Shared Values Initiative

Shared Values Initiative

In 2019, Ohio State began to implement a university-wide Shared Values Initiative. The Shared Values Initiative reminds us of the values that we share as a university community and our shared commitment to those values. It asks us to pause and reflect on not just what we do but how we do it. Through collective reflection and evaluation, followed by meaningful action, we aim to reinforce our ethical culture and live our shared values to advance our core work of teaching, learning, research, and service. The effort is ongoing and consists of many different elements, ranging from the refinement of our institution’s values to the advancement of education and programming on ethics.

One key outcome of the initiative has been developing a new set of Ohio State core values to complement our university vision and mission. These values reflect our commitments as a university community and are accompanied by principles and behaviors that illustrate how we can live our Shared Values every day at Ohio State.

Our Ambition

Reinforce our ethical culture and live our shared values to better advance the university's core work of teaching, learning, research and service.



Shared Values

The daily interactions and behavior of all university community members are guided by a shared set of values at the unit, college and university level.

Robust Sharing of Ideas and Concerns

Faculty, staff and students feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns, and leaders listen to and address both respectfully.

Disciplined Decision-Making

Individuals consider shared values and the common good when making difficult decisions.

Trusted Leaders

University leaders at all levels behave ethically, uphold shared values and expect to be held and are held to the highest standards of integrity.

Shared Values Framework

The Ohio State University is the model 21st-century public, land grant, research, urban, community-engaged institution.

The university is dedicated to:

  • Creating and discovering knowledge to improve the well-being of our local, state, regional, national and global communities;
  • Educating students through a comprehensive array of distinguished academic programs;
  • Preparing a diverse student body to be leaders and engaged citizens;
  • Fostering a culture of engagement and service.

We understand that diversity and inclusion are essential components of our excellence.

Excellence and Impact

Demonstrating leadership in pursuit of our vision and mission

Principle: Advancing sustainable and evidence-based solutions through mutually beneficial partnerships

Behaviors: Together, we

  • Stimulate creativity, critical thinking and problem solving
  • Proactively collaborate with others and strive for meaningful outcomes
  • Are bold in our endeavors and create environments to foster new approaches
  • Demonstrate persistence and commitment
  • Inspire others to join in and take action
  • Champion everyone’s potential for success
Diversity and Innovation

Welcoming differences and making connections among people and ideas

Principle: Encouraging open-minded exploration, risk-taking, and freedom of expression

Behaviors: Together, we

  • Are curious and open to different experiences
  • Recognize everyone’s potential to contribute new ideas
  • Actively engage others’ perspectives as opportunities for individual and institutional growth
  • Work toward creative, collaborative solutions
  • Use our successes and failures to learn and improve with humility
Inclusion and Equity

Upholding equal rights and advancing institutional fairness

Principle: Advocating for access, affordability, opportunity, and empowerment

Behaviors: Together, we

  • Intentionally foster a sense of belonging where all are valued
  • Strive to understand and appreciate each other’s backgrounds and experiences
  • Listen to multiple voices and engage in civil discourse
  • Acknowledge and address individual and systemic effects of bias and discrimination
Care and Compassion

Attending to the well-being of individuals and communities

Principle: Putting people at the center of all we do

Behaviors: Together, we

  • Are compassionate and meet people where they are
  • Support each other’s physical and mental health
  • Nurture a community of kindness and gratitude
  • Foster individual growth and development
  • Empower people to overcome obstacles
Integrity and Respect

Acting responsibly and being accountable

Principle: Building trust through honesty, transparency, and authentic engagement

Behaviors: Together, we

  • Value our greatest resource, our people, and acknowledge the contributions of every individual
  • Allow people to make and learn from mistakes
  • Work conscientiously and assume positive intent of others
  • Actively listen and engage in open, honest dialogue
  • Are good stewards of our and others’ resources


