Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Summary Report on the Planning and Facilitation of the December 16, 2011 Workshop on Civility and Mutual Respect for Irvine Valley College (2nd and proposed final draft; 1/4/12)

[Draft by John Spevak of College Brain Trust]


Summary Report on the Planning and Facilitation of the December 16, 2011 Workshop
on Civility and Mutual Respect for Irvine Valley College

John Spevak/College Brain Trust
     In November 2011 Irvine Valley College contracted with the College Brain Trust to assign one of CBT’s consultants, John Spevak, to facilitate a December 16 workshop on civility and mutual respect. Dr. Spevak has 40 years of experience with community college education, having served as instructor of English and speech, dean, and vice president of instruction.
     In planning for the workshop, John talked with IVC president Dr. Glenn Roquemore. At John’s request, Dr. Roquemore designated three persons to work with John as co-planners and co-facilitators: Dennis Gordon, President of the Classified Senate; Jeffery Kaufmann, Vice President of the Academic Senate; and Keith (Shack) Shackleford, Dean of Kinesiology, Health, and Athletics.
     The four-person team talked during several telephone conferences to plan the workshop.  Through the President’s executive assistant, Sandy Jeffries, the team sent two emails to the members of the IVC Working Group on Civility. This working group, which had met once before, on October 17, 2011, consisted of six faculty members,  eight classified staff members, eight administrators, and two students (with two student alternates). In addition, the emails were sent to two persons from outside the college who were invited to the December 16 workshop, Dean Jay Heffron from Soka University of America and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky from the University of California Irvine School of Law.
     The first email was sent on December 1, reminding the working group members of the December 16 workshop and encouraging them to consider seven questions related to civility and mutual respect which would be discussed at the workshop:

·         What have been some of the issues and challenges at IVC related to civility in the recent past?
·         What are the core values related to civility that the IVC community shares?
·         What are examples of model behaviors related to these values?
·         What are the (minimal) behavioral expectations related to civility as a result of these core values?
·         Related to civility, what behaviors are considered unacceptable?
·         What are some proactive things IVC can do to foster civility?
·         What are some ways to deal with incivility when it occurs on campus?

     The second email was sent on December 6, which included the workshop’s agenda. John Spevak also worked with Sandy Jeffries on the logistics of the day; Sandy ensured the needed A/V equipment, tables and chairs, supplies, and refreshments would be provided.
     The group met on Friday, December 16, 2011—the last day of the semester—at the Irvine Water District Duck Club building and included the following participants:  
faculty members
Lisa Davis Allen,
Traci Fahimi,
Jeff Kaufmann, and
Priscilla Ross
classified staff members
Carol Danna, 
Dennis Gordon,
Angela Mahaney,
Karen Martin, and 
Anna Smith;  
David Bugay,
Bruce Hagan, 
Davit Khachatryan,
Diane Oaks,
Glenn Roquemore, and
Keith Shackleford
Aung (Thomas) Thein
Jay Heffron and 
Erwin Chemerinsky;
Sandy Jeffries, executive assistant to the president; and facilitator
John Spevak. (The other members of the working group were unable to attend.)
     Doors of the Duck Club opened at 7:30. The workshop convened around 8:15. The participants were divided into four groups according the color of the star on their name tags. Facilitator Spevak, working with his co-facilitators, had created gender-balanced groups with representatives of faculty, classified staff, and managers. The workshop followed this agenda, which had been previously emailed to participants and which was displayed using Powerpoint via computer projection:
  8 to 8:30: Welcome and Introductions
  8:30 to 9:15: Background Information
  9:15-10: Recent civility issues and challenges at IVC
  10 to 10:45:  Determining IVC core values regarding civility
  10:45 to 11:  Break, with coffee, etc.
  11 to 11:45: Examples of model civil behaviors at IVC
  11:45 to 12:30: Civility expectations (minimal) for all at IVC
  12:30 to 1:  Lunch
  1 to 1:45: Unacceptable (uncivil) behaviors at IVC
  1:45 to 2:15: Proactive ideas to encourage civility at IVC
  2:15 to 3: Dealing with incivility at IVC
  3 to End: Wrap-up, conclusions, and follow-up plans

