Civility in Action

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Join the Movement

Share what civility means to you! Post a 30-second video. Share with @oduinclusive and hashtag #MonarchsACECivility.

Don't know what to say? Read one of the "Take Action" items below.

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Each of us can choose to make our community more civil. Do your part:

  • Share responsibility for including all voices in the conversation. If you tend to have a lot to say, make sure you leave sufficient space to hear from others. If you tend to stay quiet in group discussions, challenge yourself to contribute so others can learn from you.  
  • Listen respectfully. Don’t interrupt, turn to technology, or engage in private conversations while others are speaking. Use attentive, courteous body language. Comments that you make (whether asking for clarification, sharing critiques, or expanding on a point) should reflect that you have paid attention to the previous speakers’ comments. 
  • Be open to changing your perspectives based on what you learn from others.  Try to explore new ideas and possibilities. Think critically about the factors that have shaped your perspectives.  Seriously consider points-of-view that differ from your current thinking.  
  • Understand that we are bound to make mistakes in this space, as anyone does when approaching complex tasks or learning new skills.  Strive to see your mistakes and others’ as valuable elements of the learning process.  
  • Understand that your words have effects on others.  Speak with care.  If you learn that something you’ve said was experienced as disrespectful or marginalizing, listen carefully and try to understand that perspective.  Learn how you can do better in the future.   
  • Take pair work or small group work seriously.  Remember that your peers’ learning is partly dependent upon your engagement.  
  • Understand that others will come to these discussions with different experiences from yours. Be careful about assumptions and generalizations you make based only on your own experience. Be open to hearing and learning from other perspectives.  
  • Make an effort to get to know other students. Introduce yourself to students sitting near you. Refer to classmates by name and make eye contact with other students. 
  • Understand that there are different approaches to solving problems. If you are uncertain about someone else’s approach, ask a question to explore areas of uncertainty. Listen respectfully to how and why the approach could work.Text Box 
  • Confidentiality.  We want to create an atmosphere for open, honest exchange.  
  • Our primary commitment is to learn from each other.  We will listen to each other and not talk at each other. We acknowledge differences amongst us in backgrounds, skills, interests, and values.  We realize that it is these very differences that will increase our awareness and understanding through this process. 
  • We will not demean, devalue, or “put down” people for their experiences, lack of experiences, or difference in interpretation of those experiences. 
  • We will trust that people are doing the best they can. We will try not to ‘freeze people in time’ but leave space for everyone to learn and change through our interactions with one another. 
  • Challenge the idea and not the person.  If we wish to challenge something that has been said, we will challenge the idea or the practice referred to, not the individual sharing this idea or practice. 
  • Speak your discomfort.  If something is bothering you, please share this with the group.  Often our emotional reactions to this process offer the most valuable learning opportunities. 
  • Step Up, Step Back. Be mindful of taking up much more space than others. On the same note, empower yourself to speak up when others are dominating the conversation. 
  • Be aware of how much you are contributing to in-class discussions. Try not to silence yourself out of concern for what others will think about what you say. If you have an idea, don’t wait for someone else to say it; say it yourself.  If you have a tendency to contribute often, give others the opportunity to speak. 
  • Be careful about how you use humor or irony in class. Keep in mind that we don’t all find the same things funny. 
  • Be aware of how much you are contributing to discussions, and share responsibility for including all voices in the discussion. If you have an idea, don’t wait for someone else to say it; say it yourself.  If you have a tendency to contribute often, give others the opportunity to speak.  
  • Respect others’ right to hold opinions and beliefs that differ from your own. Be open to hearing their perspectives. Be open to changing your perspectives based on what you learn from others. Be okay with disagreement.   
  • Start with you: Do not be a bully. You cannot control others’ actions, but you certainly can control your own actions. This is where self-awareness comes into play. Most of us are pushed to our limits, and this can cause us to experience extreme stress, which can ultimately cause us to lash out at others if we don’t check ourselves before we speak or act.
  • Check in with others: Give others grace. Holiday season is not the best time of the year for many people, even after it is over. And, again, the constant challenges of the pandemic certainly did not help the daily demands of life. Please remember that you do not know what people are going through, just as they do not know what you are going through. Genuinely check in with others. This could mean a simple gesture such as waving or saying, “Hello, hope you’re hanging in there.”
  • Give yourself grace. Remember to also cut yourself some slack. The practice and the implementation of being civil in the professional space can be taxing. Refer to self-reflection practices, affirmations, and include “me time” to help avoid burnout.

Explore Civility with ODU

During August, National Civility Month, ODU places an emphasis on showing respect to others. But these concepts can be used throughout the year to improve our lives, and those of our others in our community.