Published on Rhodes College: Rhodes Handbook (

V. Professional Duties and Responsibilities

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A. Professional Ethics

Every officer of instruction shall support the integrity, good reputation, general welfare, and stated purpose and mission of the College. Every officer of instruction is expected to maintain the highest personal standards of character and conduct.

Faculty members must abide by the highest standards of integrity in their own duties and responsibilities. Though members of the Faculty are not subject to the procedures identified and administered within the Honor Code for students at the College, it is expected that members of the Faculty will abide by the provisions of that code of ethics in their dealings with persons at the College.

In addition, Faculty members must support the Honor Code by reporting to the Honor Council cases of student plagiarism, cheating, and lying in official matters, and report to the Honor Council cases of failure by other students to report such matters. If a Faculty member is unsure whether a situation needs to be reported, they are to consult with either the Honor Council President or the College’s Judicial Officer for the Honor Council.

Faculty members have the responsibility to communicate the Honor Code to students and to make clear the Code’s application to class assignments. Where appropriate, a clear definition of plagiarism should be presented and the extent of allowable collaboration among students in fulfilling academic requirements should be carefully explained. Faculty members are to make clear what materials may and may not be used in preparing graded work. Faculty members require each student to “pledge” all work expected to be governed by the provisions of the Honor Code.

In reporting a suspected violation of the Honor Code it is appropriate to consult with the chair of the department. It is also appropriate to inform the student of your concern about irregularities in the work submitted, on the assumption that the student may be able to explain them and therefore remove suspicions about the nature of the work.

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B. Faculty Responsibilities

The service year for Faculty is defined as the period from the first Faculty meeting before the opening of the fall semester through the Monday following commencement in the following spring semester. During the period of their contract, members of the Faculty must be on campus for a substantial part of each class day. When professional or personal affairs require that a Faculty member be away from campus for 1-5 class days, the department chair must be notified and must approve the absence. For longer absences the approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President must also be obtained. Normally, full time Faculty members in tenured or tenure-track positions teach five four-credit courses or their equivalent, and supervise a number of independent projects, or their equivalent, and participate in departmentally-sponsored academic programs such as senior seminars in each year. Full time Faculty members on term appointments normally teach six four-credit courses or their equivalent.

Officers of instruction contribute in many other ways to the education of their students, to the welfare of their department and programs, and to the general welfare of the College. Some of these are:

  1. Leading directed inquiries, conducting tutorials and independent study projects, and supervising honors projects.
  2. Keeping adequate office hours at times reasonably accessible to students.
  3. Advising students—both general academic advising and the advising of majors.
  4. Helping to maintain a vital curriculum by revision of existing courses and inauguration of new courses.
  5. Aiding students who seek admission to professional and graduate schools through advice and preparation of letters of reference.
  6. Carrying a fair share of the administrative work of departments, the Faculty, and the College.
  7. Attending all Faculty meetings and convocations.
  8. Maintaining and building library and other academic resources.
  9. Maintaining an active, involved professional life including scholarly work or artistic production.

A more detailed narrative description of the work of the Faculty comprises Section VII of this document.

Part-time officers of instruction are appointed for the teaching of a designated number of courses. Except for such contact with students outside of class time as needed for effective teaching, a part-time position does not carry the other obligations that are normal to full time positions. However, part-time Faculty who are extended Faculty membership assume these duties in proportion to the fraction of full time that they teach. (See Section II A.)

An officer of instruction shall not substitute nor appoint anyone to perform his or her College duties without the approval, in each case, of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

An officer of instruction, in accepting an appointment from the College, thereby agrees to conform to all regulations adopted by the Faculty, by the President, and by the Board of Trustees.

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C. Professional Growth

As an important corollary to the evaluation system, Faculty members each year make plans for professional growth as teachers and scholars. These plans, formulated with the department chair and, where appropriate, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, should make use of both College supported and outside professional development activities.

When, as the result of annual evaluation, a Faculty member is found to have serious deficiencies, a more formal plan for improvement will be developed with the help of the department chair and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The plan shall list the improvements to be made, and over what time period. It will indicate how improvements are to be assessed and the consequences of failure to improve. If a plan cannot be agreed upon, the views of the Faculty member, the department chair and the Vice President for Academic Affairs will be forwarded to the President for final decision.

