oft times fail to see the forest for the trees. They are in the midst of
a forest of responsibilities and are blinded to them as they focus on
their freedoms. From time to time a faculty member will hit upon a tree
when confronted with a responsibility not realized or overlooked or failed
to fulfill. Still the forest is not seen. It is not seen in its entirety
nor is it seen for what it is. The listing of responsibilities is
daunting in itself.
I. Basic Responsibilities towards others as a human
II. Professional Responsibilities as an educator
III. Professional Responsibilities to an academic
IV. Professional Responsibilities to the profession
V. Professional Responsibilities to the educational
see the forest? How to manage so many responsibilities? It appears to
be the case that there are many educators for whom it may be easier to
attempt to ignore some of the responsibilities than to fulfill them. This
is particularly the case where there are few, if any, colleagues
acknowledging their collective responsibilities and where there are few,
if any, mechanisms in place for the fulfillment within the institutional
setting. But there are problems that result from ignoring responsibilities as
well as problems that result from, in some cases willful, ignorance of the
responsibilities and there are further problems that result from conflict
In considering the responsibilities that attach to educators in virtue of
their being members of a profession it is not possible to render an
account that accurate and without presenting the relationship of some of
the individual responsibilities of educators to the responsibilities they
have collectively and those responsibilities that accrue to educational
institutions. Thus in this chapter there will be presentations on
Responsibilities of Educators
Some of the
responsibilities born by members of the profession of education are
carried by each individual member and some are the shared or are the collective
responsibility of members of the profession.
Educators assume individual professional responsibilities and obligations through
their voluntary entry into the profession. There are norms governing
the behavior of members of any profession and education is no exception to
this. There are different kinds of professional norms.
According to Michael D. Bayles they are:
Obligations- these express the requirements of
professional norms. They are the prescriptions and proscriptions of a
norm: what is right or wrong to do or not to do or be.
Standards -Standards of virtue or vice present
desirable or undesirable character traits to be sought or avoided.
Permissions- what a professional may do but is
not obliged to do.
Other norms include principles and rules:
Principles- these prescribe responsibilities.
Principles are general and not specific leaving their interpretation
and application to the professionals.
Rules-These prescribe duties that specify
conduct and leave no room for discretion or judgment of individual
Principles can be used to justify rules and to
provide guidance in situations not covered by specific rules.-----Michael
D. Bayles, Professional Ethics , Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth Inc., 1981. p. 21:
The total of professional responsibilities for educators can be expressed
through an enumeration such as will be presented below but it could also
be expressed in a single maxim taken as the most basic principle of the
profession of education:
To teach, to teach
well, and to teach even better.
first responsibility then is to teach. This is what defines the
relationship of educator to learner. The instructor enters the role
with the assumption of this responsibility as basic and defining the
relationship, the role and purpose of the relationship. The
responsibility is not simply to teach but to teach well so as not to fail
in any way to provide those served with the most effective instruction
possible and in order to provide exemplars for novice instructors. As
is established below the professional educator has a fiduciary
relationship with the learner and that relationship incorporates and is
defined by the dual responsibilities of providing benefit and avoiding
harm. Not to teach well would be to teach in a manner that was
not effective or as effective as it might be. Not to teach well is to fail to fulfill the basic
positive professional responsibility of an educator toward the leaner.
teaching well there is the responsibility to teach even better. Why
is this so? There are a number of reasons why there is a
responsibility to teach even better. For the most part they arise out of
the basic responsibility to teach. To teach well there must be
a continual monitoring of the effectiveness of instruction. If that
process reveals that instruction is less effective than is needed,
desired, or possible then adjustments need to be made by the professional
educator in order to fulfill the basic responsibilities to teach and to
teach well. In the process of making adjustments the professional
educator is teaching even better.
matter how well an instructor might teach in time the learners will change
and there will be a need for the instructor to make adjustments in order
to teach well. There will be over time developments in the academic
disciplines being taught and in pedagogy. The professional educator
will stay current with both the content of the instructional program and
with the most effective pedagogies for providing instruction of that
content. In staying current the instructor teaches even better than
Instructors at any level and in any type of institutional setting who do
not vary the content or the manner of their instruction over years and
even decades are not teaching well at all. It is entirely
unreasonable to hold that over time there are no developments in either
the discipline or in pedagogy that would necessitate changes in
instruction. The professor lecturing a class using a syllabus
that is decades old and lecture notes on yellowing pages is not a
paradigm for a professional educator.
educator is a professional as such there is a responsibility to the
profession to further the profession and that would involve teaching well
enough to serve to advance the profession and to offer support of
colleagues just entering the profession if only through modeling behavior.