     President Roquemore welcomed the participants, thanked them, and encouraged them to express their thoughts, opinions, and feelings throughout the day. Facilitator Spevak introduced guests Heffron and Chemerinsky and then asked each of the other participants to introduce themselves, creating an informal and relaxed atmosphere and encouraging participation from all throughout the day. He also introduced the other members of the facilitation team, whom he encouraged to interject comments throughout the day.
     The facilitator then noted the proposed outcomes of the workshop on the projection screen:
  •   Develop and nurture a culture of civility and mutual respect to make IVC a better place in which to work and live
  •   Create suggestions and recommendations to send forward to the Board Policy and Administrative Regulations Committee to formulate a District policy on civility and mutual respect
  •   Craft a document which presents the consensus opinion of the group regarding the seven key questions posed in the workshop
  •   Develop a process in which items identified in the workshop as needing action or follow-up are prioritized and acted upon

     Beginning with the 9:15 session, the participants worked according to the following process: Discussing within their small groups responses to the specific question posed, recording their responses on large Post-it sheets, and identifying (with a large asterisk) which responses they thought were most significant. One member of each group then reported out the responses to the large group.
     After all groups had reported, all participants were asked to place three dots (of three different colors) next to the items (on the other groups’ pages) which they thought were most significant (the red dot signifying greatest importance, the green secondary importance, the yellow tertiary). The facilitator then noted on each poster page which items had accumulated the most (and most significant) dots, which visually indicated which items the group as a whole considered important. Following this, Sandy Jeffries, working with the facilitator, typed each item from each poster page, grouping items into priorities based on each group’s asterisks and the number and color of dots attached.
     The participants worked effectively and efficiently, and all viewpoints were heard, especially that of the one student present (Aung Thomas Thien).  The student, who was insightful and articulate, was selected by his fellow small-group members to orally report on several of the questions. The large group as a whole was able to express a wide variety of thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions and was able to come to a general consensus on the important issues for each question.
     At the conclusion of the workshop President Roquemore thanked the participants and talked about the need to go forward in the months ahead to work with and implement the ideas and suggestions from the workshop. He asked the participants to continue to help develop and nurture a culture of civility and mutual respect at IVC. Among the options which college could pursue would be crafting an IVC statement on civility and mutual respect and developing an action plan to implement ideas suggested during the workshop..
     Before leaving, the participants were asked to anonymously write on an index card a brief informal evaluation of the day. A review of the cards (see attachment 2) showed that the participants appreciated the opportunity, felt the day was productive, and looked forward to further steps in developing a culture of civility. By 3:30 the workshop had concluded and participants were on their way home.
     The facilitator, John Spevak, working from Sandy Jeffries’ typed report, developed a document which presented the working group’s responses to each question within three priorities of importance:  notable, significant, and highly significant (See attachment 1).  This document will serve as a resource for the IVC community, with the workshop participants at the core, to move forward and pursue options such as writing a college statement on civility, sending recommendations to the District, and creating college action plans related to developing and nurturing a culture of civility and mutual respect.
In addition, the facilitator created an initial draft of a possible IVC statement on civility (attachment 3) and a draft list of possible items which could be included within an IVC action plan on civility (attachment 4).


Responses to Questions Posed during the Irvine Valley College
Workshop on Civility and Mutual Respect
Friday, Dec. 16, 2011

     Responses are listed below to the seven questions posed and discussed during the workshop, with group responses and input arranged in priority order. Priority one items are those marked with clusters of dots, including several red dots, reflecting high significance. Priority two items are those marked with several dots or with a “group asterisk” indicating significance. Priority three items are those noted but not marked with an asterisk or dot. Within each priority group, items are not necessarily in any (further) priority order.

