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Administrators Tell College Adults What Their Values Are

President Eric Barron sent an email Monday morning to inform the Penn State community he and the university administration have completed the final version of the Penn State Values, which purport outline the core values of the university. Options like “integrity” and “respect” beat out hot contenders like “accountability” and “caring” to make this esteemed list.

Behold, Penn State’s core values, per Barron’s email:

  • Integrity: We act with integrity and honesty in accordance with the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards.
  • Respect: We respect and honor the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse, and foster a diverse and inclusive community.
  • Responsibility: We act responsibly, and we are accountable for our decisions, actions, and their consequences.
  • Discovery: We seek and create new knowledge and understanding, and foster creativity and innovation, for the benefit of our communities, society, and the environment.
  • Excellence: We strive for excellence in all our endeavors as individuals, an institution, and a leader in higher education.
  • Community: We work together for the betterment of our University, the communities we serve, and the world.

This list took more than two years and nearly a half million dollars to come up with. In other words, just about four words per month and $44,000 per word!

“These Values are at the core of the recently approved university strategic plan, which is currently being implemented, and we are developing additional initiatives to further integrate them more fully into University life at all levels,” Barron said in his email.

The university included a number of resources for students, faculty, and staff — remember, all adults — to be able to apply the values to everyday situations, such as “conversation starters” and examples of what each of the values looks like when implemented in the community. In addition to the values, Penn State developed an ethical decision-making model and graphic and guiding questions that one can use when making an ethical decision.

Print them out and put them in your backpack so you can have easy access next time you’re making an ethical decision!

UPDATE 2:28 p.m. — Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers reached out and wanted to make sure our readers knew that these values were generated via feedback from “students, faculty and staff at all Penn State locations” and not just the administration.

Of course, claiming wide input — which, yes, the Culture & Values Survey did go out to multiple stakeholders — is common administrative justification for wasting money.

$44,000. Per word.

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About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.


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