University defining who we are, what we value
Associate Professor Piers Turner, an expert on ethics, shares how and why Ohio State embarked on this important project.
Our shared values
Excellence and Impact: Demonstrating leadership in pursuit of our vision and mission
Diversity and Innovation: Welcoming differences and making connections among people and ideas
Inclusion and Equity: Upholding equal rights and advancing institutional fairness
Care and Compassion: Attending to the well-being of individuals and communities
Integrity and Respect: Acting responsibly and being accountable
Three years ago, our community began creating a set of shared values to guide us as an institution and as individual Buckeyes. The aim was to reinforce our ethical culture and agree on common values to advance the university’s core missions of teaching, learning, research and service.
To learn more about the endeavor and the role alumni can play, we talked with Associate Professor of Philosophy Piers Turner, director of Ohio State’s Center for Ethics and Human Values.
Q What is the Shared Values Initiative, and how has it evolved?A
The initiative started as a process of reflection on who we are and what values define our university community. Its aim is to provide a platform for decision-making, collaboration and communication at all levels of the university, one that supports us in becoming the best version of ourselves. A widely distributed ethics survey shed light on what Buckeyes see as most important to the work we do together. We also hosted discussions with students, staff, faculty, deans, the president, the provost and the Board of Trustees. President Kristina M. Johnson introduced the shared values to the university community in February.
Q What did the community think was most important to see in the values?A
Excellence, diversity, inclusiveness, empathy, integrity — those received a lot of support. As a leading public university, we hold ourselves to high standards in education, research, public service and community engagement. Just as important is wanting to be respectful and supportive of each other in that work.
Q How do you hope Buckeyes use these shared values?A
The values all have individual and institutional components. They invite us to reflect on our own strengths and weaknesses and then to consider how the institution as a whole is doing in its processes that shape our common work. The aim is not to tell people how to think or how to apply these values — we need to work that out as a community.
Q What role can alumni play?A
Alumni are an important part of the university. We hope they see what they love about the university reflected in the shared values. One way they can get involved is by taking part in the conversation by attending events. We also hope they will ask faculty and other leaders about the shared values. And our team welcomes the opportunity to speak with alumni groups.
Q How does the team you’re involved with bring visibility to the values?A
First, we engage leadership in their strategic planning and how they’re communicating their goals, leading by example and supporting students, staff and faculty. The values also need to resonate in the university community to be useful in affirming what we expect of each other and of our leaders. That’s why we started a fellows program for staff and faculty — to work with people interested in making a difference in their own areas of the university. Sometimes we engage everyone at once through workshops with whole offices or units. All of that is important, at every level.