March 2019

Shared Values Initiative began with extensive campus socialization

October 2019

Values and Ethics survey closed on Oct. 29

February 2021

Released results of university-wide survey

May 2021

President’s Cabinet affirmed new Shared Values framework

July 2021

Board of Trustees notified of adoption of Shared Values framework

Winter 2021

Release college- and unit-level reports 



  • Sarah Bohman, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President
  • Molly Ranz Calhoun, President & CEO, The Ohio State University Alumni Association
  • Amy Darragh, University Senate/Associate Professor, College of Medicine
  • Tom Gregoire, Dean, College of Social Work
  • Lin Hillis, Associate Vice President, Talent, Diversity and Leadership, Office of Human Resources
  • Mike Hogan, University Senate/Extension Educator, Associate Professor, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • John Horack, Professor, College of Engineering and John Glenn College of Public Affairs
  • Andrew Jordan, University Senate/Student Life
  • Lindsay Komlanc, Associate Vice President, University Communications
  • Amanda Lucas, Executive Director, Ohio State Harding Hospital
  • Holly Means, Senior Associate Vice President, University Marketing
  • Peter Mohler, Chief Scientific Officer, Wexner Medical Center; Vice Dean for Research, College of Medicine; Interim Vice President of Research
  • James L. Moore III, Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Rustin Moore, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Greg Rose, Executive Dean, Regional Campuses/Dean, Ohio State Marion
  • Anne Schira, Senior Associate General Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs
  • Chrissy Sprouse, Human Resources Consultant, Office of Academic Affairs
  • Piers Turner, Director, Center for Ethics & Human Values
  • Kay Wolf, Senior Vice Provost, Office of Academic Affairs

Values and Ethics Survey

In autumn 2019, The Ohio State University leadership did something foundational to the future of higher education: They asked students, faculty and staff for their opinions and insights on the values of our community.

The entire university community was urged to complete a confidential survey, conducted by a third-party firm, examining Ohio State’s ethical culture, leadership and shared values. The survey and its outcomes are part of an ongoing university project, called the Shared Values Initiative, which aims to reinforce the university’s ethical culture and values.

The survey results reflect the diversity of opinion you would expect in a broad community with different experiences and perspectives. There are encouraging signs of alignment on core essential values as well as opportunities for further improvement and engagement.

“We are heartened by some of these results, and we recognize that culture isn’t built in a day, or from one survey,” said Gates Garrity-Rokous, vice president and chief compliance officer for the Office of University Compliance and Integrity at Ohio State. “Culture building requires sustained attention, ongoing dialogue and meaningful action. This survey is just one way to help better understand the Ohio State community, what is working and what can be improved upon.”

Ohio State wants to further engage the university community in developing programs and resources in response to the survey. The university had planned to release the results sooner, in spring 2020, but, like so much else, the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted this plan. This means that the results pre-date the pandemic and the national conversation on racial justice that was re-invigorated in 2020.

The majority of the results remain reliable today as the values, perceptions and behaviors addressed in the survey are shaped by individuals’ long-term relationships with Ohio State.

The faculty response rate to the survey was 16.9.%. The staff response rate was 23.2%. The student response rate was 2.1%, which is not large enough to generalize to the student body.

Where the university is doing well:

  • Employees overwhelmingly reported a positive connection to Ohio State. Eighty-three percent of employees perceived a strong connection with the university, and almost all – 98% – reported at least a moderate connection.

  • Just 5% of employees reported feeling pressure to violate university policies or the law.

  • Employees know Ohio State’s policies and how to report violations. Eighty-seven percent reported knowing policies/rules that apply to their roles, and 79% knew how to report violations of Ohio State policies/rules.

  • While there is room for improvement, a majority of employees are reporting issues. Sixty percent of employees who personally observed at least one specific type of misconduct in the prior year made a report.

Where opportunities exist for improvement:

  • While respondents reported both relatively low pressure to violate standards and fewer rates of observed misconduct than benchmarks, 33% of employees reported observing acts of abuse/intimidation.

  • While 58% of employees believed that senior leaders have a clear set of shared values to help guide decisions and actions, only 51% of employees thought senior leaders exhibited strong values, with faculty having a less positive perception (37%) than staff (54%).

  • While overall perceptions of leadership culture were generally positive, 42% of employees do not see university senior leaders acting as role models of ethical behavior, and 41% of employees perceived leaders as tolerating misconduct by rewarding policy violators with promotions or raises.

  • Only 39% of employees believe all employees can question the decisions or conduct of leaders, and only 38% believe that others are comfortable raising concerns about policy violations. Forty-seven percent of those employees who reported issues were dissatisfied with the response.

  • Nearly half – 46% – of faculty said that they can question the decisions or conduct of their department chair/school director without fear of retaliation, and just 37% of staff members believed that they could question the decisions or conduct of their supervisors without fear of retaliation.

"My thanks and appreciation go to everyone who took part in this survey as we work to make our Ohio State community the very best it can be,” said President Kristina M. Johnson in a campus-wide email. "This is an important part of our Shared Values Initiative to further advance and enrich our university culture.”

The university is addressing these concerns and others mentioned in the full report, which you can view on this site.

