Background • 14 600 undergraduate students • 6000 reside in residences. • 4200 first years - 2000 in residences. • Demand for residence accommodation is much higher than the rooms available. • 27 residences that mainly house undergraduate students. • 9 male students only, 13 female students only and 6 co-ed • Vary 117 students to 494 students. • Within walking distance from our academic buildings. • Residences play a very influential role in student culture. • Each display a definite character • Competition amongst residences is high.
Background • 2003 a panel was appointed to analyse: • a) existing documents and policy with respect to the regulations for students, especially students in residences; • b) the structures and processes in terms of which this policy is implemented and monitored; and • c) student culture, with specific reference to student residence culture; • and to develop, in consultation with all parties involved, principles and guidelines for the future that will protect and respect the rights of all students.
Context • The University is undergoing a comprehensive process of transformation • Displaying all the typical features: suspicion, confusion, uncertainty and fear of the unknown and for what may be lost, impatience with perceived slow pace of change and excessive veneration of the past.
Observation of the panel • Residences and students differ regarding their preparedness for, and concrete progress in, adaptation and change. • There is still a tendency to cling to obsolete practices that are neither functional nor respectful of basic human dignity. • Although diversity has in general been accommodated, it still has not been generally internalised. • In other cases deliberate steps have been taken and well-planned processes implemented. • Extremely encouraging results wrt acceptance of basic values, revision of codes of conduct and the development of a future-oriented frame of mind. • But the challenge remains to make the changes that have taken place in the head also changes of the heart.
Recommendation • Develop and implement a value-driven ethos. • Develop a shared vision and a set of common values for all forms of student accommodation to which all parties commit themselves – not only on paper, but also and especially in practice. • each unit can compile their own ethos, on condition that it does not conflict with the general set of values.
What happened? • Residences were asked to formulate their own values • Conduct will be measured to their own values. • leadership of residences sceptic whether they will be allowed to set own values. • Reverse process to the panel report.
How to formulate values? • simple method suggested • two simple questions. • What is that you like about your residence? • What is it that you dislike about your residence? • All answers are used and sorted into values.
Example • I like the fact that I am greeted by name. • I dislike loud music when I study. • Respect • Satisfier – I greet others by name • Dissatisfier – My music disturbs others
Whose definition of values? • Often asked: “Whose definition of the values will prevail?” • We learnt it is possible to find the existing inclusive content of a value in a particular residence. • Take all contributions as valid • Not only the majority in res define content.
Changes in head also in heart • jaargesprek (a yearly conversation) was introduced. • between the manager student housing, the residence head and the house committee and other invited guests. • 3 hours • How values are ingrained • How values relate to academics, diversity and all events organised for coming year. • jaargesprek became a tool to align the vision, goals and practices of the residences with those of the University.
We learnt • Not necessary to have the same set of values for everyone to be able to have a value-driven ethos. It is only necessary for all to be committed to values. • We learnt that the conversation was a powerful tool to move student leadership and their influence on residences to advocate change within their values. • We learnt that students always choose constructive values.
Practical examples • Sports tour • Revision of traditions – can never say it was done last year • Two good reasons?
We learnt • We learnt that a value driven ethos helps to fix things in a way that also helps to heal relationships. • We learnt that stories play an important role in embedding a value-driven ethos. • We learnt that students are committed to live according to their values if they are certain others take them seriously.
Conclusion • Difference between value-based and value-driven. • In a value-driven approach the values itself are the centre of each discussion. It entails more uncertainty, but also much more forthright discussion. • Easier to handle diversity where there is one dominant group and one group in a small minority. • real authority lies in the values and its content. Not even the majority can act outside the values. • Actions of leadership more predictable and a healthier relationship exists between management and students. (However, our challenge still lies with the senior students outside leadership structures.)