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:
Do not infringe on a student's right to make independent decisions. Show respect for others and their opinions.
- in your lectures and classroom discussions, clearly distinguish facts from opinions
- allow students to develop and 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 and other classroom activities, but answers to anticipated questions
- explain basis of grading on written assignments or 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
- model the important academic skills of critical thinking and content synthesis
- 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 beforehand (a rubric is a great way to do this)
- 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
- honor the course syllabus and schedule in teaching your course
- each time you meet, begin and end class on time
- be reasonably accessible to students
- keep scheduled appointments with students