4.4 The Faculty's Obligations, Rights, Academic Freedom, and Code of Ethics

4.4 The Faculty's Obligations, Rights, Academic Freedom, and Code of Ethics

As an educational institution, the College does not wish to impose a rigid body of codified rules upon the members of its faculty. The following statements outline, in a general way, the obligations incumbent on faculty members of the College.

4.4.1 Academic Freedom and Responsibility

The College and its faculty support the concept of academic freedom and accept no limitations of academic freedom as it is described below in the excerpted and abridged statement from the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges:

Academic Freedom1

  1. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
  2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. (The intent of this statement is not to discourage what is "controversial." Controversy is at the heart of the free academic inquiry which the entire statement is designed to foster. The passage serves to underscore the need for teachers to avoid persistently intruding material which has no relation to their subject.)
  3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinion of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution. Academic Authority and Responsibility

Subject to other provisions of the Ithaca College Policy Manual and the ultimate authority of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees, the faculty have primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum and instruction. These areas include, but are not limited to, such matters as academic policies; courses and programs; academic requirements; and standards for matriculation, admission, and academic standing.

Subject to the limitations described above, the faculty also have primary responsibility for faculty personnel matters, including, but not limited to, evaluation of faculty; establishment and review of planning unit, school, and College faculty personnel policies; definition of staffing needs and recruitment of faculty; and recommendations for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.

Faculty personnel actions, changes in or additions to curriculum, and changes in policies and procedures related to curriculum and personnel matters require faculty review and recommendation as specified in other sections of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.

In addition to the responsibilities listed above, there are other areas in which the faculty participate with the administration and other members of the College community. These include the selection of administrators and definition of the institutional needs of the College. Professional Ethics

The College and its faculty accept the statement of professional ethics published by the American Association of University Professors and reproduced below, except as it conflicts with other statements in the Ithaca College Policy Manual.

Statement of Professional Ethics,2

  1. Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.
  2. As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals, and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides and counselors. Professors make an effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom.
  3. As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas professors show due respect for the opinions of others. Professors acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of the institution.
  4. As members of an academic institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although professors observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Professors give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it.  3 When considering the interruption or termination of their service, professors recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.
  5. As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Professors measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

4.4.2 Indemnification

A faculty member faced with litigation arising from the performance of college-related professional responsibilities is entitled to legal defense and the coverage of any damages awarded to plaintiffs unless, in the determination of the president, the faculty member did not act in good faith, within the normal scope of the faculty member's duties, or in a non-malicious manner.

4.4.3 Violations of Faculty Rights, Academic Freedom, and Professional Ethics

Disputes involving a charge that a faculty member's rights or academic freedom have been abrogated or that professional ethics have not been maintained are to be settled through the established grievance procedures in section 4.16 of Volume IV of the Ithaca College Policy Manual. While affirming academic freedom as a right, the College recognizes that, in some circumstances, questions of academic freedom become enmeshed in questions of professional incompetence, misconduct, or irresponsibility. In the effort to distinguish between these sometimes confused issues, the guiding principle is that charges of professional incompetence, misconduct, or irresponsibility shall not be used to limit academic freedom, nor shall appeals to academic freedom be acceptable as a shield for professional incompetence, misconduct, or irresponsibility.

1 AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, 1990 edition, pages 3-4, 5. The section is quoted from AAUP's academic freedom policy and so should not be altered.

2 AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, 2001 edition, pages 133-134.

3 This sentence refers to the responsibility described in section 4.5.2.

May 25, 2021