Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

How we put our values into practice

Main content start

The bridge from aspirational values to lived practice requires that we adhere to the highest standards of ethical practice, open ourselves to learning and growth, and maintain principles that value human difference, dignity, and respect.  It further requires that we hold ourselves and our community accountable for the impact of our actions. 

To Whom Does this Apply?

All members of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability community are responsible for upholding our values and for creating a working and learning environment that brings these values to concrete expression in our everyday lives. This community includes undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and academic staff, postdoctoral scholars, visiting scholars/fellows, research staff, and administrative staff affiliated with the School. It also includes invited guests and visitors, volunteers, consultants, contractors, and others performing services for the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability community.

Those in leadership roles, including all faculty members, supervisors, managers, and academic advisors, should be especially aware of the impact of their behavior on students, staff members, and other colleagues, and as such, should consider themselves as role models in the promotion of these values and practices.

Where Does this Apply?

We represent Stanford and our values when we are on and off campus, in the field, and at professional gatherings. Because field education and research is such a key part of our community—and may bring specific challenges. Read more in Field Expectations.


The Stanford Code of Conduct sets out a comprehensive series of policies and expectations that each of us commits to following as citizens of the University. Within that context, we recognize that a culture of professionalism and respect is necessary to the academic success and well-being of all members of our Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability community. Behaviors that contravene this culture hinder scientific advancement, productivity, and innovation within our School; and they undermine well-being, meaningful work, and professional success. Such behaviors can do real, irreparable harm.

We join our university and professional societies in stating that we do not tolerate behaviors that discriminate against, harass, sexually harass, bully, or retaliate against others in our academic and other professional activities.  Our principles are drawn from the Stanford Code of Conduct and the Fundamental Standard, as well as the Lamont Code of Conduct (2019) at Columbia, guidelines for professional practice found in GSA’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (2019) and in AGU’s Scientific Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics (2017). Many in Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability are members of AGU and/or GSA and we encourage the application of relevant practices in our community where they do not conflict with Stanford’s Code of Conduct.

To move values into practice, we expect our community to:

  • Listen to others’ points of view and respectfully seek to understand them, acknowledging that those in power or positions of privilege have a real opportunity to encourage inclusion and, intentionally or not, may do harm by discouraging expression.
  • Ensure equitable access to learning and research opportunities, deploying inclusive teaching strategies, supporting productive collaboration and honest communication, challenging assumptions that limit opportunity, and mitigating barriers to success.
  • Provide opportunity for growth and career advancement, creating an environment that recognizes the unique qualities, talents, and perspectives of each individual and in which each person can flourish and thrive.
  • Understand and mentor across difference, recognizing the barriers in the institutional environment and career advancement that will vary because each of us brings a difference in background, identity, privilege, and cultural sensitivity to our academic home.
  • Recognize that solutions reside in the institution as well as the individual, owning responsibility to question and improve our institutional climate even as we help strengthen individual resilience.
  • Act when we have concerns on behalf of ourselves or othersunderstanding that action may take different forms—direct, delegated, deferred—depending upon the circumstances and individuals involved.    

Our community is broad and we apply these practices in varied contexts. Each of the above points calls out for further expansion and contextual elaboration to create local meanings that guide professional behavior. We invite all members of our community to engage in the necessary conversations that bring these ideas to practical and relevant application.


Each member of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability community contributes to the realization of our values through their own behavior and as an upstander who acts on behalf of others. An upstander is a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked, harassed, or bullied. This is often contrasted to a “bystander,” who sees, but fails to act in support.

Anyone who believes they have been subjected to any form of harassment, discrimination, or abusive conduct should connect to resources and reporting structures appropriate to the situation. Each University or School policy has its own review process and possible outcomes.

Individuals found to have violated a University or School policy or who fail to live up to our values may incur a range of consequences. For students, these include (but are not limited to): constructive conversation, formal warning, grade impact, community service, suspension, and expulsion. For faculty and staff, these may include (but are not limited to): constructive conversation, formal warning, salary and/or promotion impact, restriction on accepting/advising students or supervising others, removal from leadership positions, and termination.


The following terms describe inappropriate and unwelcome conduct in the workplace. All are behaviors that are damaging to those impacted and some are also illegal.


Unequal or unfair treatment in professional opportunities, education, benefits, evaluation, and employment (such as hiring, termination, promotion, compensation) as well as retaliation and various types of harassment. Stanford University does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in connection with any aspect of employment at Stanford. See Policy 1.7.4 Stanford Code of Conduct.


A type of discrimination characterized by unwanted, unwelcome, demeaning, abusive, or offensive behavior toward individuals based on any characteristic protected by law. Offensive conduct constitutes harassment when unwanted behaviors 1) become a condition of access to an opportunity, education, benefit, evaluation, or employment; or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work or educational environment that most people would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. These acts may include epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping based on gender, race and ethnicity, sexual identity, or other categories protected by law. Also included as manifestations of harassment are threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and displays; or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.

Sexual Harassment

Unwanted and/or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or contact, and other verbal, physical, visual conduct of a sexual nature become sexual harassment when:

It is implicitly or explicitly suggested that submission to or rejection of the conduct will be a factor in academic or employment decisions or evaluations, or permission to participate in a University activity (Quid Pro Quo),  OR

The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic, work or student living environment (Hostile Environment). See policy 1.7.4 Stanford Code of Conduct


Bullying and Abusive Conduct

Malicious behavior often involving power or perceived vulnerability that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to legitimate business/academic interests. It can include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as remarks, insults, epithets; or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; or gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.  Typically, a single act does not constitute abusive behavior.


Brief verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults that, intentionally or not, send denigrating or unwelcomed messages to any group, particularly underrepresented and/or marginalized individuals.