Academic Ethicsby Neil Hamilton
Pub. Date: 12/30/2002
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Academic professionals are expected to restrain self-interest, promote the ideals of public service, and maintain high standards of performance, while society grants the profession autonomy to regulate itself through peer review. Hamilton conveys the need for ethical leadership from within the peer collegiumleadership that will foster a culture of high… See more details below
Academic professionals are expected to restrain self-interest, promote the ideals of public service, and maintain high standards of performance, while society grants the profession autonomy to regulate itself through peer review. Hamilton conveys the need for ethical leadership from within the peer collegiumleadership that will foster a culture of high aspiration and peer review.
Table of Contents
1 Preface 2 Introduction 3 The American Academic Profession: The Tradition of Academic Freedom and Shared Governance 4 Problems on the Duties of Individual Professors 5 Problems on the Rights of Academic Freedom for Individual Professors 6 Problems on the Duties of the Faculty as a Collegial Body 7 Problems on the Rights in Shared Governance of the Faculty as a Collegial Body 8 Problems on the Rights of Academic Freedom for Students 9 Appendix A: Summary of the Principles of Professional Conduct 10 Appendix B: 1915 AAUP General Declaration of Principles 11 Appendix C: 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure 12 Appendix D: 1966 AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics 13 Appendix E: 1066 AAUP Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities 14 Appendix F: 1998 Association of Governing Boards = Statement on Governance 15 Appendix G:1967 Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students 16 Appendix H: 2000 AAUP Statement on Graduate Students 17 Selected Bibliography 18 Index
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Why do we need to have a discussion about academic ethics? Hamilton, a Professor of Law, explains that while society and members of the learned professions (e.g., academia, law, medicine, etc.) have an “unwritten social compact” in which the professions agree to promote public service, provide professional excellence, restrain from self-interest, and maintain minimum standards of competence, performance, and ethical conduct within the peer group, society as a whole gives the professions in return (or perhaps also vice versa?) a significant amount of power and autonomy for self-regulation. The problem is that today ethics are eroding not only, for example, in law and medicine, but also in academia which is expressed as a “loss of a sense of academic citizenship across the disciplines at individual colleges and universities.” Hamilton believes in the creation of a culture that follows an accessible code of ethics, provide means of socialization for newcomers and seasoned professionals (i.e., an exchange about the ideals and tradition of the profession), and establishes ethical leadership from within its members. The seven chapters of Hamilton’s book are straight forward and comprehensively cover areas that are essential for academic ethics. Topics include the duties of individual professors and the faculty as a collegial body, academic freedom for individual professors and students, and the role of the faculty in shared governance. These topics are well selected and invite the reader to engage in in-depth self-reflections as well as stimulating discussions with other people. The book also contains eight appendices which describe principles of professional ethics and conduct, academic freedom and tenure, government of colleges and universities, and rights and freedoms of students. Hamilton points out that it is important to teach ethics in academia because it allows the profession to fulfill its duties to serve the common good in its area of responsibility. He also emphasizes the importance of continuing education. I have read many books about ethics during my professional career; Hamilton’s book stands out because it illuminates and carefully evaluates the complex interplay that exists in academic institutions and that, from my own experience, sometimes fosters and at other times seems to neglect or even inhibit the ideals of the profession. Hamilton provides a great instructional text for students (he provides numerous interesting problems for class discussions) and a valuable resource for faculty and administrators in academia. I highly recommend this book.