Treating Students as Early-Career Professionals: The Ethics of Teaching

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Book Chapter

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The ethics of teaching (not to be confused with the teaching of ethics) is not typically considered a hot topic, but perhaps it should be. The practice of teaching involves careful delivery of content using pedagogically sound methods. Teaching ethically includes supervising and evaluating students carefully, navigating complex relationships, ensuring equity, and balancing academic freedom with responsibility. In each instance, educators must balance ethics, consider the role of integrity, and act in ways that are in students’ best interests. In this chapter, we reflect on the ethics of teaching with respect to honoring diversity in the classroom, how to select course materials and methods of teaching, and how to navigate interpersonal relationships in a professional manner. In each instance, we consider how faculty might invite students into a discussion about the ethical issues faculty members face, and how those issues can be resolved in an ethical and transparent way. By presenting ethical issues in a way that opens but does not enflame controversy, instructors offer students an important model of professional behavior that will serve them in whatever career they ultimately choose.