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2012-2013 Impact Report

Author: Sarah Parshall, Civility Project Intern Fall 2013

In order to promote the core values of the Civility Project, a presentation on civility, conflict management and communication is administered through the Office of the Ombudsman at Mason. This interactive presentation seeks to engage students in dialogue around various scenarios and incidents involving communication, conflict management and civility. In evaluating the effectiveness of this presentation, evaluations were administered that contained three questions that were used to measure the impact of the presentation. The first question asked whether participants felt that they had learned about the services and resources of the Office of the Ombudsman through the presentation. Out of the 185 responses, 60% of respondents strongly agreed that what they had learned about the services of the Ombudsman through the presentation while 33% agree and only 4% listed there response as “undecided”. Less than 2% “disagree” and less than 2% “strongly disagree” on the answer to this question. Comparing this set of data to that conducted through evaluations in Fall 2012, one can see that there has been a 9% increase in respondents who strongly believed that they had learned about the services and resources of the Office of the Ombudsman through the presentation. However, there was a 4% decrease in those who listed their response as “agree” (33% stated they agreed in Fall 2013 while 37% agreed in Fall 2012). In Fall 2012, 8% said they were “undecided” while for 2013 only 4% listed their response as “undecided”. In Fall 2012, 4% disagreed with the statement while in 2013, less than 2% of the participants listed their response as either “disagree” or “strongly disagree”.

The second question in the evaluation survey asked the respondents if they had learned about conflict management skills, active listening and civility through this presentation. Out of the 185 responses, 68% of the respondents “strongly agreed” and 27% “agreed” that they had learned about conflict management skills, active listening and civility. Only 3% of the respondents said they were undecided while 2% of the respondents disagreed and less than 1% strongly disagreed. Comparing this set of data to that in Fall 2012, one can see that there was a 2% decrease in respondents that “strongly agreed” with the statement with a 1% increase in the respondents who “agreed” with the statement. There was a 1% decrease in respondents who were “undecided” with a slight increase in respondents from Fall 2013 that listed their response as either “disagree” or “strongly disagree”: 2% “disagreed” and less than 1% “strongly disagreed” compared to 0% of respondents in both these categories in Fall 2012.

The third question states “I believe the information learned during this presentation will help me in my college and personal life” out of the 169 responses in Fall 2013, 60% strongly agree with this statement while 30% agreed with this statement. 9% of the responses stated they were undecided, less than 1% disagreed and no one strongly disagreed with this statement. Comparing this data set to that in Fall 2012, once can see that in Fall 2013 there was a 4% increase in respondents that “strongly agreed” with the statement. However, there was a 3% decrease from Fall 2013 in the respondents that “agreed” with the statement. There was a 3% decrease in Fall 2013 data to respondents that listed their response as “undecided”. Respondents that listed their responses as “disagree” were 1% for both years.

On November 20, 2013 the Civility Project launched the first campus-wide civility event called, “Is Civility Dead? Campus Kindness Movement”. This event sought to promote the Civility Project as well as engage student in meaningful dialogue on civility. The event featured an interactive theater forum, which revolved around the retelling of personal experiences on campus. This event was followed by a presentation on how to be an informed bystander with meaningful debrief questions that were conducted through round table discussions.

An in depth evaluation was conducted through this presentation. One of the statements was “I am likely to use the nine tools of civility in my future interactions”. Out of 28 responses, 9 respondents circled “10” and 6 respondents circled “9” on the likert scale as being “very likely” to use the nine tools of civility. Another statement said, “I feel equipped to be an engaged bystander”.  Out of 28 responses, 10 people circled “10” and 5 people circled “9” as strongly agreeing with the statement. The third statement read, “I have gained valuable insight into civility at Mason.” Out of 28 responses, 11 respondents circled “10” and 4 respondents circled “9” as strongly agreeing with the statement.  These statistics reveal that over 50 percent of the respondents either strongly agreed with said statement or were very likely to use the nine tools of civility in the future.

The 2013 evaluation statistics for the presentation on civility, conflict management and communication show that they have made a staggering impact on students. Out of the respondents to question number two on the presentation evaluation, 95% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they had learned something about conflict management skills, active listening and civility. Out of the respondents to question number three, 90% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the information in the presentation would help them in their college and personal life. These statistics emphasize the importance to carry on discussion around civility and effective communication at George Mason University in order to continue to develop the University’s values of freedom and learning.

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