All faculty, at any rank, are required to review and adhere to the conduct standards referenced in the sections below and in various University policies. Failure to do so may subject the faculty member to progressive discipline and/or sanctions, up to and including suspension, non-renewal of contract, non-retention, dismissal, and/or revocation of tenure.

A. AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics

The University of Alabama expects high ethical standards of all personnel. In particular, the University endorses the principles set forth in the Statement on Professional Ethics by the American Association of University Professors (2009). All faculty are required to review and adhere to these principles.

As noted in the section above on Academic Freedom (Section I), the University attaches great value to freedom of speech and open debate, but it also attaches great importance to the principles of civility and respect that govern an academic community. Indeed, the Statement on Professional Ethics requires that faculty members show due respect for the opinions of others in the exchange of criticism and ideas, strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues, and not discriminate against or harass colleagues. Consequently, as evident in the Statement on Professional Ethics and in the University’s Statement on Diversity, faculty are required to act collegially, with civility and respect toward one another and toward all members of the University community.

Faculty are also required by the Statement of Professional Ethics to demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. They should avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students, and should acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them.

B. Compliance with Laws, University Policies, and Professional Licensure Standards of Conduct

In the continuing effort to maintain an effective and safe work/study environment and to comply with relevant federal and state laws, The University of Alabama has adopted a variety of policies governing faculty, staff, and student behavior. These policies were established to ensure acceptable standards of behavior and the display of professionalism as applicable to teaching, research, and institutional service.

All faculty members of The University of Alabama are expected to comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws as well as the policies of The University of Alabama. Those faculty members who are members of an occupation or profession that has established standards of conduct/ethics (including, but not limited to, licensure, registration, certification, or accreditation) shall be expected to conduct the affairs of the University and their professions according to the standards of conduct/ethics applicable to such occupations or professions.

While it is the responsibility of The University of Alabama’s administration to maintain current and fair policies and procedures and to appropriately communicate current information about policies and procedures to appropriate University employees, it is the responsibility of faculty members to be aware of such policies and procedures and to comply with them. Faculty shall comply with applicable policies and procedures as referenced in the Faculty Handbook, in the Employee Handbook, in the Human Resources Policy Manual, on the University’s Policies website, and on other official University websites. Examples of some of the policies all faculty are required to comply with include, but are not limited to, the following:

It is the responsibility of faculty members to recognize failure to comply with specific policies and procedures could lead to progressive disciplinary actions up to and including termination.  Examples of the types of behaviors that could warrant a range of disciplinary actions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Repeated refusal to complete University-mandated training;
  • Falsification of information on an employment application or other information concerning qualifications for a position or promotion;
  • A pattern of unfair or abusive treatment of students;
  • consistently substandard performance or academic incompetence;
  • Incompetence, neglect, or dishonesty in performance of duties;
  • Excessive absenteeism;
  • A pattern of insubordination or failure to carry out reasonable, job-related duties appropriately assigned by a supervisor;
  • A violation of state ethics laws or other University policy, including, but not limited to, appropriating state or student equipment, time, or resources for personal use or gain; fraudulent research or plagiarism; theft of University property; using course materials developed by the faculty member or their family members without appropriate approval from the college or department’s textbook selection committee; or other unethical conduct;
  • Violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, Harassment Policy, or Consensual Romantic Relationships Policy, including retaliating against someone who complains or participates in an investigation of any such matter;
  • Committing a serious criminal offense, a crime involving moral turpitude, a felony, or a crime involving immoral or unethical conduct;
  • Participating in acts of violence or making threats of violence;
  • Illegal possession of a drug or controlled substance, or improper use of narcotics or intoxicants that substantially impairs the faculty member’s fulfillment of departmental and/or university duties and responsibilities or serious or repeated violations of the University’s Drug-Free Workplace Policy;
  • A serious or repeated violation of one or more of the faculty behavioral obligations set forth in the Code of Conduct/Standards of Behavior section of the Faculty Handbook;
  • Acts identified in the Standards of Behavior section of the Employee Handbook; or
  • Any other behavior or condition that significantly affects a faculty member’s fitness to carry out professional responsibilities.