Academic freedom is the right to teach, study, discuss, investigate, discover, create, and publish freely. Academic freedom protects the rights of faculty members in teaching and of students in learning. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. The faculty member is entitled to full freedom in teaching, research, and creative activities, subject to the limitations imposed by professional responsibility.
- Faculty members must not plagiarize, nor should they permit the appearance that they are the author of work done by others.
- Faculty members must not falsify data, either by deliberate fabrication or selective reporting with the intent to deceive.
- Faculty members must not misappropriate other’s ideas.
- Faculty members must not misuse privileged or otherwise confidential information.
- Faculty members must exercise “reasonable care” in meeting their obligations to their associates when they are engaged in joint research or other professional effort.
- Faculty members must not exploit their positions for personal or pecuniary gain when supervising the professional work of others. Research for pecuniary return should be conditional upon disclosure to and consent of the Vice President for Research.
- Faculty members must exercise “reasonable care” in meeting their commitments to the institution and to funding agencies where appropriate in research, publication, or other professional endeavors.
- Faculty members must keep informed and knowledgeable about developments in their fields.
- Faculty members must not engage in the sexual harassment of other faculty members or of any employee of the University. USU is committed to a learning and working environment free from discrimination, including harassment. For USU’s non-discrimination notice, see usu.edu/non-discrimination.
The concept of academic freedom is accompanied by an equally demanding concept of professional responsibility. Faculty members are expected to adhere to the standards listed in Policy 403: Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility. University faculty members are citizens, members of learned professions, and officers of an educational institution. When speaking or writing as citizens, faculty members are free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As individuals of learning and as educational officers, they should understand that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their individual utterances. Hence, they should at all times strive to be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.
Responsibilities to Students
- Faculty members should engage in reasonable and substantial preparation for the teaching of their courses, appropriate to the educational objectives to be achieved.
- Faculty members should meet scheduled classes. Schedules should be altered or classes canceled only for valid reasons and only after adequate notice is given to students and to the department head, dean, or other appropriate academic officer. Failure to meet a class without prior notice to students is excusable only for reasons beyond the control of the faculty member.
- Faculty members should inform students of the general content, requirements, and evaluation criteria at the beginning of any course that they teach. Faculty members should evaluate student coursework promptly, conscientiously, without prejudice or favoritism, and consistently with the criteria stated at the beginning of the course and related to the legitimate academic purposes of the course.
- Faculty members with teaching responsibilities should maintain regular office hours for consultation with students, or should otherwise assure accessibility to students.
- Faculty members should not plagiarize the work of students. When faculty members and students work together, appropriate credit should be given to the students. Faculty members should not limit or curtail the right of any student to publish or otherwise communicate the result of the student’s own independent scholarly activities.
- Faculty members should not use their positions and authority to obtain uncompensated labor or to solicit gifts or favors from students. Faculty members should not ask students to perform services unrelated to legitimate requirements of a course, unless the student is adequately compensated for such services.
- Faculty members should not reveal matters told to them in confidence by students, except as required by law, and then only to persons entitled to such information by law or institutional regulation. Faculty members may, however, report their assessment of a student’s performance and ability to persons logically and legitimately entitled to receive such reports.
- Faculty members should create and maintain an environment in which students are provided the opportunity to do original thinking, research, and writing.
- Faculty members should avoid the misuse of the classroom by preempting substantial portions of class time for the presentation of views on topics unrelated to the subject matter of the course. Faculty members should not reward agreement with, nor penalize disagreement with, their own views on controversial topics.
- Faculty members should not engage in the sexual harassment of students.
Responsibilities to the Institution
- Faculty members must conduct themselves in an open, fair, civil, and humane manner, both in general and when making decisions or recommendations concerning admissions, employment, promotion, retention, tenure, and other professional matters. Faculty members must not harass or discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, veteran status, or marital or parental status; the presence of any sensory, physical, or mental disability or handicap; or for any other reason impermissible under applicable constitutional or statutory provisions.
- Faculty members may engage in outside professional activities which improve their academic skills and have a legitimate relationship to their academic service. However, faculty members must restrict the amount of time spent on noninstitutional commitments, including outside consulting and other noninstitutional employment. They must also comply with state law and institutional regulations relating to conflicts of interest.
- Faculty members must not exploit the institution’s name or their relationship to the institution for personal reasons unrelated to their legitimate academic or professional activities. They must avoid creating the impression that they are representing the institution in public appearances or statements, unless in fact they are.
- Faculty members must not purposely destroy institutional property, purposely disrupt institutional programs, purposely inflict physical injury or threaten such injury to other persons on campus, or purposely interfere with the legitimate activities of other persons on the institution’s campus, nor must they purposely and unlawfully incite others to engage in such destruction, disruption, injury, or interference. Provided however:
- Nonviolent reaction from members of an audience at a meeting or program open to the public shall not be considered disruption or interference of legitimate activities, unless such reaction occurs for the purpose of preventing the continuation of the program and has a reasonable likelihood of succeeding.
- Mere advocacy or expression shall not be considered incitement, unless the advocacy or expression poses a clear and present danger of the imminent occurrence of destruction, disruption, injury, or interference.
- Faculty members must not misappropriate institutional property or knowingly use it in violation of state or federal law.
- Faculty members must not knowingly mislead the institution by falsely asserting facts relevant to their qualifications as faculty members or their eligibility for institutional benefits.
- Faculty members must adhere to Policy 313: Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace; Drug and Alcohol Testing.