Faculty Responsibilities to Students

No. 9-5 Rev. 5-1-18 Date 3-7-74


AAUP Statement of Professional Ethics (1966)


A. Ethical Canons

As teachers, faculty encourage the free pursuit of learning in students. Faculty hold before themselves the best scholarly standards of their disciplines. They demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides and counselors. Faculty make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that the evaluations of their students reflect their true merits. Faculty respect the confidential nature of the relationship between faculty or student. They avoid any exploitation of students for private advantage and acknowledge significant assistance from them. Faculty protect their students' academic freedom (based upon the AAUP Statement of Professional Ethics, 1966).

B. Standards of Behavior

1. The central responsibility of the faculty to students is to attempt to impart to them the knowledge and understanding of the faculty member's field of study and to encourage them to develop within themselves appropriate and relevant skills, particularly the ability to reason with and use this knowledge and to do so in accordance with the best standards of scholarship and pedagogy in the discipline.

2. The faculty at large has the right to determine course content. However, once approval for course offerings has been granted, the individual faculty member is obligated to teach the course in reasonable conformity with the course description, content and method announced in advance. The faculty member has the right to determine the manner of presentation. The academic freedom of the student as well as of the faculty member must be observed. While teachers are free to interrelate subject matter of their courses to contemporary issues which they find usefully relevant, they are primarily responsible for providing instruction in the announced subject matter and techniques of the course.

3. Faculty members have a responsibility to their students to entertain all relevant questions and to discuss controversial questions objectively and freely. Where faculty members find it pedagogically useful to advocate a position on controversial matters, they should exercise care to assure that opportunities exist for students to consider other views. Faculty members shall not reward agreement or penalize disagreement with their views on controversial topics, but they can reasonably expect their students to learn the rationale behind certain positions.

4. The faculty member will be available to his/her student for consultation to support student learning through faculty-student interaction.  At the beginning of the course, faculty should provide students with their contact information and office hours. Faculty should be diligent in keeping office hours, student appointments and, when assigned, academic, curricular and/or vocational advising. The faculty member will be available to his/her students for consultation either in person, or at a distance using available communication tools including email, chat, computer conferencing or other technologies. 

a. Faculty office hours should be scheduled at times that are convenient for both students and faculty. Additional office hours may fall beyond standard institutional business days and hours at the discretion of the faculty member.

b. A statement regarding faculty office hours or availability for face-to-face or distance office hours, and an anticipated response time, should be clearly posted in the course syllabus (see PPM 4-9a) and the office door of each faculty member's office. 

5. At the beginning of each course, faculty members, by means of the syllabi, will inform students of the general content, what is required and of the criteria with which performance will be evaluated. The general content of the course and the criteria for evaluating student performance will relate clearly to the legitimate academic purpose of the course. The faculty member shall hold all students responsible for meeting the requirements.  (See PPM 4-9a)

6. If there is a conflict between a student's core beliefs and the requirements or course content in a particular course, a student may request a resolution of such a conflict. The faculty member is not required to provide alternative requirements or modify the course content as long as the existing requirements and content have a reasonable relationship to the legitimate pedagogical goals of the course. However, the faculty members is required to grant such a resolution if denial of the request would be arbitrary and capricious or illegal. (See PPM 6-22, Part IV.D.9.)

7. Neither in nor out of the instructional setting or office do faculty members take advantage of their relationships with students to exploit them for the faculty members' own purposes. Faculty members do not plagiarize the work of a student. They give proper acknowledgment for original student contributions in their lectures or publications. Faculty members accept no gifts or favors where they have reason to believe that such gift or favor is motivated by a desire on the part of a student to secure some academic advantage.

8. The student has the right to expect substantive presentations or other means of instruction appropriate to the course. Repeated lack of preparation and/or unprofessional behavior which result in incompetent performance by the faculty member are legitimate grounds for student complaint.

9. With respect to the students, faculty members permit and encourage an atmosphere of original thinking, research and writing. In this regard, they seek to improve learning facilities and opportunities for students.

10. Faculty members do not reveal matters received by them in confidence from a student unless required by law. Confidential and personal records relating to students are not revealed unless authorized by the student or required by law. Faculty members may, however, report their assessment of the student's performance and ability to persons logically and legitimately entitled to receive such information.

11. The student has the right to an environment for learning free from unlawful discrimination. One type of unlawful discrimination is sexual/gender harassment. This has been defined in PPM 3-32. Any student who feels there has been a violation of this policy has the right to take action according to the provisions of that policy.

12. Serious conflicts of interest between a faculty member and a student, including but not limited to sexual or financial relationships, are prohibited.  Amorous or sexual relationships between faculty members and students are governed according to the provisions of PPMs 3-32a and 3-32.  A complaint alleging violations of this policy may be initiated by any person according to those policies and the provisions of PPMs 9-11 and 9-12.