Civility in Everyday Life
UW System Civility in Everyday Life Workshop
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the UW System co-sponsored the “Civility in Everyday Life Workshop” on February 24-25, 2011.
The workshop provided a forum for the shared understanding of issues relating to campus climate, inclusive excellence and the environment for advancing and supporting a diverse campus community.
The workshop was based on the premise that we demonstrate civility when we show respect for others, especially those with beliefs, lifestyles and political beliefs that are different from our own.
The workshop’s nationally-recognized speakers helped campus communities understand the importance of efforts to build a sense of shared values and understanding relating to interpersonal communication.
Indeed, academic freedom and free speech require open, safe, civil and collegial campus environments grounded in reasoned inquiry, intellectual honesty, scholarly competence and the pursuit of new knowledge.
By framing the workshop in the context of “Civility in Everyday Life,” it pointed out a simple truth; incivility threatens academic freedom while civility enhances, nurtures and supports it. Despite the clarity of that relationship, we are left with the challenge that what constitutes civility (or incivility, for that matter) is neither well understood nor readily apparent because of the lack of shared opportunity to reach agreement on what constitutes civil behavior.
Each UW System institution was invited to send campus-based civility leadership teams to the workshop, to provide an educational setting conducive to the exploration of the standards of civil conduct. The simple objective of “Civility in Everyday Life” was to help campuses develop and support robust and thriving academic communities of students, faculty and staff all working to advance academic freedom, free speech and a commitment to truth and learning. The workshop sought to provide tools for teams to engage campuses in critical civility conversations and best practices that will serve as catalysts for campus climate change.