Freedom 

Academic freedom is essential to educational excellence and the pursuit of scholarship in universities.  Mindful of our historic commitment to scholarship and the free exchange of ideas, we affirm that members of the community shall enjoy full freedom in their teaching, working, learning, and research. This includes freedom of religious belief, of speech, of press, of association and assembly, of political activity inside and outside the University, and the right to petition authorities of the public and university. Academic freedom also includes the right to invite speakers of their choice to the campus.

Protest is a necessary and acceptable means of expression within the School of Public Policy and broader university community. However, protest becomes unacceptable when it obstructs the basic exchange of ideas. Such obstruction is a form of censorship, no matter who initiates it or for what reasons. Protests or demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to peaceful assembly, orderly protest, freely exchange  ideas, or that interfere with the rights of others to make use of or enjoy the facilities or attend the functions of the University cannot be tolerated. The University must be a place where ideas are exchanged freely; free exchange presumes respectful discourse as well as passionate expression of ideas. While asserting their rights to protest, individuals cannot decide for the entire community which ideas will or will not receive free expression.

B. Promote a Culture of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Following on President Darryll Pines’ university-wide commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging, and the School of Public Policy’s commitment to nine antiracist actions, this document affirms our commitment to creating a campus environment in which all students, faculty, staff and administrators can thrive. Our community is committed to promoting the universal and equal dignity of all persons. All community members deserve a campus environment that includes assurance that bigotry against students, faculty, administrators and staff because of their race, ethnicity, religion, political beliefs or association, national origin, immigration status, gender identity or sexual orientation, or disability status will not be tolerated. We expect our community to take a stand against all forms of racism, sexism and bigotry and insist on mutual dignity, and we affirm the School’s commitment to speaking up against discrimination and injustice. 

This Statement of Expectations particularly reinforces the following anti-racist actions, to which we as a School have committed:

  • Action Item 1: Hold faculty accountable who compromise the safety and learning of students.
  • Action Item 4: Provide ongoing antiracism and inclusion training for faculty, staff and senior leadership.
  • Action Item 6: Create more inclusive classrooms and course content, especially prioritizing more antiracism content across courses. 
  • Action Item 9: Use SPP's platform to denounce anti-Black racism and commit to being a more antiracist school.

C. Act Ethically and with Integrity

Faculty, administration, and staff members are expected to engage in their essential duties with the highest standards of integrity, responsibility, excellence, and within the accepted practices and norms of their field(s) and profession(s). Faculty members are expected to avoid any conflicts of interest; to ensure compliance with the responsible and ethical conduct of research; and to create and sustain a classroom environment conducive for optimal learning.

Faculty members should be committed to nurturing the intellectual growth of students at all levels of their undergraduate and graduate careers. Fulfilling this commitment requires faculty members to make sure the material they present should be most conducive to student learning. The materials should challenge students and stimulate critical thinking. At times, the material may be controversial, but the controversy must be relevant to the subject matter. The topics and assignments should be appropriate for the level of the class, and the assigned material should be up to date and represent a diverse range of points of view.

We commit to ethical teaching when faculty members:

  • Treat students with respect even as they challenge the students intellectually. Students who hold views different from those of the faculty member should not be subject to ridicule or disapproval by the faculty member or other students simply for their opinions.
  • Foster and preserve a classroom climate that does not denigrate students. Discrimination against and harassment of students is unethical, and may constitute professional misconduct subject to discipline.
  • Conduct evaluations of student work based on criteria that are relevant to the curriculum and to the material the students are expected to master. The criteria on which they will be evaluated ought to be made clear to the students in advance.
  • Respond to communications from students and provide feedback on submitted work in a timely manner.
  • Respect student requests for reasonable accommodations and support, and respond promptly to such requests. Faculty members ought to foster academic honesty among students.
  • Respect the confidential nature of personal information that is communicated to them by individual students and ought not to disclose it to others, unless under a legal obligation to report.
  • Support students when they supervise honors or graduate thesis projects by devoting a proper level of attention and time to them.
  • Avoid any exploitation of students for personal advantage.

D. Be Fair and Respectful to Others

Respect for the dignity, rights, privileges, responsibilities, needs, and sensibilities of others is essential in preserving the spirit of community at the School of Public Policy and the University. Actions which exemplify and foster these community values should be recognized, encouraged, and celebrated. These include sharing information and consulting about decisions with representatives of those who will be affected by the decisions, and answering questions promptly so that everyone has the information they need to do their jobs. Abusive or harassing behavior, verbal or physical, which demeans, intimidates, threatens, or injures another because of professional status, personal characteristics, or beliefs and their expression may be subject to University disciplinary sanctions. Examples of personal characteristics or beliefs include but are not limited to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, political affiliation, and disability. Making tolerance of abusive and harassing behavior or submission to it a condition of employment, evaluation, compensation, or advancement is a serious issue and may lead to University disciplinary sanctions. 

E. Prevent and Address Sexual Misconduct

Students, faculty, administration, and staff developed a School of Public Policy College Action Plan for Addressing and Preventing Sexual Assault and Misconduct. This plan was approved by the University. The plan lives on our website for faculty, staff, and students. In the spirit of our commitment to a safe School and campus environment that is intolerant of sexual misconduct and supportive of survivors, faculty, administrators and staff should stay current on training and reporting expectations and model prevention strategies both in and outside of the classroom.

F. Manage Responsibly

The University entrusts community members who supervise or instruct employees or students with significant responsibility. Administrators, managers, supervisors, faculty members, and advisors are expected to: 

  • ensure access to and delivery of proper training, guidance and information on applicable workplace and educational rules, policies, and procedures;
  • act following best professional standards and in a manner that is responsive and accountable;
  • review performance conscientiously and impartially;
  • foster intellectual growth and professional development;
  • ensure compliance with applicable laws, policies, and workplace rules; and
  • promote a healthy, supportive, and productive atmosphere that encourages dialogue and is responsive to concerns

G. Promote Community Health and Well-Being

Community members have a shared responsibility to foster and ensure a safe, secure, and supportive environment for all students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors by speaking up and speaking out, reporting observed misconduct, and engaging in respectful dissent. We are committed to creating and maintaining an educational, working, and living environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, and supportive of the emotional and mental health and well-being of all members of our community. University policy prohibits discrimination on grounds protected under Federal and Maryland law and Board of Regents policies. University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. Retaliation against any individual who files a complaint or participates in an investigation under this Policy is strictly prohibited.