Interrogating, Relating, and Prioritizing Values
For this exercise you will need to print a deck of our Values Cards. These cards are the result of multiple brainstorming sessions, the first of which involved the team imagining the values that would underpin and fortify an ideal academy; those suggested values were then contested, reframed, and augmented by attendees at our in-person workshops.
You may find values in this deck that you don’t share, or that you would frame differently or accord a different valence. That’s good! The goal here is never to create a single, universal values framework to be applied broadly across academia. Trying to find a one-size-fits-all evaluator is what led us to the overly quantified, paternalistic metrics system that we currently find ourselves within. Instead, these values should be sourced from the people who will enact them in their work, be made clear to the people who will be evaluating that work, and become the basis for specific, agile indicators of success.
In this exercise, you will work in small groups to establish values-based frameworks for research and scholarly evaluation. The goal is to (a) have a frank discussion with a group of colleagues about what you value, and what you don’t; (b) agree on a set of terms that describe those values; and (c) organize those values into a coherent framework.
Breakout Exercise (groups of 4-5)
Time needed: ~45 minutes
Divide your participants into small groups of four or five and lay out all value cards.
Ask each group to consider the following questions:
- Do certain values conflict with one another or exist in tension with others? How might you mediate that tension?
- Are there values that are missing? Values that don’t fit?
- How is this best organized to indicate what matters most to you as a group?
Remember that these are just suggestions — you can use these terms, change them up, add new ones, or discard them. The idea is to understand how values can exist in tension, can be organized in relationship to each other, and can complement and work in tandem with each other, and to come up with a set of values that you all can agree upon and then to arrange these into a framework that makes sense to you as a group.
You can use the included HuMetricsHSS framework as an example, but it should not a direct guide. Visualize your framework in whatever way makes most sense to you and your group.
Each group should also decide on a reporter, who will speak for their group when the time is up.
Time depends on the number of groups
Each group should report back on the process the undertook and the framework they have developed. A discussion with the entire large group might include consideration of both the similarities and differences each group took in approach and framework development.
Now that you have your framework(s) laid out, you’ll use that framework to consider the processes and products you broke down in Exercise 1. Think about the decision points you identified, and how you might make those choices differently in light of the values you’ve identified as mattering to you. If, for example, you’ve placed Equity prominently in your framework and you’re putting together an exhibit, you might now think differently about questions of audience, price and accessibility, and the range of stories you are telling.
Next, we’ll explore how you might demonstrate that you’re making those choices in line with your values to the people and systems set up to evaluate you.
If you are running a full-day workshop, now is a good time for a lunch break, followed by Exercise 3: Making the Work Legible.