1.    What are recent issues and challenges related to civility (and mutual respect) at IVC

A.    Priority 1
1)    Insufficient transparency in college processes
2)    Fears of retaliation
3)    Not moving on from an earlier culture when everyone was united against one person (the chancellor)
a.    Still holding on to the past
b.    Still engaging in a “land rush” when a new administration came it, in order to gain resources previously denied

B.    Priority 2
1)    A need to improve customer service and communication with students
2)    A need for more student meeting and study space (there is no room in the library and when cafeteria is closed, students have to leave)
3)    A lack of professionalism, with too many personal attacks
4)    Barriers to the internal communication process, with too many people going outside the process to deal with problems.
5)    Anonymous commentary through “the blog”
6)    A lack of consistency.
7)    A need to better handle the issue when a student was found carrying a weapon
8)    A need for faculty need to better monitor and control student-to-student incivility
9)    Insufficient explanation when finals week schedule was modified

C.   Priority 3
1)    A need for more transparency due to a perceived lack of communication (e.g. building remodeling, MRC)
2)    Inadequate telephone service and communications, especially with students and persons from the community calling in
3)    A need for more student-friendly space
4)    A need for more outdoor areas with access to wi-fi, PAC, outdoor benches, and Starbucks-like atmosphere
5)    A need for more commuter-friendly spaces
6)    Cyber “bullying, including uncivil email responses and inappropriate “reply all” response
7)    A need to update software: installation and better use of common communication tools (Outlook, SharePoint)
8)    The issue of “old guard faculty” indoctrinating newcomers to cynicism
9)    The competition between colleges in the District becoming adversarial
10)  The District’s use of the Brain Trust on projects
11)  A need to provide workshops to train faculty in dealing with sensitive student issues (including medical issues)
12)  A series of small issues accumulating and creating more discontent

2.    What are core values related to civility shared by the IVC community?
A.    Priority 1
1)    Communication, including the communication of significant information 
2)    Mutual respect
3)    Transparency 
4)    A climate of caring and kindness, recognizing that each person has intrinsic worth 
5)    A commitment to excellence
6)    A sense of collective stewardship

B.    Priority 2
1)    Appreciation
2)    Focusing on students; being driven by mission
3)    Constructive discourse
4)    Interdependence
5)    Human equality, a recognition of each person’s dignity, a respect for all persons
6)    Empathy
7)    Keeping oral and written discourse professional, not personal
8)    Counteracting a false sense of entitlement
9)    Trust between all groups: student/teacher, faculty/administration, staff/student, administration/staff, etc.
10)  Pride in the IVC community
11)  Seeking knowledge, information, and truth
12)  Discouraging arrogance

C.   Priority 3
1)    Community and friends
2)    Achieving and excelling
3)    Sharing/commingling
4)    Reducing fear
5)    Reducing suspicion
6)    Reducing an inferiority complex
7)    Moving away from silos
8)    Professionalism and respect
9)    A supportive atmosphere
10)  Integrity
11)  Inclusivity of all populations, backgrounds, ages, etc.
12)  Academic freedom
13)  Understanding the preponderance of good people, creating a foundation of community
14)  Unity
15)  Empathy
16)  Assertiveness and friendliness
17)  An orientation to solutions
18)  Attentiveness
19)  Trust and accountability

3.    Give some examples of model behaviors (actual or hypothetical) at IVC related to civility.

A.    Priority 1
1)    Praising, lauding, and sincerely appreciating a person, publicly and privately, orally and in writing 
2)    A willingness to seek input before making a decision
3)    Seeking solutions, while diffusing tense situations
4)    Being inclusive, inviting all interested persons to participate
5)    Humanizing: recognizing the importance of humor, forgiveness, and emotions

B.    Priority 2
1)    Acknowledging that “we’re all in this together”
2)    Being prepared/accountable
3)    Not giving “no” as an automatic answer
4)    Engaging in friendly discourse
5)    Treating others as equals in interactions and communications
6)    Asserting oneself in the face of incivility
7)    Creating engagement within informal communication groups; providing clarification
8)    "Responding to speech you don’t like with more speech” (from Erwin Chemerinsky)
9)    Creating safe harbors
10)  Socializing on a personal level
11) Establishing an open-door policy, being inviting and accessible
12)  Active listening
13)  Providing access to the “thought process”
14)  Showing a genuine interest in others

