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Positive Workplace Alliance

We are actively responding to the Work Climate for Support Staff survey (2017) and findings from the KNOW MORE@MSU Campus Climate Survey (2019) through a comprehensive program involving research, education, and partnerships. Although the WorkLife Office has been examining issues of bullying for several years, this work was pushed forward by a 2020 letter from former Provost Sullivan and EVP Beauchamp. The WorkLife Office has seed funding (S3: “Science + Society @ State”) to pursue future grants and extend the work currently being done through an interdisciplinary research project looking at current status and customized supports to be provided in 3-4 key units. Our primary study has received IRB approval and will launch Spring 2021. The WorkLife Office is leveraging the momentum from our 2020 annual conference (“Toward a Positive Work Environment”) by launching a 4-part educational series in January 2021, and the recent relaunch of this anti-bullying website.

Collaborations have happened already through research and education activities including partners from the College of Human Medicine, Psychology, Human Resources, the Ombudsperson, the College of Graduate Studies, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and guest speakers from IPF, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, alongside the work of other campus partners such as Academic Advancement Network, the office for Prevention, Education and Outreach, and Academic Human Resources.

Leveraging Past Work and Partnerships

We are forming a “Positive Workplace Alliance” (working title) to more intentionally connect members of the MSU community who are directly involved in this work. The primary goal is to consolidate resources, and to cooperate, coordinate and collaborate on educational and supportive endeavors.

Our Plan

Current State: Positive workplace efforts exist in numerous places including colleges (e.g., CommArtSci), units (e.g., AAN), and others (e.g., POE, OIE, HR, AHR, Ombudsperson, WorkLife, etc.). There are multiple efforts to establish expectations, policies, and procedures to effectively address workplace behavior toward one another in positive and accountable ways. These efforts are often only incidentally connected.

Gap: The collection of work is not connected and could be more effective with better coordination and communication.

Solution Approach: Form a “Positive Workplace Alliance” (working title) to include members of the MSU community who are directly involved in this work.

Description of the Work

The alliance/workgroup will serve these purposes:

  • Collaborate, coordinate, and consolidate efforts toward a positive and respectful workplace
  • Conduct research and education and share/promote existing research (especially at MSU)
  • Develop a measurable impact system and provide reports of impact to university (public)
  • Advise future directions and provide ideas for future projects · Manage the main source for positive workplace information: https://workplace.msu.edu/

Alliance Participants

This group is currently forming.  This list is building.  Check back soon for updates!

Member Unit/Title Constituency
Dr. Marilyn Amey Interim Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development Faculty and Academic Staff
Dr. Suzanne Lang Interim Associate Provost and Vice-President for Faculty Affairs Faculty
Dr. Shannon Lynn Burton University Ombudsperson Students
Lydia Weiss Prevention, Outreach, and Education MSU
Dr. Aaron Reifler Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Post-Docs
Dr. Jabbar Bennett Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer MSU
David Robinson Training Program Developer III Infrastructure, Planning, and Facilities (IPF)
Sharon Butler Assistant Vice President of Human Resources MSU Employees
Jon Novello, LMSW, ACSW Health4U Consultant, EAP Counselor MSU Employees
Donyelle Hayhoe Unit Human Resources Coordinator Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS)
Tina Alonzo, CM, CHRS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Administrator Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff (WACSS) and IPF
Dr. Katherine M. Ruger Associate Dean, Admissions & Student Life College of Osteopathic Medicine


Thank you for supporting this important work!

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