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UC Merced Rolls Out New Principles of Community

August 26, 2014

In 2003, when UC Merced was still under construction and before its first undergraduate students arrived, a group of founding administrators, faculty and staff members and graduate students came together to create the campus’s first Principles of Community.

“It was an affirming experience,” said John White, UC Merced’s assistant vice chancellor for Capital Finance. “It was deeply important for us to create our own principles that reflected our region and the values we wanted to establish at our campus. It was positive and exciting, and it reinforced that we were in the right place at the right time.”

A decade later, the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion (CCCI) took on the task of updating the Principles of Community and last March, campus leadership adopted a new set of principles.

The Principles of Community are UC Merced’s unique set of ethical standards and values. Their purpose is to unite campus community members while encouraging an inclusive and open learning, working and living environment that nurtures personal and professional growth.

Collective effort

CCCI advisory committee Chair Fuji Collins said developing and approving the new principles took about a year to complete and was a collective effort across the campus.

“Instead of just updating the old principles, the committee looked at this as a blank slate,” Collins said. “We started by reviewing other campuses’ principles across the UC system and the country.”

After the committee members created a draft, they shared it with representatives of each major group that comprises the campus community — including students, faculty, staff and administrators — for their input.

“We have a passionate campus community who are really engaged,” Collins said. “We received a lot of constructive feedback, and we tweaked the principles based on those suggestions.”

New video, printed materials underway

Now, as UC Merced begins its 10th academic year of research, teaching and public service, the new principles are being rolled out to the campus community in a number of ways.

University Communications created a video version of the principles that features campus community members reciting the principles in locations across the campus. The video was shown to new students earlier this week during the ASCEND conference, and it will be incorporated into Human Resources monthly new employee orientation meetings.

The advisory committee, in partnership with the Office of the Chancellor, is also developing new Principles of Community posters, bookmarks, table tents and other printed materials that can be shared by individuals and displayed campuswide. The materials will be available in the coming weeks.

Collins said the council appreciated all the responses campus community members provided.

“We couldn’t have done it without the UC Merced community’s support,” Collins said. “It was a long journey but we wanted to do it right and have all voices heard.”

Meanwhile, the CCCI committee will be gearing up to continue its ongoing work to promote and encourage inclusion, excellence and community. In June, the committee and Chancellor Leland attended a half-day retreat to begin developing a campus action plan based on results of the Campus Climate Survey administered across the UC in 2012 and 2013.

The UC Merced Principles of Community video can be viewed on YouTube. The principles are posted on the campus website.