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Durham University

Respect Commission

Commission on Respect, Values and Behaviour

What does respect look like to you?

We have set up a Commission on Respect, Values and Behaviour to understand peoples’ experiences of working and studying at the University.

While we believe overall we have a respectful community of people, we want to know where we can improve as well as learn from those who consistently get it right.

Our Commission, comprised of University and Student Leaders and led by independent Chair, Fiona Ellis, has been tasked with understanding where we are today, and what we need to do to be the employer and seat of education we want to be in the future.

What is respect?

Respect can be defined as: the [perceived] worth accorded to one person by one of more other persons. There are two types of respect:

(1) generalised respect: should be unconditionally guaranteed to every human being and involves a personal attitude of treating people with dignity. People should be treated as inherently valuable regardless of status, position, seniority, or rank.

(2) particularised respect: involves genuinely honouring individuals’ specific merits, expertise, and achievements.

Sources: Grover (2013) and Decker & Van Quaquebeke (2015) and Rogers & Ashforth (2017) and Spears et al. (2006)

We need your help

To help us understand what respect looks like at Durham University, we need your feedback.

Between 10-30 June, we are inviting all staff and students, to give feedback on times when you’ve felt respected and supported in your work and study, as well as more challenging experiences where you’ve felt disrespected.

We want to know about the behaviour you’ve experienced in your workplace, classroom, College and wider student activities. We want to know about times when it didn’t meet your expectations, and times when you were impressed by people living the University values.

To participate, please click here.

Using the feedback we gather

Your feedback will be completely confidential, and we will use it to help inform conversations about how we create a better culture for work and study where everyone is respected and respectful. We will hold up outstanding examples of great behaviour, and ensure we have the support and resources we need to improve.

Leaders from the University Executive Committee, together with our Student Leaders are determined to having the right environment to support a respectful place where we can work and study without fear of unwanted or disrespectful behaviour.

Next steps

The survey will remain open throughout June, and may be followed up with focus groups or individual interviews as appropriate. We will take our findings and recommendations to UEC early in the Michaelmas term, and expect to share these with you later in the term.

Thank you for taking time to get involved in this important research, and for shaping the future of our university.

For further information, please email

Contact Details

Durham University,
DH1 3LE,
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2000


To help us understand what respect looks like at Durham University, we need your feedback.

To participate, please click here.