Desirable Qualities of our Service in an Academic Institution

In an academic institutions service is acknowledged, but principles that govern service are rarely articulated or used to take stock of how we could improve.  Our efforts can be thought of as Building Supportive Communities that are characterized by:

  • planning that takes into account the often-limited and uncertain state of resources, guides where we put our not-unlimited energies, and seeks to make the result sustainable or cumulative.
  • community-building, not only for the sake of a sustainable product, but so participants/ collaborators value their involvement in the process.
  • probing what has been taken for granted or left unarticulated until coherent principles emerge to guide our efforts.
  • transparency and inclusiveness of consultation in formulating procedures and principles and in making evaluations available.
  • documenting process, product, and evaluations to make institutional learning more likely.
  • organization, including efficient use of computer technology, to support all of the above.
  • taking care for colleagues’ reputations when disputes arise, especially colleagues coming up for or currently under review.
  • equity in relation to explicit guidelines (thus eliminating suspicions of favoritism).

Extracted from


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (

One Response to Desirable Qualities of our Service in an Academic Institution

  1. Pingback: New Social Media: From technologies to spaces we make for virtual and face-to-face interactions « Probe—Create Change—Reflect

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