March 2020: Guide to Best Practices for Departmental Climate

Dear Faculty, Administrators, and Staff,

Over the next few months, Faculty Affairs will share sections of the Departmental Climate Handbook to highlight the importance of our goal of Inclusive Excellence, to improve the fabric of our academic and professional lives, and to enhance collegiality and intellectual collaboration among faculty, administrators, and staff.

In our aim to be transparent, we are setting the stage for a Diversity and Inclusion initiative that will align SPS with the activities already in place at the University. We will need the support of all of our colleagues across the School to help this initiative be a sustainable and successful effort.  

As provided by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement and the Climate Change Workgroup, sections of this guide will provide the following:

  • an overview of roles and responsibilities for improving departmental climate 
  • an outline of principles that form the foundation for this work 
  • a literature review and summary of research findings 
  • a framework of best practices for a positive departmental climate 
  • a template for strategic planning 
  • a resource library containing helpful links, research articles, and books 

As shared by Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida’s research, organizational learning needs to be at the core of an agenda that integrates diversity and inclusion into the organizational structure and culture of the college or University (Fisher-Yoshida, B., Geller, K.D., and Schapiro, S.A., 2009). Thus, the climate of our learning institution can serve as a conduit for continued learning to improve our daily lives and institutional outcomes.

We welcome your feedback, and please be aware that we will reach out to perform an assessment or survey as strongly recommended by the Provost’s office.

As a first step, below you can find a checklist of action steps towards fostering an inclusive work environment, as listed in the Departmental Climate Handbook:

Access the full handbook here:

Please feel free to share your feedback and comments to Jennifer Goez, Senior Director, Faculty Recruitment and Communications Strategy,