In developing a statement of faculty responsibilities and ethical standards, Texas Woman's University subscribes to the belief that self-regulation is preferable to any externally imposed discipline.
Despite the fluidity of moral standards, certain principles seem to shape the development of moral thinking and therefore direct most ethical policies. Four such principles are beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice, and autonomy. Beneficence means doing good, or acting in a positive manner with kindness and charity towards others. Nonmaleficence demands refraining from behaviors that might aggravate a problem or cause a negative response. Such restraint implies the obligation of primum non nocere, or "do no harm." Justice can be described as fairness, that all people should receive what is due to them. The principle of justice is meant to address the problems of social inequity caused by culturally and economically diverse populations. Finally, autonomy encourages us to allow individuals to be as independent as possible, to permit them to make their own choices, and to govern themselves.
The following policy has been modified from the AAUP "Statement on Professional Ethics" (1987).
Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the unique responsibilities placed upon faculty to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end, they must devote their energies to develop and improve scholarly competence. Faculty are obligated to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They must be aware of their limitations, including their levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Professors must seek to be cognizant of current trends and developments in their professional areas. They are expected to practice intellectual honesty at all times.
Professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before students the best scholarly standards for their discipline. They demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper role as intellectual mentor. Faculty refrain from acting in a way that may prove demeaning or discriminating to a student. They make every reasonable effort to assure that the evaluation of students reflects the students' true merits. Professors recognize the confidential nature of the relationship between instructor and student (Family Educational rights and Privacy Act, 1998). Acknowledging that they hold power over their students, faculty avoid exploitation, either in a psychological, financial, or sexual manner.
As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, faculty show due respect for the opinion of others and strive to be objective. They accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of the institution and put forth honest effort in the performance of their duties.
As members of their institution, faculty seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although they observe the stated regulations, provided they do not contravene academic freedom within the institution, they maintain the right to criticize and seek revision. Professors determine the amount and character of the work they do outside the institution with due regard to their paramount responsibilities within it.
As members of the community, professors have the rights and responsibilities of citizens. They measure the urgency of the obligations in the light of their responsibilities to the student, to their profession, and to their institution.
page last updated 2/1/2013 1:47 PM