THE NEED TO DEVELOP A CODE OF CONDUCT FOR COLLEGE FACULTY

C. Gibaldi

St.John's and Harvard University (UNITED STATES)
Given the nature of "What faculty members do" withing the realm of "their work" as faculty, they have a distinctive task. The discovery and transmission of truth is the distinctive task of the academic profession, just as the care of the health of the patient is the distinctive task of the medical profession, and the protection, withing the law, of the client's rights and interests is the distinctive task of the legal profession (Shils, 1982). Both the medical, as well as legal profession have codes guiding the conduct of the professionals within their respective fields, whereas the academic profession does not. As one examines the literature regarding professional codes of conduct/ethics, it is glaring to note that codes exist for every professional group ranging from accountants-to-zoologists (Clapp, 1974). It should be noted though, that many of the codes or ethical statements are offered by professional associations within the particular field, and are not necessarily related to ones ability to practice or work within the field. Beginnining in the late 1960's, individuals began to write about the need for a possible value of having a professional code of conduct for faculty. The majority of the literature produced was written during the 1970's-1980's. To date, the only professional statement that exists was produced by the AAUP's committee of professional ethics, originally adopted in 1966, and revised in 1987. As can be noted when reviewing the document, the statement of professional ethics only sets forth general standards that serve as a reminder of the variety of responsibilities assumed by all members of the profession (AAUP, 1966/1987). These standards are not enforceable. Without any common, learned code of conduct, can the academic profession truly be considered a profession? And, how might we (the faculty), our institutions, and society possibly benefit by the existence of some common, enforceable code of conduct?
This paper sets out to address this/these issues and serve to open a needed discussion regarding the possibility of a code of conduct/ethics for college faculty.
keywords: code, conduct, ethics, faculty.