Professional Policies & Faculty Responsibilities — Professional Ethics & Academic Responsibility

General Principles

As per the Operations Manual, III-15.1:

The basic functions of the University are the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, the development of critical intelligence, and the education of citizens and professional workers for the society of which the University is a part.

The indispensable condition for the successful discharge of these functions is an atmosphere of intellectual freedom. Unless he or she is free to pursue the quest for knowledge and understanding, wherever it may lead, and to report and discuss the findings, whatever they may be, the University faculty member cannot properly perform his or her work. As a participant in an enterprise that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, the faculty member has a special interest in promoting conditions of free inquiry and furthering public understanding of academic freedom.

Freedom entails responsibilities. It is incumbent upon the faculty member to accept the responsibilities which are concomitant with the freedom he or she needs.

Those responsibilities are (1) to students, (2) to scholarship, (3) to colleagues, (4) to the University, and (5) to the larger community which the University serves. To make these responsibilities operational, it is necessary that ethical and professional standards be adopted to guide faculty members in their conduct and that effective mechanisms be established to monitor and enforce compliance with these standards.

Responsibilities to Students

As per the Operations Manual, III-15.2:

As a teacher, the faculty member has the responsibility for creating in his or her classroom or laboratory a climate that encourages the student to learn. The faculty member should exemplify high scholarly standards and respect and foster the student's right to choose and pursue his or her own educational goals.

(a) The faculty member must make clear the objectives of the course or program, establish requirements, set standards of achievement, and evaluate the student's performance.

(b) The faculty member has the responsibility to meet classes as scheduled and, when circumstances prevent this, to arrange equivalent alternate instruction.

(c) The faculty member has the responsibility to teach courses in a manner that is consistent with the course description and credit published in the catalogue and with the announced objectives of the course. He or she must not intentionally interject into classes material or personal views that have no pedagogical relationship to the subject matter of the course.

(d) In order to facilitate student learning, faculty members should present the appropriate context for course content. While challenge is essential to good teaching, challenge is ordinarily most effective when students are adequately prepared to deal with course materials. On controversial issues within the scope of the course a reasonable range of opinion should be presented. When the faculty member presents his or her own views on such issues, they should always be identified as such. Wherever values, judgments, or speculative opinions constitute part of the subject matter, they should be identified as such and should not be offered as fact.

(e) The faculty member owes to the student and the University a fair and impartial evaluation of the student's work. Such evaluation should be consistent with recognized standards and must not be influenced by irrelevancies such as religion, race, sex, or political views, or be based on the student's agreement with the teacher's opinion pertaining to matters of controversy within the discipline.

(f) Every student is entitled to the same intellectual freedom which the faculty member enjoys. The faculty member must respect that freedom. Restraint must not be imposed upon the student's search for or consideration of diverse or contrary opinion. More positively, the faculty member has an obligation to protect the student's freedom to learn, especially when that freedom is threatened by repressive or disruptive action.

The classroom must remain a place where free and open discussion of all content and issues relevant to a course can take place. While students remain responsible for learning class material and completion of course requirements, faculty should respect reasonable decisions by students, based on their exercise of their own intellectual freedom, to not attend part or all of a particular class session.

(g) The faculty member has obligations as an intellectual guide and counselor to students. He or she has a responsibility to be available to students for private conferences. In advising students, every reasonable effort should be made to see that information given to them is accurate. The progress of students in achieving their academic goals should not be thwarted or retarded unreasonably because a faculty member has neglected his or her obligation as adviser and counselor.

(h) The faculty member should conduct himself or herself at all times so as to demonstrate respect for the student. He or she should always respect the confidence deriving from the faculty-student relationship.

(i) The faculty member must avoid exploitation of students for personal advantage. For example, in writings and oral presentations due acknowledgment of their contributions to the work should be made.

Responsibilities to Colleagues

As per the Operations Manual, III-15.4:

As a colleague, the faculty member has obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. He or she respects and defends the free inquiry of associates and avoids interference with their work. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, he or she shows due respect for the rights of others to their opinions. He or she refrains from personal vilification and acknowledges contributions of others to his or her work. When asked to evaluate the professional performance of a colleague, the faculty member strives to be objective.