Penn State Values FAQs

January 27, 2016

Interested in learning more about the Penn State Values? Here is a list of frequently asked questions

Q: Where did these Values come from?

The Penn State Values are not a collection of newly-established, arbitrary ideals that have been handed down from University administration. Rather, they are the first clear articulation of the values that Penn State and Penn Staters already hold. They were developed over a four-year period starting at the beginning of the 2011 fall semester through the summer of 2015. More than 14,600 faculty, staff and students participated in the Values and Culture Survey in 2013, providing valuable input for creation of a draft version of the Values, crafted by the Advisory Council for Continued Excellence (a representative committee of faculty, staff, students, administrators and trustees). Feedback from more than 2,200 faculty, staff and students who participated in town hall meetings in spring 2015 resulted in several revisions of the draft version. The final version was approved by President’s Council and reviewed by the Board of Trustees.

Q: How do the Values affect me at Penn State?

The Values are our ideals and our aspirations. They should also serve as our University’s ethical principles and, in conjunction with the University’s mission, form the basis for our actions at Penn State.

Q: These Values are different than the values for my unit or college. Which ones should I follow?

The Penn State Values are for the entire University, every faculty member, staff and student. Each unit may have a few additional values that represent particular ideals that are relevant to that unit or college, but the Penn State Values are what unites us all.

Q: What happens if a situation arises in which one or more Values seem to conflict with each other?

Sometimes the Values will conflict with each other. For example, the responsibility to keep educational material costs low for students may conflict with the desire for excellence and discovery in the classroom by having the latest or best possible materials, which may cost considerably more for students. When faced with this or any dilemma, the Penn State Values should always be considered as a whole. The Penn State Ethical Decision-Making Model is a tool to provide guidance in situations where Values may conflict and appear to recommend different courses of action.

Q: What impact will the Values have on decisions made by the University?

The Values are integrated into Penn State's Strategic Plan. As a result, they will guide our institutional actions and decisions and should be considered when University, unit, and college decisions are made.

Q: Will we be held accountable for and be assessed on the Penn State Values?

The Penn State Values represent our ideals, so no one will ever live them out completely, fully or perfectly. However, we should each have a commitment to living out the Values as best we can, whether we are faculty, staff or students. Discussion on how and when assessment on the Values will be integrated into performance assessments and the Student Code of Conduct are ongoing.

Last Updated January 28, 2016