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Departmental Climate Compendium

    Professor Tonya Smith Jackson advising a student

"Creating a Positive Departmental Climate at Virginia Tech: A Compendium of Successful Strategies” was created as part of the AdvanceVT Departmental Climate Initiative (DCI). The Department Climate Committee collected policies and practices from a variety of sources to provide department chairs and heads with opportunities to learn about departmental issues at Virginia Tech, to understand more fully the ways in which these issues manifest themselves within departments, and to share both successful and unsuccessful strategies illustrative of the different approaches departments have taken towards promoting effective, efficient, and pleasant work environments.

The purpose of the compendium is to help make departments places in which faculty, staff, and students live, work, and prosper with the utmost success. It draws from results of an initial 2006 DCI survey, AdvanceVT workshop discussions of existing strategies, faculty survey data, a literature review, and materials from other institutions. The compendium focuses on five critical areas that emerged from these sources: creating a sense of intellectual community, providing for fair and full evaluations of staff and faculty, improving communications to insure clarity and mutual respect and understanding, building more effective departmental policies, and helping department members achieve an effective work/life balance.

Each section makes reference to survey data that inform the five critical areas. Data from these surveys help guide the departmental climate initiative, suggesting areas where further attention may make measurable improvements in faculty productivity, success, and satisfaction.