The Department Code of Conduct sets out standards of behaviour and good practice expected from its members.
In the Department of Economics we are committed to establishing an inclusive and supportive culture in which all staff and students feel welcomed, accepted and given a voice, irrespective of individual and group difference. We each have a responsibility to create a working environment where everyone feels equally valued.
We expect everyone working here to treat their colleagues with dignity and respect. We recognise that we differ from each other in backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures and that such differences can lead to conflicting expectations and interpretations of each other’s behaviour, and misunderstandings. We need to be open-minded and aware of our own implicit assumptions, and to work together constructively to improve understanding of other perspectives and beliefs.
Everyone in the department, staff, students, and its visitors are encouraged to reflect on how they come across in seminars and the impact this can have on others.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
The Department has an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) made up of academic staff, professional services staff and students.
The aims of the Committee include increasing equality, diversity and inclusion within our department, helping influence positive change in the Economics community, and ensuring that the department fosters an inclusive, supportive and welcoming culture.
The Committee has already established some positive initiatives that are making a difference and is working hard to achieve more positive progress.
You can see the current members of the EDIC on the Department SharePoint site (SSO required): EDIC Committee members list.
Meetings, Seminars and Conferences
Meetings and events should provide a respectful and inclusive environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas. Open discussion, debate and challenge are essential elements of academic interaction, which can flourish only when all participants treat each other with respect and consideration. Meetings and events should promote equal opportunities and treatment for all participants; there is a zero tolerance policy for any interactions, intentional or unintentional, that constitute intimidation, harassment or discrimination.
The department seminar speaker guidance outlines its goals for improving speaker diversity and creating a seminar environment that is conducive to the open exchange of ideas and academic debate and where all attendees
- Challenges should be directed towards ideas and should never be a personal attack on an individual expressing them. Participants must not use aggressive or intimidating language, and disruptive behaviour such as persistent intervention or repetition of remarks or questions and must respond appropriately to requests from the chair.
- Support should be given to students and early-career researchers who may have had less experience in meetings and seminars. Where the presenter has less experience, it may be helpful to allow only clarification questions during presentations, and other questions afterwards.
- Organisers and chairs of events and meetings are responsible for promoting and maintaining these principles. Participants should be reminded of the importance of treating others with respect – for example in brief opening remarks and/or by referring to this Code of Conduct in accompanying information.
Social and networking events
Social and networking and events organised as part of the departmental activity, such as informal drinks or team building events should follow the same guidelines; organisers and participants should be mindful to foster inclusivity and respectful exchanges.
Teaching and Supervision
Teaching and supervision should be carried out in an inclusive environment to encourage participation. Organisers are responsible for ensuring that everyone is contributing.
Staff and students are expected to conduct themselves respectfully to one another. Staff should be sensitive to the difference of power in the teaching relationship. Any critique or feedback should be concerned solely with the person’s work, and adapted to the recipient’s level of experience.
Faculty should be conscious of the diversity of perspective of their audience when lecturing, and when selecting examples and study material.
Everyone is encouraged to reflect on how they come across in lectures, seminars and meetings, and the impact this can have on others.
Bullying and Harassment
The Department does not tolerate any form of harassment or victimisation and expects all members of our community and its visitors to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration, adhering to the University of Oxford’s policy on Bullying and Harassment.
Bystander intervention is a vital component in tackling bullying and harassment, as we all have a part to play in creating our workplace culture.
Detailed information on how the Department aims to prevent Bullying & Harassment can be found on the Department's SharePoint site (SSO required).
This includes detailed information on the options open to Department members if they wish to report an incident of bullying or harassment as either a victim or observer – including how to contact our Department Harassment Advisors – or if they wish to access further support and advice in the first instance.
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of individuals on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, or sexual orientation.
The Department adheres to the University’s Equality policy. It is our duty under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that no member of our community is unlawfully discriminated against based on any protected characteristics.
Dealing with problems
If you experience or observe behaviour falling below the standards set out in the Code of Conduct, please speak as soon as possible to the course or event organiser, HR, Head of Department or Head of Administration and Finance, so that they can help to resolve the problem.
Appendix: Examples of Good Practice
Below are some examples of small steps that each of us can take to foster a welcoming and inclusive working environment.
- Organisers may plan events and meetings during core working hours to ensure that participants with caring responsibilities are able to attend.
- Organisers may consider the lighting of the rooms, and sound level when setting up a seminar room, as this may affect neurodivergent participants.
- Organisers may check that the venue is accessible, and familiarise themselves with access points ahead of an event.
- Lecturers may invite students to give the correct pronunciation of their name and indicate their preferred pronoun at the beginning of a course.
- Teachers and convenors may make a conscious decision to take the first question from a woman, a member from a minority group, or an early career researcher participant during a session.
- Convenors should ensure that a diverse pool of speakers have been invited to present at their seminar series, and that the topics offer a range of perspectives. This might also include inviting earlier career researchers and introducing them during networking sessions.
- Consider introducing a course or seminar by making a statement about your commitment to inclusivity, and stating that this is a supportive space where respectful exchanges are expected.
- If using slides, consider using fonts, colours and backgrounds that are easier to read by those with dyslexia or visual impairments.
- Be mindful and sensitive when using humour and consider how the recipients might interpret it.
Staff interested in reflecting on promoting inclusivity in their own practice might be interested in the inclusive leadership course.