“The university does not tolerate abusive conduct or bullying,” President Janet Napolitano declared in 2016 upon issuing guidance to the campuses to identify best practices that cultivate positive work environments.
As it turns out, UC Davis had already begun addressing the issue, in response to the 2013 Campus Climate Survey. It asked, among other questions, if within the past year, employees had personally experienced any exclusionary (e.g., shunned, ignored), intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct (bullied, harassing) at UC Davis or UC Davis Health. Here’s what we learned:
- 24 percent of the respondents said, yes, they had directly experienced such behavior.
- 22 percent said they had observed exclusionary/harassing/bullying behavior.
- A high number of these incidents occurred when a power differential existed between perpetrator and victim.
In response, UC Davis assembled the Bullying Working Group and the Task Force on Workplace Climate — and out of this came a call for a training program. Developed and managed by the Diversity Education Program in the Office of Campus Community Relations, the training module is titled “Is It Bullying? Awareness and Strategies.”
The university launched the three-hour, in-person training as a pilot program in 2016-17. Participants included all staff leads in the Offices of the Chancellor and Provost, and nearly 400 other employees who signed up voluntarily for 14 sessions on the Davis and Sacramento campuses.
Now, with the pilot program concluded, UC Davis is rolling out the training program to more employees. In Phase 1, all managers and supervisors — approximately 1,800 staff members on both campuses — are strongly encouraged to complete the training and to do so by July of next year. Emails from Chancellor Gary S. May went out this morning (July 10) to managers and supervisors, advising them of the new training and how to enroll.
Trainings will be offered approximately two to three times a week, starting this month, with sessions available on both campuses. Up to 30 sessions will be scheduled from now until September, and an additional 30 sessions will be scheduled through the end of June 2019.
“By instituting this training, as urged by the UC Davis Task Force on Workplace Climate, our campus is signaling its commitment to civility and inclusivity by clearly defining its expectations for supervisors to foster respectful work environments,” said Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor and interim lead of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Phase 2 would strive to accommodate requests by departments and units for in-house presentations, with a target start date of July 2019. This will empower units to address climate issues in the very workplaces where they arise.
The UC Davis Task Force on Workplace Climate also recommended anti-bullying workshops for faculty in that they serve in a unique capacity that includes managerial and supervisory functions. As a result, Academic Affairs provided two-hour workshops using materials prepared through the work group; the brown-bag workshops were held several times over the last few years, with some of the sessions focused on department chairs and some open to all faculty.
A comprehensive plan for reaching all faculty — approximately 3,200 on both campuses at this time — is planned as Phase 3, beginning in September 2019. Academic Affairs and the Office of Campus Community Relations will coordinate the delivery of faculty workshops.
After initial anti-bullying workshops have been delivered for staff managers and supervisors and faculty, a follow-up refresher module has been recommended as Phase 4 (June 2020) to ensure ongoing compliance.