Make it Better: Assessing and addressing departmental and workplace culture issues

Wednesday 1:30pm-4:00pm TSU - Humphries: 103
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Susan Sullivan, University of Colorado at Boulder
Blair Schneider, University of Kansas Main Campus
Michael Ralph, University of Kansas Main Campus

With every upsetting instance of scandalous or simply uncivil behavior in our workplaces, every conversation with a student or colleague who struggles to feel they belong, and every new external review that finds we aren't doing enough for diversity and inclusion in our business as usual, it's easy to wonder-how to begin? How can we understand and quantify the problems and successes in our departments and units? What are some strategies for assessing the existing culture in your unit and moving forward with solutions that work?

In this workshop we'll examine ways to assess the workplace culture as it exists today, including best practices to encourage participation and candor and to ensure respondent anonymity and safety. We'll look at example strategies for addressing problems that are uncovered and for replicating areas of strength. Participants will work in small groups to start an action plan that they can take back to their home department or other geosciences workplace.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Explore different ways to assess workplace culture in geosciences
  • Talk through case-based strategies for addressing common culture issues
  • Start an action plan for assessing and improving their institution's workplace culture
  • Access and use resources for improving workplace culture in geosciences


1:30 Welcome and Setting the Stage

Introduce the case for a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, data on issues in geosciences (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 4.3MB Jul17 19)

Participants describe their workplace culture, identify an area to address

Planning Worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 15kB Jul17 19)]

2:00 How to start? Strategies to Assess Workplace Culture

2:30 Participants apply case studies to common workplace culture issues

Whole group discussion of case studies and ways to approach each case

Start small group application to their identified issue

3:15 Complete small group application, Gallery walk of group plans for each issue

3:45 Wrap up and evaluation

4:00 Adjourn