Statement on Professional Behavior of Employees

University Collegiality Policy

Section II. Item 22.


1.11.  Northern Illinois has a tradition of collegiality and shared governance and strives to maintain these standards as a mainstay of its institutional culture. The Preamble to the Northern Illinois Constitution declares "Respect for the intrinsic dignity of each member of the University community, both by the University itself and by each member of that community, is the basic cornerstone governing all community activities." This university is a community whose varied functions, responsibilities, and contributions are supportive of the instructional, research, and service mission of the institution. Collegial interactions as referenced throughout this policy are those interactions that occur among and between colleagues, subordinates, supervisors, administrators. Collegial interactions are essential to support that mission in an effective, efficient, and ethical manner.

1.12.  Collegiality represents an expectation of a professional relationship among colleagues with a commitment to sustaining a positive and productive environment as critical for the progress and success of the university community. It consists of collaboration and a shared decision-making process that incorporates mutual respect for similarities and for differences - in background, expertise, judgments, and points of views, in addition to mutual trust. Central to collegiality is the expectation that members of the university community will be individually accountable to conduct themselves in a manner that contributes to the university's academic mission and high reputation. Collegiality among associates involves a similar professional expectation concerning constructive cooperation, civility in discourse, and engagement in academic and administrative tasks within the respective units and in relation to the institutional life of the university as a whole. Collegiality is not congeniality nor is it conformity or excessive deference to the judgments of colleagues, supervisors and administrators; these are flatly oppositional to the free and open development of ideas. Evidence of collegiality is demonstrated by the protection of academic freedom, the capacity of colleagues to carry out their professional functions without obstruction, and the ability of a community of scholars to thrive in a vigorous and collaborative intellectual climate.

1.13.  Allegations or complaints of a documented pattern of frequent and pervasive activity that clearly interferes with the professional working environment, or a severe uncollegial act, if found to be supported, will constitute a violation of this policy. Such allegations will be examined in a reasonable, objective, and expedient manner, and in accordance with applicable federal and state employment laws and university due process procedures. This policy is intended to be consistent with the Preamble to Article 11 of the Northern Illinois Bylaws, which states: "Therefore, it is crucial for the University to ensure the right of all faculty and staff (supportive professional and operating staff) to perform their individual and collaborative roles in an environment that is free from incivility, misuse of authority, intimidation, retaliation, and infringement upon personal and academic freedoms."


1.21.  The consequences of uncollegial activity may be the creation of an unprofessional and/or hostile environment that alters the conditions of the employment/academic environment. Unlike discrimination or harassment, uncollegial activity may not be directed at a specific identified target to have a negative impact on the employment/academic environment.

1.22.  Any administrator, faculty, staff member, who experiences and/or witnesses possible uncollegial conduct has the right to report this activity and all supporting evidence to the applicable university administrator.

1.23.  The University encourages the maintenance of a positive employee-relations environment that includes effective communication and feedback and attempts to informally resolve complaints. The University strongly encourages attempts to resolve issues at the unit, departmental or college level with those alleged to have committed the action or conduct. A request for assistance with different options for resolution may be made to the office of the appropriate dean, divisional vice president or Human Resource Services.

1.24.  In the absence of a resolution, the allegation or complaint may be submitted for formal examination according to the university's Grievance Procedures for Faculty and Staff, Bylaws, Article 11.

Rationale for a University Collegiality Policy

Maintenance of a Collaborative and Cooperative Community:
"Few, if any, responsible faculty members would deny that collegiality, in the sense of collaboration and constructive cooperation, identifies important aspects of a faculty member's overall performance. A faculty member may legitimately be called upon to participate in the development of curricula and standards for the evaluation of teaching, as well as in peer review of the teaching of colleagues. Much research, depending on the nature of the particular discipline, is by its nature collaborative and requires teamwork as well as the ability to engage in independent investigation. And committee service of a more general description, relating to the life of the institution as a whole, is a logical outgrowth of the Associations' view that a faculty member is an "office" of the college or university in which he or she fulfills professional duties." AAUP, "On Collegiality as a Criterion for Faculty Evaluation."

"As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, professors show due respect for the opinions of others. Professors acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution." AAUP Statement of Professional Ethics 1987.


Provision of a Positive Work Environment:
A collegial department figures heavily in faculty satisfaction ahead of the institution's work and family policies, ahead of clear tenure policies, and even ahead of compensation, according to national survey data collected between 2005-2007 for the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), a research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education. November 4, 2008.

Protection of Academic Freedom:
"Universities remain perhaps the only sanctuary for the relatively unbridled and unfettered search for truth and for profoundly new, but important ideas. Without a climate of free inquiry where faculty members can challenge existing orthodoxies and dogma and can dare others to rebut their ideas, creativity and discovery will suffer... If academic freedom is compromise, it won't be long before the engine of innovation slows and our great centers of academic excellence lose their preeminence." Jonathan Cole, John Mitchell Mason Professor and Provost 1989-2003. Columbia University.

 "Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry." AAUP Statement of Professional Ethics 1987.

"Holding faculty accountable to professional norms exemplifies academic freedom because it highlights the narrow scope of that freedom, which does not include the right of faculty 'to research and publish in any manner they personally see fit.'" Stanely Fish, "An Authoritative Word on Academic Freedom." The New York Times. November 23, 2008.

University Collegiality Policy Resource Bibliography

(** indicates direct use of text or concept)

**American Association of University Professors. 1999. "On Collegiality as a Criterion for Faculty Evaluation." Policy Documents and Reports. AAUP: Washington, D.C. Retrieved 2008-Oct-28.

Auburn University. 2008. "Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures: 9. Tenure Criteria and Considerations: Collegiality." Retrieved 2008-Nov-13.

**The California State University. 1988. "CSU Statement on Collegiality." Retrieved 2008-Oct-28.

Humbolt University. 2006. "Reaffirmation of the Statement on Collegiality Adopted by the Academic Senate CSU and the CSU Board of Trustees in 1985." Retrieved 2008-Oct-28.

**Hatfield, Robert D. 2006. "Collegiality in higher education: Toward an understanding of the factors involved in collegiality." Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications, and Conflicts: January. Retrieved 2008-Oct-28.

Lorenzen, Michael. 2006. "Collegiality and the academic library." E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship 7, no. 2 (Summer 2006). Retrieved 2008-Nov-13.

**North Carolina State University. 2008. "College of Education Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures: 3. General Standards: 3.2" Retrieved 2008-Nov-12.

Trower, Cathy A. and Anne Gallagher. 2008. "Why collegiality matters?" The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-Nov-13.

**The University of Iowa.n.d. "Collegiality and Citizenship Statement." Retrieved 2008-Oct-28.

University of Missouri. 2007. "College of Arts and Sciences Statement on Ethics." Retrieved 2008-Oct-28.

**Villanova University. 2006. "Villanova University: Definition of Collegiality (draft)." Retrieved 2008-Oct-28.

**Western Kentucky University.n.d. "Potter College: Annual Faculty Evaluation." Retrieved 2008-Nov-13.



Endorsed by Faculty Senate March 4, 1998
Approved by University Council, May 6, 1998 ; Update Approved January 26, 2011

Last Updated: February 11, 2011