This relationship of an educator to professional colleagues and the
profession itself supports the responsibility to teach even better.
even better there must be efforts to improve upon what already works well.
That effort involves experimentation. That experimentation involves
human beings. Experimentation as a responsibility of professional
educators will be the topic of the next chapter. There are important
ethical concerns whenever performing experiments with human beings and
they will be brought up in the next two chapters and in chapter eight as
the preparation of educators and instruction as to their responsibilities
may vary nonetheless all educators share in a basic set of
responsibilities as professionals. Peers may not always hold
one another accountable to the same level and they may be lax in requiring
and evaluating and enforcing the fulfillment of responsibilities. This
variation in the level of awareness of professional obligation does not
dissolve those obligations. That they are sometime recognized and
fulfilled is sufficient to indicate their active existence. The
profession of education is, as are most others, a living body and it is
maturing in its awareness as generally understood of the basic
responsibilities and the ethical issues related to the profession.
It is as members of the
profession of education that each educator acquires the obligation to
forward the progress of the profession by contributing to it. To
contribute to the profession of education includes developing more
effective methods for educating. This is what constitutes the duty to
conduct pedagogic research in some form and to do so on a continuing
qualify to teach and then to actually teach is the minimum for entry into
the profession of education. To teach well is the standard for being
maintained and for acquiring status or recognitions within the profession
of education. To teach even better is the means through which the
profession makes progress. Educators owe it to themselves and to
those they teach to teach. They owe it to their students to teach
well. They owe it to their students and to their profession to teach
Not every member of the
profession participates in that profession to the same degree in effort or
enthusiasm or degree of responsibility. There are the initiates and the
retirees, the elder statespersons and there are the exemplars and the
minimalists. But at some time or other every member of the profession who
is or has been a legitimate member of it has had to fulfill the basic set
of responsibilities as are instantiated in their particular situations.
Not all members of a profession are well known within it and not all make
the same contribution to it as do its stellar members. Some members fall
into disrepute as they fail in their responsibilities in some glaring
manner that calls attention to their particular case and calls into
question the continuation of their status as members.
responsibilities of professional educators are generated from the set an
educator acquires through a voluntary entry into the profession and the
basic obligation to cause no harm. It is the latter that serves as a
check on the excesses that the former set might incline a professional to
commit in an overzealous attempt to serve the interests of the profession,
losing sight of the wider set of basic interests of those served by the
profession and their basic rights as humans, including that of not being
As a professional
educator the individual instructor acquires the responsibility to teach as
well as possible and to do everything to insure successful outcomes for
learners. This in turn generates the need for pedagogic research. If the
responsibilities are exercised without a check then pedagogic experiments
could be devised wherein groups of learners, perhaps experimental groups,
could be deliberately subjected to actual harms.
are many attempts to limn out the responsibilities of educators.
Perhaps there is no more impressive nor comprehensive a list as was set
out by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization in 1997 in its Recommendation concerning the Status of
Higher-Education Teaching Personnel,
The responsibilities of
professional educators are not of equal importance and the importance they
each have varies in degree with the type of institution and level of
education and the discipline being taught. For example at the level of
post secondary education there operates a set of unique circumstance and
considerations. Thus, there exist both additional obligations and a
different manner in which the obligations common to all levels of
education are fulfilled. Included among these are:
Refrain from paternalism -when adult learners are involved
Observe Academic Freedom
Keep current with the field of knowledge
to knowledge in one’s discipline/field
Develop new members of the discipline/field/profession
have a responsibility as such to focus on pedagogy and the improvement of
the efficacy of the pedagogies employed by each instructor with each group
of learners. When juxtaposing this responsibility to those acquired as a
member of a discipline the resulting allocation of time will vary with the
nature of the institution and its learners being served. Individual
educators might spend nearly 100% of their time as professionals
considering pedagogy and pedagogic research at the elementary level of
education while those teaching at community colleges might spend 50% and
those at research colleges and universities 25 %. Graduate instructors in
professional schools might even devote less time to consideration of
pedagogy but in no case should a professional educator devote no time to
considering pedagogy and pedagogic research. This notion of pedagogic
research includes both the formal and informal modes for conducting
research and for the dissemination of that research.
