Ethical Teaching Behaviors

As an instructor you are in a position to powerfully influence student behavior, and therefore have ethical responsibility.
Here we identify some critical ethical principles, and some examples of how to apply them:

Useful Links

UNL Office of Student Judicial Affairs
Respect Autonomy

Do not infringe on a student's right to make independent decisions. Show respect for others and their opinions.

  • clearly distinguish in lectures facts from opinions
  • allow students to express opinions or beliefs that differ from yours
  • give students flexibility in choosing topics for course projects or papers

'Above all, do no harm.'

Avoid putting others at risk or intentionally harming others.

  • come to class well- prepared, not only with lecture, but also answers to possible questions 
  • explain basis of grading on written assignments/exams
  • thoroughly cover course content
  • show patience with slow learners
  • respect the opinions and beliefs of your students

Actively contribute to the health and welfare of others.

  • help students understand course material
  • show enthusiasm for teaching and topic
  • provide clear expectations for assignments
  • promote cooperation among students
  • help students know how best to study for your course
  • help students who are having difficulties

In other words, fairness and equity. Sexism, racism and other bias are campus justice issues.

  • provide objectives and requirements  for assessments  upfront
  • fairly evaluate students' knowledge of material covered in the course
  • equitably apply classroom policies (late assignments, absences, etc.) to all students
  • provide balanced views, especially to controversial issues
  • foster in-class participation from all students

Be trustworthy and honest. Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.

  • follow through on legitimate requests from students
  • promptly return graded assessments (tests, papers, and projects) to students
  • following the course syllabus and timetable in teaching your course
  • being accessible to students
  • keeping scheduled appointments with students