Thus far, the university through its Shared Values Initiative has:

  • Refined Ohio State’s values to complement the university’s vision and mission, and developed accompanying principles and behaviors that illustrate how we can live our Shared Values every day at Ohio State.
  • Established an ETHOS Fellows Program hosted by the Center for Ethics and Human Values for faculty, staff and students interested in building community around our Shared Values.
  • Begun hosting Shared Values Community Conversations hosted by the Center for Ethics and Human Values to encourage reflection on the values that shape life and work at Ohio State.
  • Begun introducing the Shared Values during employee orientation and integrating into manager training.

Moving forward, the university will continue to operationalize the Shared Values into additional university programs and processes. Another goal is to encourage concern reporting by:

  • Making it easier for faculty, staff and students to find concern reporting channels, including the university’s Anonymous Reporting Line.
  • Supporting direct leaders of employees and students with guidance on recognizing, responding to, and elevating reported concerns.
  • Broadly communicating the university’s strict prohibition on retaliation against individuals who report concerns and enhancing an anti-retaliation program that includes systematic efforts to remain in contact with reporters to ensure they do not experience retaliation.

Keep checking the Shared Values Initiative website for more information, ways to participate, and outcomes related to Ohio State's values and ethics efforts.

Values and Ethics Survey: Frequently Asked Questions

Ohio State University leaders wanted to open dialogue about our community members’ shared values and ethics to better understand what guides their decisions and actions. The confidential survey, taken in October 2019, examined Ohio State’s ethical culture and shared values. The results will help university leaders focus ongoing and future efforts to enhance Ohio State’s efforts to provide an open, ethical environment that further advances our core work of teaching, learning, research and service. The original plan was to release the results in spring 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it. The majority of the results remain reliable today as the values, perceptions and behaviors addressed in the survey are shaped by individuals’ long-term relationships with Ohio State.

All students, faculty and staff at all campuses and the Wexner Medical Center were invited to take the survey from our independent outside vendor, the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI). The faculty response rate to the survey was 16.9%. The staff response rate was 23.2%. The student response rate was 2.1%, which is not large enough to generalize to the student body.

Outcomes from the survey results will help develop programs and resources to assist faculty, staff and students. The survey is just one part of the university’s Shared Values Initiative to further advance and enrich our university culture.

We urge you to read the entire survey report. Employees overwhelmingly reported a positive connection to Ohio State and few reported feeling pressure to violate university policies or the law. Improvement can be made around shared values and decision-making.

The university’s prior values were:

  • Excellence
  • Diversity in people and of ideas
  • Inclusion
  • Access and affordability
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration and multidisciplinary endeavor
  • Integrity, transparency and trust

While the principles behind these values still hold true, a cross-campus group of faculty and staff are working to create a refined core set of values that best captures Ohio State’s land-grant vision and mission and defines more clearly what is most foundational and enduring for our institution: our aspirations, our commitments, and our beliefs. The proposed values will consider the results of the Values and Ethics survey, existing values of individual colleges and units, and feedback of the Shared Values Initiative Steering Committee. The university will also develop descriptive behaviors to illustrate how we can live each value day to day at Ohio State. (Status Update: The refined Shared Values framework is now established.)

The full, university-wide results are available now. College and unit-level data will be shared in early 2022.

Among other messages, the following email was sent to the university community in September 2019.

Dear Campus Community:

Together, we all make unique contributions to our Ohio State culture. As we look to move the university forward, it is important to collectively reflect on the values all of us share.

To better understand the common threads that tie our community together and help shape the expression of our values into a vibrant, just and collaborative culture that is continually improving, we are opening a dialogue to reaffirm and further develop our values as a campus community.  

Through a confidential online survey, we are asking faculty, staff and students to provide their thoughts and feedback related to Ohio State’s culture and shared values. We count on your honest feedback to help enhance our student and employee experience, and inform, advance and integrate Ohio State’s ongoing and future efforts related to values and ethics.

We have partnered with the Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI), a nonprofit, external research organization and a recognized leader in the field of organizational survey work. All faculty, staff and students will receive a link to the survey in an email from ECI between September 23 and October 2, and will have until Tuesday, October 29, to complete it.

Outcomes from the survey results will help develop programs and resources to assist faculty, staff and students. We will share the survey results, which will be reported on a university and college/unit level, with the university community in a manner that protects individual confidentiality.

Thank you for your participation in this important effort and the contributions you make to our university community every day.


Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost

Susan M. Basso
Senior Vice President for Talent, Culture and Human Resources

Gates Garrity-Rokous
Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer