Ethics, Responsibilities and Qualifications



(Revised:  January 1979, Coordinating Board, Texas College and University System)

The statement which follows, issued in response to Section 14, Paragraph 2, of House Bill 1, 59th Texas Legislature, provides guiding principles designed to aid Texas colleges and universities in evaluating the condition of academic freedom, tenure, and responsibility that prevail on each campus.

Academic Freedom

Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good.  The common good depends upon an uninhibited search for truth and its open expression.  Hence, it is essential that each faculty member be free to pursue scholarly inquiry without undue restriction, and to voice and publish individual conclusion concerning the significance of evidence that he or she considers relevant.  Each faculty member must be free from the corrosive fear that others, inside or outside the university community, because their vision may differ, may threaten his or her professional career or the material benefits accruing from it.

Each faculty member is entitled to full freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject which he or she teaches but is expected not to introduce into his or her teachings controversial matters which have no relation to the classroom subject.  Each faculty member also is a citizen of the nation, state and community; and when speaking, writing, or acting as such, must be free from institutional censorship or discipline, subject to academic responsibility as hereinafter set out, and the faculty member should make it clear that he or she is not speaking for the institution.

Academic Responsibility

The concept of academic freedom for faculty must be accompanied by an equally demanding concept of academic responsibility of faculty.  A faculty member has a responsibility to the institution, his or her profession, his or her students, and society at large.

The rights and privileges of faculty members extended by society and protected by governing boards and administrators through written policies and procedures on academic freedom and tenure, and as further protected by the courts, require reciprocally the assumption of certain responsibilities by faculty members.  Some of those follow below:

    The fundamental responsibilities of a faculty member as a teacher and scholar include maintenance of competence in his or her field of specialization and the exhibition of such professional competence in the classroom, studio, or laboratory and in the public arena by such activities as discussions, lectures, consulting, publications, or participation in professional organization and meetings.

    The exercise of professional integrity by a faculty member includes recognition that the public will judge his or her profession and institution by his or her statements.  Therefore, the faculty member should strive to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to be willing to listen to and show respect to others expressing different opinions and to avoid creating the impression that the faculty member speaks or acts for his or her college or university when speaking or acting as a private person. 

    The constitutionally protected right of the faculty member, as a citizen, to freedom of expression must be balanced with the interest of the state, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the educational services it performs through its employees.  A faculty member’s comments are protected even though they may be highly critical in tone or content or erroneous, but such statements are not protected free speech if they either substantially impede the faculty member’s performance by his or her daily duties or materially and substantially interfere with the regular operation of the institution or if they are part of a continuing pattern of expression of such nature as to destroy the harmony and morale of a division, department or college. 
    False statements made with knowledge of their falsity or in reckless disregard of the truth are not entitled to constitutional protection, and public statement may be so without foundation as to call into question the fitness of the faculty member to perform his or her duties. 

    A faculty member should be judicious in the use of controversial material in the classroom and should introduce such material only as it has clear relationship to his or her subject field.

    A faculty member should be professional in his or her conduct in the classroom and in his or her relationship with students.  The faculty member should maintain respect for the student and the student’s posture as a learner.  The faculty member should make himself or herself appropriately available to the student for consultation on course work.

     A faculty member has the responsibility to provide timely and adequate notice of his or her intention to interrupt or terminate institutional services.

Code of Professional Ethics

Professional educators affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all persons and the right of all persons to learn.  Learning best occurs in an environment devoted to the pursuit of truth, excellence and liberty.  These flourish where both freedom and responsibility are esteemed.

In order to more adequately express the affirmation of our professional responsibilities, we, the members of the Texas Junior College Teachers Association, do adopt and hold ourselves and each other subject to the following Code of Professional Ethics:

    The professional educator shall treat all persons with respect, dignity and justice, discriminating against no one on any arbitrary basis such as race, creed, gender, age or social station.

    The professional educator shall strive to help each student realize his or her full potential as a scholar and as a human being.

    The professional educator shall by example and action encourage and defend the unfettered pursuit of truth by both colleagues and students, supporting the free exchange of ideas, observing the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity and seeking always an attitude of scholarly objectivity and tolerance of other viewpoints.

    The professional educator, recognizing the necessity of many roles in the educational enterprise, shall work in such a manner as to enhance cooperation and collegiality among students, faculty, administrators and non-academic personnel.

    The professional educator shall recognize and preserve the confidential nature of professional relationships, neither disclosing nor encouraging the disclosure of information of rumor which might damage, embarrass, or violate the privacy of any other person.

    The professional educator shall maintain competence through continued professional development, shall demonstrate the competence through consistently adequate preparation and performance and shall seek to enhance that competence by accepting and appropriating constructive criticism and evaluation.

    The professional educator shall exercise the highest professional standards in the use of time and resources.

    The professional educator shall observe the stated rules and regulations of the institution, reserving the right judiciously to seek revision.

    The professional educator shall participate in the governance of the institution by accepting a fair share of committee and institutional responsibilities.

    The professional educator, recognizing the needs and rights of others as embodied in the institution, shall fulfill the employment agreement both in spirit and, in fact, shall give reasonable notice upon resignation, and shall neither accept tasks for which he or she is not qualified nor assign tasks to unqualified persons.

    The professional educator shall support the right of all colleagues to academic freedom and due process and defend and assist a professional colleague accused of wrongdoing, incompetence, or serious offense so long as the colleague’s innocence may reasonably be maintained.

    The professional educator shall not support the continuation in higher education of a colleague known by him or her to be persistently unethical or professionally incompetent.

    The professional educator shall accept all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, including participation in the formulation of public policy, always avoiding use of the privileges of his or her public position for private or partisan advantage.

 Faculty Duties and Responsibilities

 Listed below are the duties and responsibilities required of each part-time faculty member:

  1. To be concerned with all matters involving teaching.
  2. To be aware of administrative policies, philosophies, and objectives of the college.
  3. To prepare thoroughly for each class period.
  4. To START and END each class session as specified in the class schedule booklet.
  5. To prepare and file course syllabi each semester.  A copy of each course syllabus should be forwarded to the dean of the division.
  6. To clearly inform the students of each class at the beginning of each semester the manner in which grades are determined.
  7. To display professional mannerisms in conduct and appearance, whether teaching day, evening, or Saturday class(es).
  8. To make periodic evaluation of students’ academic progress and to keep students informed as to their academic progress.
  9. To personally proctor all tests and examinations at all times.
  10. To develop a rapport with students so that they feel comfortable asking for assistance.
  11. To tutor students who require special attention.      
  12. To be available either before or after class for student conferences.
  13. To be prompt with all reports which are requested by the departmental chairperson and the administrators of the college.
  14. To keep accurate records of students’ attendance and report excessive absences to the appropriate office.
  15. To prepare and submit grade reports.
  16. To be familiar with the catalog and publications of the college.
  17. To attend all part-time faculty meetings.
  18. To work with student personnel services concerning student welfare.

Qualifications of Faculty

South Plains College strives to adhere to the standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools which state that all teaching faculty members must have special competence in the fields in which they teach.  This special competence is attested to by advanced study culminating in appropriate graduate degrees, or by extensive work experience in the teaching fields or in a professional practice that is demonstrably of highest quality.  Adherence to these standards at all academic levels is essential to the educational quality of instruction.

The following has been extracted from the 1998 Criteria for Accreditation, Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools:

    In an associate degree program, full-time and part-time faculty members teaching credit courses in the following areas:  humanities/fine arts; social/behavioral sciences; and natural sciences/mathematics must have completed at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline and hold at least a master’s degree, or hold the minimum of a master’s degree with a major in the teaching discipline.  In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated contributions to the teaching discipline may be presented in lieu of formal academic preparation in the above areas.  Such cases must be justified by the institution on an individual basis.

    The Commission encourages interdisciplinary courses and recognizes that appropriate credentials for teaching may vary.  The institution must document and justify the academic and professional preparation of faculty members teaching in such courses or programs.

    Each full-time and part-time faculty member teaching courses in professional, occupational, and technical areas other than physical activities courses that are components for associate degree programs designed for college transfer, or from which substantial numbers of students transfer to senior institutions, must have completed 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline and hold at least a master’s degree, or hold the minimum of the master’s degree with a major in the teaching discipline

    Each full-time and part-time faculty member teaching credit courses in professional, occupational, and technical areas that are components of associate degree programs not usually resulting in college transfer, or in the continuation of students in senior institutions, must possess appropriate academic preparation or academic preparation coupled with work experience.  The minimum academic degree for faculty teaching in professional, occupational, and technical areas must be at the same level at which the faculty member is teaching.  The typical combination is a baccalaureate degree with appropriate work experience.

    In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated contributions to the teaching discipline may be presented in lieu of formal academic preparation for faculty members teaching both transfer and non-transfer courses in these areas.  Such cases must be justified by the institution on an individual basis.

    It is the responsibility of the institution to keep on file for all full-time and part-time faculty members documentation of academic preparation, such as official transcripts, and, if appropriate for demonstrating competency, official documentation of professional and work experience, technical and performance competency, records of publications, and certification and other qualifications.

    Non-degree diploma or certificate occupational courses are typically taught by faculty members with some college or specialized training, but with an emphasis on competence gained through work experience.  While competency requirements may vary, they should be clearly defined by each institution.  In all cases, faculty members must have special competence in the fields in which they teach.  It is the responsibility of the institution to keep on file documentation for work experience, certification and other qualifications if these are to substitute for or supplement formal academic preparation.

    Faculty members who teach basic computation and communication skills in non-degree occupational programs must have a baccalaureate degree, and ideally, should have work or other experience which helps them to relate these skills to the occupational field.

     Faculty members who teach adult basic education courses below the collegiate level must have a baccalaureate degree, and also should have attributes or experiences which help them to relate to the particular needs of the adults they teach.  

    Faculty members who teach remedial programs must hold a baccalaureate degree in a discipline related to their teaching assignment and have either teaching experience in a discipline related to their assignment or graduate training in remedial education.



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