Faculty Code of Ethics

Sterling strives to develop leaders

2.9.2 Code of Professional Ethics

Although no set of rules or professional code can either guarantee or take the place of the faculty's personal integrity, the faculty of Sterling College believe that a written code of ethics may serve as a reminder of the variety of obligations assumed by all members of the academic profession.

2.9.2.1 The Statement

The following Code of Professional Ethics was adopted by the Faculty Assembly November 19, 1986.

Code Of Professional Ethics

We, the faculty of Sterling College, recognizing that the education profession must accept responsibility for the conduct of its members, agrees to judge our colleagues and be judged by them in accordance with this Code.

We adopt the following three statements edited from the Council of the American Association of University Professors as premises for our Code:

1. The faculty's responsibility to defend its freedoms cannot be separated from its responsibility to uphold those freedoms by its own actions.
2. Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators and trustees the following obligations:

a. to respect the dignity of others;
b. to acknowledge the right of others to express differing opinions; and

c. to foster and defend intellectual honesty. freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off campus.

3. Students are entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to evenhanded treatment in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship.
We affirm that the spirit of this Code is grounded in the Christian ethic of love for all persons and in individual responsibility to God and people. To this end, the aim of the Code is to encourage responsible actions, sensitivity, and mutual support among all members of the academic community.

Article I.
The Faculty Members' Responsibilities

Section 1. To Students

  1. Faculty members should base evaluation and credit on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, whether personality, race, religion, degree or nature of political activism, or personal beliefs.
  2. Faculty members should teach the assigned subject and not intrude irrelevant material.
  3. Faculty members should present the subject matter of courses as announced to students and as approved by the faculty in their collective responsibility for the curriculum.
  4. Faculty members should adequately prepare for classes.
  5. Faculty members should announce and maintain office hours on campus.
  6. Faculty members should adequately advise students.
  7. Faculty members should be punctual in starting and ending classes and should not cancel classes except infrequently and for compelling reasons.
  8. Faculty members should not exploit students for private advantage.
  9. Faculty members should adequately acknowledge significant assistance from students.
  10. Faculty members should acknowledge that term papers and other comparable projects are the property of students who prepare them. They should be returned to students who ask for them, and those which are not returned should be retained by the instructor for one term or a reasonable period considering the problem of storage. Faculty members who desire to retain a copy for their own files should state their intention to do so and prepare additional copies for themselves.
  11. Faculty members should take care that their personal relationships with students do not develop in ways that: a) could jeopardize objectivity of evaluations, and b) create a situation where the student becomes an instrument in personal conflicts or professional disagreements with colleagues or administrators. Item b), however, should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the statement concerning freedom of expression found in premise number two of this Code.
  12. Faculty members should maintain confidentiality in regard to student performance. Specific critiques of performance should not be discussed, even with colleagues, unless there is an academically grounded reason for that discussion.

Section 2. To other Faculty members

  1. Faculty members should not solicit criticisms of colleagues from students.
  2. If appropriate, faculty members should refer voluntary criticism of a colleague by students to the faculty member being criticized to the academic dean.
  3. Faculty members should not comment on teaching methods of a colleague in a manner that could undermine the colleague's efforts.
  4. Allegations of unprofessional conduct either to other colleagues or to the students are themselves unprofessional; the proper vehicle for complaints against faculty members is the Vice President for Academic Affairs or the established faculty grievance committee. Moreover, faculty members should consider an honest discussion with the allegedly erring colleague as a possible first step in resolution.
  5. Faculty members should acknowledge indebtedness to colleagues and other scholars by proper citation.
  6. Faculty members should strive to be objective in professional judgment of colleagues.
  7. Faculty members should accept a fair share of faculty responsibility for the governance of the institution.

Section 3. To the Administration

  1. Faculty members should notify the administration about work done outside the institution with due regard to their paramount responsibility within it. They should demonstrate to the administration's satisfaction that extra employment will not interfere with contractual obligations.
  2. Faculty members should promptly fulfill their administrative obligations.
  3. When considering termination of service, faculty members should recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.

Section 4. To the Institution as a whole

  1. Faculty members have full freedoms as citizens, but conflict may arise between claims of politics, social action, and conscience, on the one hand, and the contractual obligations to the institution on the other. If such conflicts become acute and citizen and moral obligations preclude fulfillment of substantial academic obligations, faculty members should request a leave or resign.
  2. Faculty members, when speaking or acting as private citizens, should avoid creating the impression that they speak or act for the College.
  3. Materials purchased with institutional funds should not be converted to personal profit by faculty members without reimbursement of the College for those materials. This refers to raw materials, not finished products which are the result of scholarly effort working upon the materials supplied by the College.

Article II.
What Faculty Members Expect from Administrators Regarding the Ethics Code

Section 1. To Faculty

  1. Administrators should give timely notification to faculty about judgments concerning their performance and about perceived violations of professional ethics or the employment agreement.
  2. Faculty members should be given the opportunity to inspect files and evidence concerning performance and professional ethics upon request. The material in the files shall be gathered in a manner that protects students and colleagues whose input is necessary for administrative decisions.
  3. Administrators should respect the confidentiality of information concerning faculty members' performance and violations of the Code of Ethics. Access to faculty personnel files is limited to those people and for those purposes described in Section 2.4.1 of this Faculty Handbook.
  4. Sanctions other than dismissal, such as written warnings and reprimands, should be developed as intermediate disciplinary measures.
  5. There should be due process and faculty participation in all disciplinary procedures, including any placing of negative comments in a file, other than the regularly conducted student evaluation polls.
  6. Administrators should respect the right of faculty members to criticize and seek revision of institutional regulations.

Section 2. To Students

  1. Administrators should employ faculty members qualified to teach the subjects assigned.
  2. Administrators are responsible for evaluation of faculty members in accordance with established criteria.
  3. Administrators are responsible for enforcement of professional ethics in cooperation with the appropriate faculty committees.

Section 3. To the Institution as a whole

Administrators are responsible for accurate and complete record keeping of all actions taken to enforce the Code of Professional Ethics.