Spring cleaning is synonymous with leaving winter months behind. In the northern hemisphere, the time for spring cleaning is quickly approaching. As we declutter from the hibernation-like state experienced during the short days and limited opportunities to be outside, we clear our hearts and minds. The Cleveland Clinic gives us seven reasons spring cleaning benefits our health: feelings of accomplishment, destressing, finding peace, improving focus, reducing hazards, increasing movement, and decreasing depressive symptoms. These are wonderful reasons to clean out our living spaces, but we do not always apply these same concepts in our workspaces.

How can we spring clean our jobs? We can start by taking an inventory of our policies and processes. If you need help with this, you may wish to participate in AIRS, the McCabe-ICAI Student Survey, or the McCabe-ICAI Faculty Survey. Each of these represents different ways to measure what you have on your campus and how it is received by faculty and students. With AIRS, you can inventory everything you have with a small team to help. The McCabe-ICAI Surveys give you information on your institution's integrity climate and the effectiveness of your offices. Without knowing the status of academic integrity on our campuses, we cannot declutter our policies, practices, and office spaces.

Once we have an inventory of the tools in our arsenal, we can decide which to keep, modify, or remove. It may take some time, and you may have to work within your institution's governance structure. For the policies, practices, and projects that are working, this may be a time to advertise or market your services to faculty and administrators. Humility is a virtue, but your institution cannot have a culture of integrity if no one knows what academic integrity is or that there is support for academically honest work. Some projects may need some work, and spring cleaning can also help you prioritize what needs to be modified and where you should spend your time. Conversely, for activities that provide no utility in building a culture of integrity, now may be the time to cut that out of your work. It can be hard to let go, but it is beneficial to focus on the programs that have potential rather than futile efforts.  

You may wonder why you should bother. In the era of burnout and increased case loads from COVID-19 and new artificial intelligence capabilities, supporting our health in the workplace should be a priority. If practitioners can cut the baggage and focus on programs and policies that are having a tangible impact on our campuses, we can hopefully find those feelings of accomplishment and reduced levels of stress that take place when we spring clean our homes.

How do you plan to spring clean your practices? Connect with ICAI on social media to share your spring cleaning strategies.