The K to O Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE
This content has been provided by UNE Student Support Services & Staff
This is blog 3/5 see the bottom of the blog for the other glossaries.
The University of New England is committed to providing an inclusive environment that acknowledges and celebrates diversity, is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment, and which encompasses and utilises the skills and ideas of all people, irrespective of race or cultural background, gender or sexual orientation, educational level, socioeconomic position, age, disability, or family responsibility. We hope that you will enthusiastically take your place within this environment and enjoy your time here at UNE.
This A to Z Guide to Social Ethics @ UNE is designed to help you understand your social rights and responsibilities while studying at UNE and also to give you a clear sense of what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour for staff, students or visitors.
The ultimate aim of the guide is to help you establish a safe and secure lifestyle while you are at UNE so that you enjoy your time as a student and ultimately achieve your full academic potential. Whether you dip into and out of this guide as needed, or read it from A to Z, we are sure you will find it a useful resource as you embark on your studies at UNE. You will find within this guide the contact details for a wide range of people who can assist and guide you during your time as a student. We all look forward to meeting you individually into the future. We wish you every success during your time at UNE and welcome you to our community.
Your time at university is not simply about cramming your head full of facts. It is about developing the graduate attributes mentioned earlier, like social responsibility and teamwork. It is about being or becoming a person that people want to be around – someone who has compassion, humanity, and kindness.
At this point, you might be thinking the University has gone “soft” and “mushy”. We haven’t. We are trying to show that universities are not cold, clinical institutions – but that staff and students are expected to treat each other with respect, fairness, kindness, and good old fashioned courtesy or “manners”. Kindness is not simply about bestowing gifts on people – especially as staff cannot accept gifts or what may be considered inducements from students – it’s about sharing a lift into the University, returning books to the library on time, bouncing ideas off one another, looking out for each other at a social function, entering classrooms quietly, communicating online in a respectful tone, checking how your fellow students are going, checking when is convenient to contact staff, and keeping staff informed, as a courtesy, about how you are going or what support you need.
Every time you show consideration and respect for others, you are being a leader – particularly among your peers. Being a leader is not about forcing others to follow your lead, but is about motivating others, promoting a safe, trusting environment and challenging behaviours that go against that. We have the capacity to lead in varying contexts and ways. If you want to discover your leadership potential, then find out about the range of professional development activities available as part of the New England Award at UNE.
The libraries at UNE are a shared resources that rely on all users doing the right thing by others. This includes things like not smoking, eating or drinking in the libraries; turning mobile phones and audible pagers off; not damaging materials; not talking in silent zones, and not interfering with the belongings of other library users. It also includes things like returning library materials on time (including high use items in the Reserve collection) and paying fines for overdue materials. Please note that unpaid fines affect your borrowing rights. For more information about library rules, select “Policies and Guidelines” at the UNE Library “About Us” and check out the “Learning Commons” in the Dixson Library – a space for individual study and collaborative learning that includes an allocated area for a well-earned coffee or tea break or snack.
Social ethics are about having an open, enquiring mind rather than looking at things in a black and white or rigid way. Mental health or illness is an area that has long been plagued by stigma, misinformation, and myths. In order to inform and to debunk many of the myths, NSW Health and organisations like Beyond Blue have produced excellent information about various mental health conditions. Check them out so that you can better understand the needs of people experiencing a mental health concern. When we are experiencing good psychological or emotional health, we are able to meet the demands of everyday life. When meeting those demands becomes too difficult, our mental health can suffer. If you need some support to help you manage your mental health, you can contact the UNE Student Access and Inclusion Office and/or Student Counselling and Psychological Services staff. Also, know that the University is guided by anti-discrimination laws to help ensure the needs of a student with a temporary or permanent disability are best met. For more information please visit Student Support.
As a courtesy to others, mobile phones, and audible pagers are not to be used in lectures, classrooms, or in libraries and study areas. If you need to have your phone on to receive an urgent call, it is courteous to check with the relevant lecturer/academic whether that would be acceptable.
New England Award
Many of you probably already have a clear sense of what it means to be a good, ethical, socially responsible person – a good citizen. You might be the sort of person who already does many “good” things within your community for purely altruistic reasons. Let’s admit though that every now and then it is great to have your efforts recognised. It’s also rewarding for others to show they appreciate what you are doing. The New England Award is UNE’s way of acknowledging the efforts you make to be a good citizen and is awarded at your graduation ceremony. You may be showing your sense of community by getting involved in social, cultural or sporting events, by being on a committee, by doing casual paid or volunteer work, by organising events within your community or college, or by engaging in a range of extracurricular activities like workshops on campus or online. Find out what sorts of on and off-campus activities are eligible for the New England Award here.
Occupational Health and Safety
New students joining the UNE community bring with them a diverse range of backgrounds, values, and expectations. While such diversity is welcome, it can bring with it some challenges; for example, when expectations about what is deemed acceptable behaviours clash with what is expected in the UNE context. Students who are orienting to the new environment of tertiary study should feel welcomed and have a “compass” of sorts to guide them. That is partially what this A to Z guide aims to do. For more tips about how you can get the most of your orientation time at UNE, check out the UNE101 Online Orientation Moodle unit that all new students are enrolled in, and go to the “Commencing at Uni” tip sheets here.
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