Choose to be civil on campus
UConn’s Metanoia campaign emphasizes appropriate conduct
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 22:08
Focusing on issues like self-respect and respect for others, the executive program director in the Human Resources department, Pamela Heath-Johnston, led lunchtime workshops for faculty at the Rowe Center yesterday.
As part of the UConn Metanoia campaign for 2012, the “Choosing to be Civil” lunchtime workshop series enforced the idea of civility on campus when interacting with others. The title of the workshop was chosen by Heath-Johnston, as a tribute to a book by the same title written by Dr. P.M. Forni. Forni’s works are the center focus of Civility Metanoia 2012, recommended to every faculty member and students alike.
“Reading Forni’s books made me more conscious of my behavior with other people,” said Laura Smith, university librarian at the Dodd Center.
Heath-Johnston began the session, which streamed live to UConn’s website, by introducing Forni, a professor at Johns Hopkins University who has dedicated most of his life to explaining and writing about civility. Heath-Johnston then discussed resources for help in dealing with inappropriate conduct.
She emphasized the importance of creating a work environment that is welcoming, supportive and respectful. The factors that contribute to this, she says, are physical surroundings, personalities, professional development, knowledge of policies, modeling professional behaviors, and recognizing and addressing inappropriate behaviors. By using small examples of courteous and rude behaviors, like greeting everyone in the workplace or answering phone calls while in the middle of a conversation, Heath-Johnston pointed out core values that all employees should embody when interacting with one another.
“Putting others before yourself and respecting others is more important,” she said.
Heath-Johnston outlined ways to improve workplace environments, including kind approaches, being aware of the underlying needs of others, accepting and recognizing individual differences, and rewarding civil behavior. She explained how there are different forms of conversations and how everyone notices body language. She also demonstrated ways employees could correct uncivil behavior.
“My actions affect people and if I respond in a negative way, I’ve made their day worse. I have to take responsibility for my own actions,” said Smith. “I came to this workshop because I’m always interested in how people behave with each other and how I behave with others. I think it’s crucial in our society to be civil.”
Many other events and workshops are open to students and faculty in the next couple of weeks, Civility Metanoia 2012 includes a panel discussion that will be led by President Susan Herbst and a lecture by Forni later in the semester.