The Department has a new code of conduct to set 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.
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.
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. Particular 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 events organised in the periphery of 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 adheres to the University’s policy on bullying and harassment. We do 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.
Harassment includes engaging in unwanted and unwarranted conduct which violates another person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for another person. The recipient does not need to have explicitly stated that the behaviour was unwanted. Behaviour that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, and harassment that is intended or delivered in a joking manner is not acceptable.
Bullying is a form of harassment and may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.
Bystander intervention is a vital component in tackling bullying and harassment, as we all have a part to play in creating our workplace culture.
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.
Complaints and Reporting procedure
Anyone who experiences or observes behaviour falling below the standards expected in the Department should where possible report it to the event organisers or responsible member of the department, or directly to the Head of Department, or consult one of the department’s Harassment Advisors. Reports of discrimination or harassment will be maintained in confidence in line with the University procedure for complaints of harassment. The policy and reporting procedure are available here.
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.