Lecture focuses on respectful academic workplaces

The Centre for Human Rights at York University will host a public lecture titled “Respectful Academic Workplaces” on Thursday, March 18, from 12:30 to 2pm. University of Waterloo sociology Professor Kenneth Westhues will deliver the lecture, which will be followed by an optional workshop from 2:30 to 4pm.

For the past 15 years, Westhues has been studying conflict in the academic workplace, with the goal of producing knowledge that is empirically sound and of practical value for resolving conflict fairly and constructively.

His research on the distinct phenomenon of "mobbing" produces knowledge that is essential to the building of a respectful workplace in the university setting. Westhues has lectured on this topic at dozens of conferences and universities, including most recently at the American Association of University Professors’ international conference, Globalization, Shared Governance & Academic Freedom, and at the 2010 annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. He has served as expert witness and consultant in numerous disputes in collegial governance. 

Westhues is the former chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Waterloo, where he has taught since 1975, except for visiting appointments at Fordham University in New York, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Graz in Austria. 

Books on the subject by Westhues include The Remedy and Prevention of Mobbing in Higher Education (Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), Workplace Mobbing in Academe (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004), The Envy of Excellence (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004) and Eliminating Professors (Edwin Mellen Press,1998). 

Thursday’s lecture is open to the entire York community. It will take place in the Stong College Master’s Dining Room, 101 Stong College. The follow-up workshop will run from 2:30 to 4pm in Sylvester’s Lounge, 315 Stong College. Registration is required for the workshop and spaces are limited. To RSVP, e-mail Zahida Kothdiwala, client services assistant at the Centre for Human Rights.