C.   Priority 3 
1)    Listening
2)    Apologizing earnestly
3)    Helping
4)    Humor
5)    Speaking honestly
6)    No idle complaints
7)    Creating win/win solutions
8)    Banning electronic devices
9)    Cooperation between departments in support of students 
10)  Creating a  feeling of importance in others
11) Pride
12) Acknowledging: positives and negatives
13) Honesty

4.    As a result of the core values, what are (minimal) behavioral expectations at IVC related to civility and mutual respect?

A.    Priority 1
1)    Treating others as you would like to be treated, with respect
2)    Making the effort to be prepared for and engaged in what you agreed to
3)    Taking responsibility for one’s own actions 
4)    Loyalty to the campus community 

B.    Priority 2
1)    A friendly, caring environment, with frequent smiles
2)    Demonstrating respect via conduct and professional language (oral and written)
3)    Modeling conduct, especially during teachable moments, with students and colleagues
4)    Confronting incivility
5)    Seeking truth, checking facts; correcting false assumptions, being a firewall to the spread of false rumors, keeping an open to change
6)    Communicating expectations
7)    Demonstrating respect for all opinions
8)    Helping one another
9)    Transparency (open access to information)
10)  Doing the job you were hired to do
11)  Not assuming or jumping to conclusions
12)  Being a team player; once a decision is made, honor the decision and process
13)  Not engaging in personal attacks
14)  Being a mediator

C.   Priority 3
1)    Continuing efforts to self improve, college events to assist
2)    Honesty
3)    Being present and participating
4)    Modeling proper behavior at meetings
5)    Willingness to communicate
6)    Starting with trust, then verifying
7)    Minimal cooperation    

5.    Related to civility and mutual respect, what are unacceptable behaviors at IVC?

A.    Priority 1
1)    Yelling, shouting or obnoxious behavior; threats, profane or vulgar language
2)    Retaliation or retribution   
3)    Passive-aggressive behaviors, including failure to respond and delaying tactics 
4)    Bullying, either in person or from afar

B.   Priority 2
1)    Inciting language, whether oral or written, including threats; undermining; malicious intent; demeaning (name calling);  embarrassing, humiliating, or degrading language; personal attacks; swearing; yelling
2)    Distorting truth, lying, spreading rumors, gossiping
3)    Sexism, racism, elitism
4)    Lack of respect for the educational process
5)    Defacing or trashing the campus
6)    Name calling
7)    Getting personal
8)    Dishonesty    
9)    Bypassing the chain of communication and instead filing frivolous or knee- jerk complaints
10) Interrupting others; being inattentive
11)  Working the system
12)  Suppressing opinions or ideas
13)  Threats of violence
14)  Intimidation
15)  Coercion
16)  Contributing to the rumor mill

C.   Priority 3 
1)    Slander or gossip
2)    Dishonesty/plagiarism
3)     “Nastygrams” or cyber bullying
4)    Lack of common courtesy
5)    Perpetuating drama; using toxicity as entertainment
6)    Undermining
7)    Shunning, not communicating, withholding information
8)    Preferential treatment
9)    Harassment

6.    What are some pro-active things IVC can do to encourage and foster civility?

A.    Priority 1
1)    Creating a campus statement of norms and expectations, related to mission and vision, and including it in handbooks, in the college catalog, and within a mentor program 
2)    Creating for IVC a new era of civility: acknowledging the past, describing who we are now, identifying where we want to go
3)    Sponsoring more projects that unite the IVC community (such as Operation Christmas Child); scheduling more informal social “fun” events for the entire campus  

B.    Priority  2
1)    Appreciation
2)    Improved communication, including a better phone system, greeters, ambassadors, a welcome booth, integrated signage, and an intuitive website
3)    Positive reinforcement and institutional recognition
4)    Showing respect for the work of all persons
5)    Mentoring
6)    Spreading positive messages with flags and banners
7)    Including the culture of civility in HR orientations, job descriptions, and training sessions
8)    Paying it forward
9)    Reestablishing core values
10)  Creating semi-formal communication groups
11)  Intervening when encountering incivility

