Case #1: Be respectful, fair, and civil.

One morning, Nicole, a program coordinator, gets a call from Sue, a Principal Investigator, asking her whether the award for Sue’s most recent grant project has been finalized.  Sue is very concerned about tight deadlines and is upset that Nicole has not heard from the Office of Sponsored Projects about the status of the award.  Sue tells Nicole that her position within the unit may have to be reconsidered if the award is not made.  Nicole feels distressed when she contacts the grant officer, and when she learns that the contract has not yet been signed, Nicole loses her temper.  She curses and yells over the phone at the grants officer that it must get resolved or else she may be responsible for Nicole losing her job and for Sue missing her deadlines.  Afterward, Nicole feels badly for the way she handled the call with the grant officer.

What should Nicole do?

    1. Tell Sue that she will no longer interact with OSP on her behalf.
    2. Call the grant officer to admit that she was wrong to curse and yell and to apologize for her behavior.
    3. Call Sue and tell her it is the grant officer’s fault that she will miss her deadlines.

B.   Every UAB community member is expected to adhere to the highest professional standards of conduct.  This means treating others with respect, even when bad news is being delivered or when tensions are running high.  Nicole was clearly out of line in cursing and yelling at the grants officer, and she recognized it after the phone call ended.  To fulfill the expectations of the UAB Enterprise Code of Conduct, Nicole should be personally accountable for her actions and admit mistakes she makes in the course of her work.  This would suggest that she call the grant officer to offer a direct apology for her behavior and more calmly and sensibly seek information or resolution.