Dean's Message

The importance of knowing our values

values racial justice
By Elizabeth Wentz and Tamara Underiner on October 11, 2021

Last month we welcomed you back to a “new normal” school year, reflecting on how resilient we have been during the pandemic. As we’ve gathered back together in real life, we’ve also had more up close and personal opportunities to experience the “new normal” of a university doing the important work of reckoning with racial injustice. 

We are not alone. Across the nation, colleges and universities have taken up this important work. Earlier this year, for example, the American Association of Colleges and Universities convened a symposium asking “how higher education is—or ought to be—responding to this moment of racial reckoning.” Among the questions participants explored were: 

  • How can institutions move beyond making statements and act to create meaningful change?
  • How has the current global climate contributed to the increase in racist and other discriminatory incidents on campus, and what can be done to reverse the trend?
  • How are faculty being prepared to address racism and equity issues in the classroom?

There are many points of entry into such work, but the most successful outcomes stem from the authentic and explicit values of those who undertake them. Authentic values, whether explicit or implicit, are always at work; they serve as a guide for decision-making at all levels, from the highest-order strategic planning to the most on-the-spot response to a spontaneous conversation.

Institutional values

The Graduate College’s values are forged through our mission to enrich and advance the graduate school experience for all students and to build a student-centered culture with a commitment to inclusion and innovation, in line with the ASU charter and values. As an institution of learning at the highest level, ASU rests on a commitment to freedom of inquiry, allied to the freedom of speech, in pursuit of the truth. We can only find it together through rigorous and respectful debate, and one of our most important jobs is to create and foster the opportunities for that to happen.

Distinguished Lecture Andre Perry

One such opportunity is next week's Graduate College Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Andre Perry: Canceling student debt is anti-racist (and why we must do it). Dr. Perry, a Brookings Institution fellow, will discuss how centering student debt policy around students of color would help to combat historic systemic racism that has prevented Black people and people of color from gaining the wealth they were denied for centuries—making it more difficult for them to pay back their student loans, acquire homes and start businesses.

You can attend the Distinguished Lecture in person or virtually. Dr. Battinto L. Batts Jr., dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU, will lead the discussion in his role as an award-winning journalist. 

Register today!

Personal Values

Personal values represent how one ascribes importance to ideas around what is moral, fair, ethical and desirable. It is minding our personal values that helps us decide what is important to us and how to make good decisions. If we are clear about our own values, we have a foundation for making decisions we are comfortable with. When we aren’t clear about our values, we leave ourselves more vulnerable to doubt and confusion. In those moments, taking a breath and thinking about what we value gives us the space we need to stay true to ourselves when it counts. 

Conduct a personal values inventory

A great way to clarify your personal values is to list and define them. Here is a list of 100 values. Look through the list below and select your top 10. Which values really define you? Which of these are really aspirational? Reflect on what was hard about picking just 10? Doing a personal values inventory like this once or twice a year is a great way to align your decision-making and goals and to keep yourself on track when the going gets tough.








Vice Provost and Dean, Elizabeth Wentz

Associate Dean, Tamara Underiner