What makes a good community? What values do communities hold? In thinking about building and enriching our own medical school community, and working together to establish some ‘norms’ of how we would like to engage, it is helpful to look for lessons from other academic communities.
The concept of a community agreement in higher education was advanced by the work of Earnest Boyer and other researchers and published in their report Campus Life: In Search of Community in 1990, funded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In their study, Boyer and colleagues identified six characteristics that define a positive academic community:
Boyer’s Principles of Community
A college is an educationally purposeful community, a place where faculty and students share academic goals and work together to strengthen teaching and learning on the campus
A college is an open community, a place where freedom of expression is uncompromisingly protected and where civility is powerfully affirmed.
A college is a just community, a place where the sacredness of the person is honored and where diversity is aggressively pursued.
A college is a disciplined community, a place where individuals accept their obligations to the group and where well-defined governance procedures guide behavior for the common good.
A college is a caring community, a place where the well-being of each member is sensitively supported and where service to others is encouraged.
A college is a celebrative community, one in which the heritage of the institution is remembered and where rituals affirming both tradition and change are widely shared.
Taken from Ernest L. Boyer’s Campus Life: In Search of Community, 1990