C.   Priority 3
1)    Creating a mediation process, identifying an ombudsmen
2)    Have more meetings run by impartial facilitators and with better organization
3)    Creating the award of Teammate of the Year
4)    Using more humor and laughter

7.    What are some ways to deal with incivility when it occurs at IVC

A.    Priority 1
1)    Identifying root causes of incivility 
2)    Challenging inappropriate behavior; requesting appropriate responses and expectations
3)    Creating campus climate mediators, volunteers who facilitate “safe harbor discussions” before issues reach the grievance stage
4)    Creating a college mediator or ombudsman 

B.    Priority 2
1)    Not validating inappropriate behavior, whether face-to-face or electronic, whether oral or written
2)    Training the recidivists
3)    Modeling positive behavior
4)    Confronting, engaging, keeping the dialogue going
5)    Continuing and expanding safe harbor
6)    Clarifying expectations
7)    Progressive discipline
8)    Defining the lines a person does not cross
9)    Intervening
10)  Expanding campus greeters (volunteers who wear armbands or badges)
11)  More interpersonal communication, within semi-formal communication groups

C.   Priority 3
1)    Developing rules for engagement
2)    Referring to (newly developed) campus statement
3)    Using formal processes
4)    Finding humor and grace
5)    Practicing respectful assertiveness
6)    Not confusing incivility with constructive criticism


Informal Evaluation of December 16 Workshop
(from unsigned index cards completed by participants at workshop’s end)

Responses to “What’s one thing you liked about the workshop?”
·         Great opportunity to discuss issues at IVC and how to develop a process for a campus statement of culture
·         Liked the skill of the facilitator; very good pace; attention to products/outcomes; great way to lead a tough discussion
·         The comfort level to speak openly
·         I liked having the third party facilitator and the third party people in our groups (impartial).
·         I appreciate how well organized today’s workshop was. I truly felt that the group made a lot of progress in dealing with the issue of incivility on the IVC campus.
·         Very positive session
·         Very well organized; kept the staff motivated; ability to express “real” concerns; open harbor
·         Got a good feel for a real commitment for change
·         Informality; nickname-adjective; humor
·         A commitment to continue this process, and the collective sense of value to this topic
·         Stayed on schedule
·         A great group of people working together
·         Organization of work; well developed theme
·         Had quality time with my peers
Responses to “What suggestion do you have that would have made this workshop better?”
·         No suggestions; the program was well organized and planned
·         A bit more time spent on case studies
·         Time to sketch out an actionable plan to move forward (measurable)
·         Expand this training to the campus as a whole: faculty, staff, and students
·         I’d like to have seen more people from the campus involved—faculty and students—although the smaller scale did facilitate excellent discussion
·         Continue with small groups of meetings like this one; provide a report to the whole college about our retreat; and then allow the president and VPs in a school/department meeting during the semester to collect/listen to information/concerns from the retreat
·         Suggest even better student participation; more students
·         Use “hearts” instead of dots; more coffee
·         More students; more guests from outside college—diversity of experiences and opinions
·         Continued workshops, discussions
·         Role playing; acting out possible scenarios
·         I would add a few more folks into the mix from the college.
Responses to “Please add any other comments”
·         Enjoyed the day; much accomplished
·         I look forward to the campus’s next step
·         A job well done by all
·         Much gratitude to John! Thank you for a great day!
·         Looking forward to a follow-up meeting
·         Include all participants for entire process rather than having an “in” group and others
·         Thank you
·         Enjoyed seeing so much common ground among divergent individuals; appreciated keeping to schedule
·         More students would have added to discussion; the one student who we had was excellent—we should have worked harder to ensure their participation
·         Would have liked time to draft a statement together; thank you for helping IVC to become greater
·         Thanks for helping the college; all forward steps we take will help the college move forward.


     This is a concise statement drafted by workshop facilitator John Spevak, which incorporates those ideas and suggestions which the participants in the December 16, 2011 IVC Workshop on Civility and Mutual Respect seemed to consider most significant. This draft can be considered a first step in Irvine Valley College’s possible development of a statement on civility and mutual respect.      
Irvine Valley College: Statement on Civility and Mutual Respect

     Irvine Valley College supports a culture which encourages and sustains civility and mutual respect. Within its commitment to excellence and academic freedom, the college values the dignity of each person, frequent and accurate communication, transparent decision making, and the importance of treating all members of the college community with honesty and respect. In its ongoing pursuit of knowledge and truth, the college aspires to sustain an environment that honors empathy, interdependence, professionalism, constructive discourse, and trust balanced with accountability.
     IVC expects all members of the college community to treat others as they wish to be treated, to help others succeed, to take responsibility for their own actions, and to fulfill the duties of their jobs. All members of the college community are also expected to seek the truth, check the facts, correct false assumptions, and prevent the spread of false rumors. They are also expected to value their own worth as persons and to confront incivility, whether directed at themselves or others, with respectful but firm assertiveness.
     IVC considers it unacceptable for members of the college community to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or bully others or to engage in retaliation or retribution. It also considers as unacceptable slander and intentional distortions of the truth, whether oral or written. While attacking ideas is encouraged, attacking people—either in person or electronically—is unacceptable. The college also recognizes that failing to fulfill one’s professional responsibilities often contributes to an uncivil environment.
     When encountering incivility, members of the IVC community are encouraged to confront it respectfully but directly and to intervene appropriately in situations where others are inflicted with uncivil behavior. Supervisors should call attention to uncivil behaviors of persons they supervise, and when necessary, note such behaviors within with the processes of evaluation or progressive discipline.
     IVC is committed to sustaining a culture of civility and mutual respect by expressing its commitment to civility in a variety of college publications, including employee handbooks; by communicating the importance of civility in orientations to new employees; by sponsoring projects and activities that bring people together in a spirit of hospitality, service, appreciation, and camaraderie; by identifying root causes of incivility; and by using informal processes of mediation designed to resolve interpersonal conflicts before they become significant.
     This is a draft, written by facilitator John Spevak, of possible elements within an IVC Action Plan on Civility and Mutual Respect (collected from ideas generated within the December 16, 2011 IVC Workshop on Civility and Mutual Respect):
·         Identify a group of persons representing the IVC community, using as its core the Working Group on Civility, to implement the ideas generated at the December 16 workshop in order to develop and nurture an IVC culture of civility and mutual respect
·         Create a civility statement, obtain approvals from key entities (e.g., academic senate, classified senate), and possibly include it in the IVC catalogue
·         Send recommendations related to civility and mutual respect to the District for its related new or revised policies and procedures
·         Create an informal mediation process
·         Schedule informal social and service gatherings and activities throughout the year
·         Send a report of the workshop to the accreditation officer for possible inclusion in an accreditation follow-up report
·         Create sections in IVC written materials based on the proposed catalog statement, including college orientation documents and handbooks for faculty, classified, and managers
·         Gather the action plan group at the end of 2012 to determine whether the culture of civility has indeed been developed and incidents of incivility have decreased


Anonymous said...

As usual, those of us not initially "in the loop" wind up later "in the noose" or "looped" or if dyslexic, "in the pool," as in "Adjunct Faculty Pool," singing with Aretha: R-E-S-P-E-C-T / find out what it means to me...."

Thanks for keeping us informed with a demurkified blog post and allowing us a forum for "civil" comments!

B. von Traven said...

You are quite welcome.

Anonymous said...

"The College has adopted a decision-making philosophy that includes the establishment of a safe-harbor, dialogue, and consensus. It is the responsibility of institutional leaders to establish a safe-harbor wherein members of the College community can engage in honest and open dialogue. A safe-harbor provides a venue for the expression of views and opinions without fear of retaliation or retribution." Sound familiar? It is from the decision making manual. Safe harbor, my a$$.

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