This blogpost and podcast is for our colleagues in higher educations, professors, the world over.

Creating Positive Collegial Relationships

How to create positive collegial relationships.

Excerpts from the podcast via iTunes or StitcherSmartRadio

Through the eyes of our students, the college environment.

  • Part of the joy about being in the college environment as a student is being around people who know huge amounts of things that you do not.
  • Student:  “College is great! I’ve never thought about this stuff before!”

How faculty may see the college environment.

  • Do we view our environment only as our office or department?
  • Do we become limited in our view of these special places of learning and teaching?

Our students are experiencing the college – as a whole – and for the first time!
Our students are coming alive intellectually. In order for us faculty to “stay alive,” we need to experience the college a LARGE place.

What are some ways for us to meet all these great people who have knowledge that we don’t have?

  • Non work related activities can expose us to our colleagues in a new way where we can genuinely get to know one another. Traveling to a conference together can be very beneficial for our relationships.

Student Caring

  •  Welcome week or faculty development opportunities can be excellent opportunities to interact with colleagues and get to know them on a human level.
  • On a day-to-day bases, a meal or coffee together can provide us with that opportunity to make a new friend.
  • You could even invade other territories! If you teach in the art department, go visit the place where the scientists dine, or invite them to your place.
  • Events can provide opportunities for heathy interactions. Perhaps a lecture or play can provide you with a new learning and friend-making opportunity.
  • Committee work, that which most faculty are required to do, can provide you with an opportunity to meet new people. Yes, even a hiring committee can help you to get to know folks outside of your discipline.


Some rules for creating new and positive collegial relationships.

  • RULE #1. Think of the people as people.
    • Resist the urge to categorize them based upon what they do or the topic of their specialty.
  • RULE #2. Don’t fall into the political trap of guarding your own turf.
    • Show some interest in the other person’s turf. Ask them what’s important to them.
  • RULE #3. Look for that common ground between you and your colleague that has nothing to do with the college environment.
    • “Hello, what is your daily commute like?”
    • “Hi, I saw this movie the other day that I can recommend, have you seen it yet?”
  • Look for shared experiences with your struggles and successes in your teaching.

We may be in different departments, but were professors and that makes us a pretty small sub-group.
We actually have quite a bit in common.


We welcome your feedback to our work.

Email:  General Information   |   Dr. Daniel de Roulet   |   Prof. David C. Pecoraro

Thank you!

Daniel & David


Right or control click here to download the MP3 of the Podcast.

 How to Create Positive Collegial Relationships

SC 103  #2. How to create positive collegial relationships.


Community Feedback:

Dr. Shagufta Tahir Mufti         via LinkedIn Group:  The Teaching Professor 
Associate Professor , Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at King Abdulaziz University

David it all starts with how one defines “Collegiality.” Traditionally it can be defined as the ability for an individual to work productively with faculty, students, colleagues, administrative and technical staff members in all environments impacted by the university. However it should not be confused with sociability or likability. It is the professional criterion relating to the individual’s performance of his or her duties within an academic unit that are compatible and consistent with the unit’s mission and long-term goals.

It encompasses the basics of the professional ethics of the academic world: Respect for persons, integrity of intellectual inquiry and appreciation for positive contribution , concern for the needs and rights of students and awareness of workplace safety.

Needless to say that one must interact with colleagues with civility and professional respect, exhibit an ability and willingness, when appropriate, to engage in shared academic and administrative tasks that a department group must perform, and participate with some measure of reason and knowledge in discussions germane to department policies and programs.

I agree with David and Daniel’s policy to some extent that non academic social contact helps to foster better collegiate relations , but not all the time.In my experience one of the important factors is the level of sensitivity a faculty member possesses for his or her colleagues and his or her perception of their emotions. It is only when we care how others might feel with our behavior or even performance that we truly value our relations with them. Otherwise it is all only ” academic”.


John A. Hancock
Visual Artist, Art Educator, & Art Consultant

Collegiality also bespeaks a willingness to at times defer. Deferring, not in un-reasoned supplication, but in a deep honoring of the collective judgement of the group. As Dr. Shagufta says, this stems from first a real human sensitivity, an honoring of what each and every one of our colleagues brings to the table … despite their and our own veniality, prejudices, and brilliance.

One must admit too that improper or even just less than sensitive collegial efforts, plans, and decision making can easily partake of a negative form of conservative thinking … that of an unwillingness to embrace new, unfamiliar, and potentially “sea changing” ideas/information. Just ask a Millennial colleague!

Sadly, collegiality often falls victim to those that abuse it or have no belief in/desire to seek out its positive aspects. in many committees, departments, whole schools and colleges we often settle for lessor forms of collective decision making … a “winner takes all” democracy or, even worse, our quiet acquiesce to a popular proposal or idea and then sniping or complaining about the decision afterwards.