ERIC Number: ED321803
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Oct-12
Are Academicians by Their Very Natures Ethical, or Should They Be?
The question of whether academicians are or should be ethical requires serious discussion, especially given the presence of select instances of unethical behavior among some professionals. One history professor responded to claims that he was a boring lecturer by presenting videotaped instruction; one English professor failed a student on an exam because the student missed the exam, even though she had called the professor with a valid excuse; and one male faculty member sexually harassed students whom he believed would not be taken seriously if they reported his abuses, such as foreign, obese, mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, and/or physically handicapped students. There are four strong reasons why academicians should be ethical. The first is the long historical tradition of ethics in education, described by Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian, among others. Second, academicians are members of a profession with a code of ethics and professional judgment to which the courts of the land defer; this legal deference carries a concomitant expectation of ethical professional behavior on the part of educators. Third, academic accrediting institutions have an obligation to assure themselves that institutions under review conduct their affairs with honesty and frankness. The fourth reason for ethical behavior is that educators are role models for students. In order to promote an ethical climate on campus, academicians should take personal action by becoming advocates for victims of unethical behavior, by implementing a code of ethics on campus, and by encouraging their institutions to offer a course in ethics on campus. (JMC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Virginia Community Colleges Association (7th, Roanoke, VA, October 12-14, 1989).