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5.08 / Statements on the Professional Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty

Academic Freedom:
The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of the teacher's academic duties. The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject, but the faculty member should be careful not to introduce controversial matter which has no relation to the subject.

The faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When the faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, the faculty member should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but the faculty member's special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an educational officer, the faculty member should remember that the public may judge the profession and the institution by the faculty member's utterances. Hence, the faculty member should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that the faculty member is not an institutional spokesperson.

Rights and Responsibilities of Academic Professionals and Collegiality:
Faculty members are at one and the same time employees of the University, members of learned professions, and members of the Faculty of the Wichita State University. Each of these roles carries with it various rights, responsibilities, and privileges. Together, these rights, responsibilities, and privileges define the profession of the University professor as teacher, scholar, and public servant.

As employees of the University, faculty members are subject to policies adopted by the University; policies, procedures, and regulations adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents; and various laws and regulations established by the State of Kansas governing the conduct of its employees.

As members of learned professions, faculty members share with colleagues throughout the nation and the world, including members of the University administration, responsibility for the discovery, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge in their chosen fields. They also enjoy the rights and privileges necessary to the work of scholars and teachers, many of which have been explicitly recognized and sanctioned by the Kansas Board of Regents in its enactments. These include academic freedom, as defined in the American Association of University Professors 1940 Statement of Principles, and its various interpretative statements.

As members of the Faculty of the Wichita State University, faculty members have specific rights and responsibilities with respect to the academic rules, regulations, and programs of the University, University governance, and faculty governance. These rights and responsibilities are outlined and summarized in this policies and procedures manual. These specific provisions reflect standards and expectations recognized by the academic professions throughout the United States.

The principles that govern the resolution of disputes at Wichita State University are those of collegiality and consultation. Preferably, the consultation is among the parties directly involved in the dispute, and results in a decision which all parties accept. When this fails, for whatever reason, the parties involved may wish to bring in other members of the University community, either informally, by invitation, or formally, by invoking specific rights of appeal provided by University policies.

Collegial relationships among faculty members, and between faculty members and administrative officers of the University, are based on a mutual recognition of, and respect for, the various roles that faculty members and administrators play, and the rights, responsibilities and privileges involved in these roles. For example, faculty members should respect the lawful authority of administrative officers of the University, who exercise supervisory responsibility for the University, on behalf of the Kansas Board of Regents and the State of Kansas. At the same time, administrative officers should respect the scholarly, creative, and professional rights of faculty members, based on their status as members of the learned professions.

When disputes arise over the proper interpretation of faculty rights, responsibilities, and privileges, the expectation is that these disputes will be resolved after consultation between the parties involved, and generally within the framework of established lines of authority. Normally, disputes are resolved in consultation with the chair of the department; failing that, in consultation with the dean of the college; failing that, in consultation with the Provost and Senior Vice President; and failing that, in consultation with the President of the University. Extraordinary circumstances will dictate appropriate modifications consistent with these expectations.

When disputes cannot be resolved through such informal consultation, University policies provide other means of resolving various disputes. These include (but are not limited to): appeal of tenure and promotion recommendations to college- or University-level committees, or to the President; appeals of curricular and academic policy questions to the faculty of a college, or to the University Faculty; placing an issue before the Faculty Senate; employing the Faculty Grievance Procedure. In each of these cases, the matter in dispute is placed before colleagues and peers for their consideration, judgment, and recommendation. There are few, if any, matters for which the University does not provide some formal means of appeal for review or reconsideration of a decision affecting a faculty member.

Faculty Ethics Statement:
The Faculty Senate adopted the following statement on faculty ethics on November 8, 1982:

1.  Faculty members, 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 the truth as they see it. To this end they 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 they may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise a faculty member's freedom of inquiry.

2.  As teachers, faculty members encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before the student the best scholarly standards of their discipline. They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. They make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that they evaluate students according to their true merits. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between teacher and student. They avoid any exploitation of students for private advantage and acknowledge significant assistance from them. They protect the student's academic freedom.

3.  As colleagues, faculty members have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. They respect and defend the free inquiry of their associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas they show due respect for the opinions of others. They acknowledge their academic debts and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. They accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.

4.  As members of their institution, faculty members seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although they observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided these do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their rights to criticize and seek revision of them. Faculty members determine the amount and character of the work they do outside their institution with due regard to their paramount responsibilities within it. When considering interruption or termination of their service, they recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intention.

5.  As members of their community, faculty members have the rights and obligations of any citizen. They measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, their students, their profession, and their institution. When faculty members speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression that they speak or act for their college or University. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, faculty members have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

Board of Regents Mandated Statement on the Use of Sexually Explicit Materials in Instruction:
Students are entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to even-handed treatment in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship. Faculty members may not refuse to enroll or teach students on the grounds of students' beliefs or the possible uses to which students may put the knowledge to be gained in a course. Students should not be forced by the authority inherent in the instructional role to make particular personal choices as to political action or their own social behavior. Evaluation of students and the award of academic credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, whether personality, race, religion, degree of political activism, or personal beliefs.

It is the mastery faculty have of their subjects and their own scholarship that entitles them to their classrooms and to freedom in the presentation of their disciplines. Thus, it is improper for a faculty member persistently to intrude material that has no relation to the subject or discipline, or to fail to present the subject matter of the course as announced to students and as approved by the faculty in their collective responsibility for the curriculum [See Minutes, Board of Regents Meeting, December 2003].

Revision Date: 
January 30, 2004  

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