Academic Senate

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Faculty Professional Ethics Code

The Academic Senate at Santa Rosa Junior College has adopted a “Faculty Professional Ethics Code” to guide faculty towards engaging in productive collegial discourse while maintaining an atmosphere of civility and respect among colleagues and students. This code reflects values and ethical principles related to professional practice and conduct, and outlines ethical obligations that faculty have to students, to colleagues, and to the Sonoma County Junior College District. (Adopted from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Statement of Professional Ethics.)


Faculty responsibilities to their discipline are to:

  1. Support the advancement of knowledge in their subject areas.

  2. Develop and improve their own subject competence, exercise critical self-evaluation and practice intellectual honesty.

  3. Abstain from engaging in activities that create a conflict of interest or which compromise the freedom of inquiry.


Faculty responsibilities to students are to:

  1. Conduct teaching and teaching related duties described in the All Faculty Association (AFA)/District Contract Article 17 in a courteous, consistent and professional manner, fulfilling the Faculty Member’s Obligation to Students as stated in District Policy 3.9.

  2. Maintain currency in subject content and instructional methodology and technology.

  3. Respect students as individuals:

    1. Respect the confidentiality of student and faculty relationships.

    2. Abstain from exploiting students for private advantage.

    3. Acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students.

    4. Abstain from engaging in amorous relationships with students enrolled in class or students whose work they are evaluating.

    5. Treat all students equally regardless of such factors as cultural background, ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political ideologies, disability, age or socioeconomic status.

      1. Teach and model tolerant and respectful behavior for others.

      2. Recognize and minimize the effects of unequal economic circumstances present within the student population.

  4. Evaluate students by merit, holding all students to the same standards of performance:

    1. Adhere to the appropriate academic standards as determined by the community of scholars within the discipline.

    2. Maintain comparable grading standards and intellectual rigor/level in similar courses.

    3. Promote intellectual honesty and academic integrity.

  5. Enable students to gain full access to classroom/college activities and continue to identify and strive to remove barriers to open access, seeking new methods to help students succeed.

  6. Protect academic freedom of students:

    1. Create a learning environment in which all students are encouraged to participate.

    2. Strive to affirm students' identities and self-esteem.

    3. Promote respect for differing points of view.

    4. Inform without indoctrinating and without using the classroom as a forum for the advancement of personal causes.

    5. Model and teach critical thinking skills to students.


Faculty obligations to all colleagues are to:

  1. Treat all colleagues equally as stated in the District Non-discrimination Policy.

  2. Abstain from behaving in an unprofessional and disrespectful manner to a colleague, including but not limited to bullying, intimidating, persecuting, tormenting, making derogatory comments about colleagues to students or other colleagues, advising students away from colleagues' classes, disseminating negative flyers, and, per Procedure 2.13, writing inappropriate emails to a colleague and sending negative broadcast emails

  3. Foster mutual respect, civility, and an environment in which District business is conducted in a courteous and professional manner.

  4. Respect the confidentiality of processes involving the privacy of colleagues including, but not limited to evaluation, hiring, tenure review, and ethics investigations.


Additional faculty obligations to faculty colleagues are to:

  1. Respect and defend academic inquiry.

  2. Avoid plagiarism by respecting the intellectual property of faculty colleagues.

  3. Strive for objectivity when teaching and when critiquing the academic work of others.

  4. Accept a fair share of faculty responsibilities in the governance of the institution as per AB 1725.

  5. Be aware of the Faculty Intradepartmental Relations document, available on the Academic Senate website, in dealings between members of the department.


Faculty obligations to the academic institution are to:

  1. Respect and observe college policies and procedures, while maintaining the right to challenge and seek revision of those policies and procedures.  Any such challenge should refrain from ad hominem attacks.

  2. Recognize their paramount responsibilities to the institution when considering additional work assignments outside the institution.

  3. Provide reasonable notice in terminating or interrupting service to the institution.


As members of the community, faculty are expected to:

  1. Make it clear when speaking or acting as private individuals that they are not representing the institution.

  2. Acknowledge the importance of free inquiry and facilitate public understanding of academic freedom.


Violations of ethical standards should be referred to the Academic Senate President as outlined on the Academic Senate website under Professional Ethics Procedure. The Senate Professional Ethics Committee has the authority and flexibility to determine the best way to resolve complaints from peers related to potential violation of professional ethics by faculty.  The enforcement procedures are intended to permit a fair resolution of disputes on ethical practices in a manner that protects the rights of individuals while promoting understanding and ethical practice.


Faculty suspecting that a violation of the Professional Ethics Code has occurred are encouraged to go through the proper problem solving channels for resolution, including working with the immediate Department Chair, the Supervising Administrator, and then other appropriate administrators.

  1. Allegations of harassment, including sexual harassment and/or discrimination of protected groups, or alleged violations of Policy and Procedure 4.14a, should be referred for resolution to the Vice President of Human Resources and District Compliance Officer.

  2. Alleged violations of Department policies and procedures should first be referred to the Department Chair and Supervising Administrator.

  3. Alleged violations of District Policies and Procedures should first be referred to Academic Affairs.

  4. Alleged violations of the All Faculty Association (AFA)/District Contract should be referred to the AFA Conciliation/ Grievance Officer.

  5. Students suspecting that a violation of the Professional Ethics Code has occurred should be referred to Student Services as outlined in District Policy and Procedure 8.2.2 Student Complaints / Grievances.

Approved 2/19/2014