The Stockbridge School of Agriculture’s core values and expectations are rooted in our mission to educate leaders and generate new knowledge in agricultural plant and soil science. The following core values guide our decision making and inspire us to advance a community in which everyone can thrive. We expect all SSA community members to adhere to these values.

1. We are defining, establishing, and leading the disciplines of agricultural plant and soil science.

  • We use interdisciplinary approaches to understand agricultural and environmental systems.
  • We train scientists and practitioners who value societal contribution and collegiality and who work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.
  • We uphold the principles of the scientific method through our research, actions, and communications.

2. We support a diverse and inclusive community.

  • We value and actively promote a faculty, staff, postdoctoral, and student community of diverse races, nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender expressions and gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, educational backgrounds, and intellectual convictions.
  • We take action to ensure that every community member is empowered to take full advantage of opportunities for learning, discovery, and personal growth at UMass Amherst.
  • We respect each other’s time and actively seek to meet individual needs of community members when scheduling departmental events.
  • We engage in open, respectful discourse and the exchange of ideas from a wide variety of perspectives.
  • We welcome feedback from all community members and pledge to respond to community needs and concerns.
  • We encourage all faculty, staff, postdocs and students to contribute to an inclusive atmosphere by actively participating in departmental events such as seminars, thesis defenses, and social gatherings.
  • We encourage, incentivize and reward participation in departmental decision making.


3. We provide a safe environment for learning, working, and living in which everyone can thrive.

  • We affirm that nothing takes precedence over the physical and mental health and wellness of our community members.
  • All community members treat one another with respect and professionalism.
  • We acknowledge that the hierarchy within academia results in power imbalances. Regardless of a community member’s status as a student, faculty member, postdoctoral associate or fellow, scientific staff member, or other staff member, we do not permit any unequal power dynamics to affect our commitment to these shared values.
  • We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment. We will comply with the letter and spirit of the law and UMass Amherst policy when responding to discrimination and harassment.
  • We hold ourselves to the highest standards of workplace safety

Every community member has a right to fair, legal, and ethical treatment. Members who experience or witness behavior contrary to these values should seek support. Available resources include departmental administration (e.g. the SSA Director, the Undergraduate and Graduate Program Chairs), student groups (e.g. Graduate Employee Organization), and campus resources such as the Center for Women and Community, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, the Dean of Students Main office, the Graduate School, Single Stop Resources, the Student Legal Services Office, and the Title IX Office at UMass Amherst.

Further online resources are can be found here: https://www.umass.edu/studentlife/advocacy-inclusion-support