Faculty Ethics: Ideal Principles With Practical Applications
Reybold, L Earle
Journal of veterinary medical education 2009 Winter; 36(4): 375-81
Ethics in higher education is the subject of intense public attention, with considerable focus on faculty roles and responsibilities. Media reports and scholarly research have documented egregious misconduct that includes plagiarism, falsification of data, illicit teacher-student relationships, and grading bias. These accounts of wrongdoing often portray faculty ethicality as only a legal issue of obeying rules and regulations, especially in the teaching and research roles. My discussion challenges this narrow perspective and argues that characterizations of faculty ethicality should take into account broader expectations for professionalism such as collegiality, respect, and freedom of inquiry. First, I review the general principles of faculty ethics developed by the American Association of University Professors, as well as professional codes of ethics in specific professional fields. Second, I juxtapose the experiences of women and minority faculty members in relation to these general codes of ethics. This section examines three issues that particularly affect women and minority faculty experiences of ethicality: "chilly and alienating" academic climates, "cultural taxation" of minority identity, and the snare of conventional reward systems. Third, I suggest practical strategies to reconcile faculty practice with codes of ethics. My challenge is to the faculty as a community of practice to engage professional ethics as social and political events, not just legal and moral failures.
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