At the end of each calendar year Faculty members make a formal report to the Office of Academic Affairs concerning scholarly publications and other professional activities. This report includes an updated curriculum vitae.

Sections VII and VIII of this document contain important information about the work of the Faculty in scholarship and the standards that are applied.

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D. Outside Employment

Faculty who wish to accept outside employment during the academic year must make a written request to the Provost for approval. The Provost will grant permission for outside employment only when it will not interfere with College duties, will not create a conflict of interest for the Faculty member’s primary obligations to the College, and when it is consistent with Rhodes values and goals. If outside employment involves the use of College materials or facilities this must be made clear in the request for approval, and reasonable compensation must be made for this use. Faculty granted permission for such employment must make an annual report to the Provost concerning its nature and extent.

Faculty requesting approval for continuing outside employment, or for outside employment that is expected to be more frequent than once a year, shall submit a formal, written request for remunerative employment, giving the name(s) of outside employer(s), the amount of time involved and schedule, and a statement that all outside employment will meet the requirements of these policies.  

A Remunerative Employment Request may be made by faculty and approved by the Provost in Workday. Depending upon the timing of the request, approved employment may also be included in faculty contracts. If the request is approved by the Provost, it will be made a part of the employment contract for contract employees. All approved requests are retained in the employee’s personnel file. Occasional honoraria for speaking and leadership in academic consortia or associations are not considered as outside employment. 

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E. Fraternization Policy

As an educational institution Rhodes College is committed to maintaining an environment in which its Faculty members, students, administrators, and staff members are safe, can be trusted and count on others to be trustworthy, and receive and extend to others respect as human persons. Indeed, mutual respect among Faculty members, students and administrators is an essential ingredient in the educational process and the greatest care must be taken that it not in any way be eroded.

Virtually all Faculty members, administrators, and staff members are, or can appear to be, in a position to exercise power or authority, directly or indirectly, over students, whether or not an individual student is enrolled in their classes, are subject to their direct supervision, or have some form of business to transact with offices at the College. Many students are at a stage in their development when they may be particularly vulnerable to the influence of Faculty members, administrators, and staff members who are in positions where they can affect the terms and conditions of a student’s standing at the College.

If a student consents to a romantic relationship with a Faculty member, administrator, or staff member, the existence of such a relationship could have unintended adverse effects on the educational environment of the College. In some cases such a relationship can end unhappily or become problematic, resulting in charges of sexual harassment, and even physical or psychological abuse.

Some circumstances in which Faculty members, administrators, staff members work with students can have the potential for the exploitation of students. For example, a work-study student might be asked to perform services that go beyond the terms and conditions of the work-study assignment, e.g. child care, personal business transactions. In such cases, it must be clear that the student may decline such personal invitations without any adverse consequences. It may be that a work-study student will respond to an invitation to provide personal assistance, but this relationship must be one in which the student volunteers, is offered and accepts a fair wage for services, and one which bears no relationship to the continuation of or the evaluation of the work-study assignment.

Because of the commitment to maintaining an environment that supports our educational goals Rhodes College prohibits romantic, sexual, and exploitative relationships between college employees and students. In the event that any such relationship is reported and confirmed the college employee is subject to employee disciplinary procedures up to and including termination in the case of administrators and staff members, or dismissal for cause in the case of Faculty members. The policies and procedures for employee disciplinary procedures and dismissal for cause, as outlined in the College Handbook, apply in all such cases.

There are exceptional circumstances in which the spouse or partner of a college employee is a student at the College. This fraternization policy does not apply in such circumstances. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Chief Human Resources Officer, is the administrative officer who determines whether an exceptional circumstance applies.

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F. Sexual Harassment Policy

Rhodes College prohibits and will not tolerate sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is reprehensible. It violates the personal rights, growth, and integrity of the victim. It is especially damaging when it involves exploitation of the relationship between Faculty members or administrators on the one hand and students on the other or between superiors and subordinates of any kind. When the authority and power inherent in such relationships is abused, there is damage not only to individual victims but also to the educational climate of the College.

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