A small core team, led by Professor Margaret Otlowski, Chair of the Your Voice Culture and Communications Reference Group, guided the Statement of Values development process. In December 2010 a cross section of University staff were invited to a Values Scoping workshop. These 40 participants helped us to shape both the focus of our inquiry into values and the process. In April 2011, we promoted the interactive process called "Shape Our Future" to everyone at UTAS. Staff were able to participate in a variety of ways. Some 150 people chose to give us their feedback, answering an online questionnaire about values and sharing their stories. Some people participated in a one-on-one interview process. Almost 200 attended one of the six workshops that were put on around Tasmania and in Sydney during May 2011. Many people met staff from other parts of the university they’d never met before. On 31 May, 20 people from across the University met to distil the information gathered at the workshops. The small core team then further distilled into the statement you are reading now.
There has been extensive work done on the fundamental values that underpin academic integrity. We felt it was important to list them here, but to go further. We wanted to create a statement that would both mirror the uniqueness of UTAS as well as help us to strongly act on our values. All of the statements you see here are built from the contributions of UTAS staff. Their personal stories told us both what they most value in our community and what they believe help us to be at our best. The definitions of the statements were also drawn from staff input.
In 2010, the University committed to a stakeholder conversation with the purpose of creating a statement of collective values. These values were intended to inform the nature of life and work at the University. Feedback from the “Your Voice” survey indicated that the way we created the values statement had the possibility of demonstrating exactly what it is intended to produce – collective values in action. A small team came together to create a participatory process and deliver a Values Statement by the beginning of June 2011.
The Statement of Values is designed to complement our current Mission and Vision statements. These statements speak about what we do. They are very clear about the excellence we need to display, as well as how we perceive our role and character. Here they are:
The University of Tasmania is committed to continuing its long tradition of excellence in the creation, preservation, communication and application of knowledge, and to scholarship that is global in scope, distinctive in its specialisations and that reflects our Tasmanian character. The University will provide leadership within its community, thereby contributing to the cultural, economic and social development of Tasmania.
The University of Tasmania will be ranked among the top echelon of research-led universities in Australia. The University will be a world leader in its specialist, thematic areas and will be recognised for its contribution to state, national and international development. UTAS will be characterised by its high-quality academic community, its unique island setting and its distinctive student experience. UTAS graduates will be prepared for life and careers in the globalised society of the twenty-first century.Our Statement of Values speaks about the kind of community we want to be in order to deliver on these statements. It speaks about who we are together, the actions that will take us to success.
We are all accountable for working in ways that uphold and strengthen our values. Over the coming months, we will be looking at ways the values can be incorporated into our recruitment, performance management, decision making and policy development frameworks. We will also be developing a list of actions or behaviours that reflect our Values and further clarify what we can expect from each other.
We felt it was important that everyone could read the background on the fundamental values for academic integrity. It is also helpful to be reminded of the enduring heritage of university life and academic freedom. Footnotes make it easy for everyone to be connected to the same source material.
You may notice that our statements have an action focus. They are purposefully written in the present affirmative, so they can act as a prompt for deeper conversation and inquiry. We can look at all the elements of a statement such as collaborating in ways that help us be the best we can be, such as:
- What are the ways we are collaborating now? How well is that working?
- In what ways can we improve our collaborating? Where can we look for innovative partners?
- What is the best we can be? What’s better than that? How do we get there?
Or we can look at the whole statement at once:
- Is what we are about to do collaborating in ways that help us be the best we can be?
- How can this project help us focus on collaborating in ways that help us be the best we can be?
- Where are we already collaborating in ways that help us be the best we can be? What can we learn from that?
We are not yet at 100% on any of these statements – and they are intended to be challenging – but focusing on them will take us closer to being the University we truly want to be. The Values Statement is a conversation starter, and it is our community conversation and collective action that will make the difference to our future.