In no case should
a professional educator devote no time at all to considering pedagogy and
The responsibilities of
educators are many and varied. There are responsibilities that are
positive, some that are negative and some that may be categorized as being
either individual or collective.
focus of any professional is on some code of conduct the focus is
generally on the negative responsibilities. A profession operating with a
code of conduct and with no more general or fundamental statement of basic
ethical principles it operates as a guild. Most such codes are
created in an effort to benefit members of the guild and to protect the
profession or the guild from external review and interference in the form
of legislation and regulation from the society in which the profession
hopes to exist and flourish. Professional codes of conduct or
of ethics can enhance the identification of professionals with colleagues
and guide their behavior towards one another and on behalf of one another
and so they exhibit concern for etiquette and economic production and
Goldman has observed that
Perhaps the least cynical and sinister causal explanation for the nature
of these codes, short of attributing their cannons to dispassionate
consideration and criticism of the moral arguments, would appeal to the
understandably single minded-pursuit of goals central to professional
practice and service, goals with great social value, like health
care and economic production. It is natural for professionals to
elevate the primary concerns of their particular professions to
predominant status, even when they are opposed by values equally prominent
in our common moral framework.--- Goldman, Alan. The Moral
Foundations of Professional Ethics. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and
Littlefield, 1980. p. 292.
fear of external regulation from the general society generates the
need for self policing and in turn generates the guidelines and codes
intended to hold off the external forces.
Many but not all professions have developed what
they term as “codes of ethics” to present their relevant norms.
Violations of codes can result in loss of membership in the profession.
Such codes are comprised of statements of the obligations of
individuals. They do not generally cover the responsibilities of
the profession as a whole or as a collective. Some collective
responsibilities are born by individuals and others cannot be and so the
profession must find expression for how such collective responsibilities
will be fulfilled. -- Michael D. Bayles, Professional
Ethics , Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc., 1981. p.23.
then serves as the basis for an explication of the responsibilities of an
educator? There are a variety of ethical models of the relationship
of the professional to the client that can assist in thinking through what
it is that establishes the general obligations of professionals to their
clients. They need to deal with the basic issues of responsibility
in decision making.
The central issue in the professional-client
relationship is the allocation of responsibility and authority in
decision-making-who make what decision. The ethical models are in
effect models of different distribution of authority and responsibility
in decision-making.--Michael D. Bayles, Professional Ethics
, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc., 1981.p. 68.
These models include:
The first three models assume the professional and client
are roughly equal. This is decidedly not the case in education as the
educator is in that position by virtue of having knowledge and skills not
possessed, or to the degree, as does the student-learner.
Thus, they are inapplicable in education.
There is a need to emphasize that the model that
assigns moral responsibility in education is one that carries the notion
that there needs to be a shared responsibility for the learning.
We simply need to recognize that students and
professors must share responsibility for education. Any paradigm like
academe's view of the student as customer -- that places a majority of the
responsibility for success on one side alone is doomed to failure, just
like treating a disease without the participation of both doctor and
patient.---Phillip H. Shelley is dean of the graduate school at
Eastern New Mexico University. " Colleges Need to Give Students
Intensive Care", The Chronicle of Higher Education.
http://chronicle.com, Section: The Chronicle Review, Volume 51, Issue 18,
When there are situations in which the professional
has in some ways a superior position to the client and must assume a
greater share of the responsibility in making decisions then the relationship
moves to paternalistic or fiduciary.
- the agent or professional has superior
knowledge and judgment
- the client is incapable of giving a fully
free and informed consent
- persons in the position of client should
come to accept that decisions made by the professional/agent were on
behalf of the client and in the interests of the client
Not only does the paternalistic model sacrifice
client freedom and autonomy, but as a result client values and interests
are also sacrificed. --Michael D. Bayles, Professional
Ethics , Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc., 1981.p. 68.
As a general characterization of what the
professional-client relationship should be, one needs a concept in which
the professional’s superior knowledge is recognized, but the client
retains a significant authority and responsibility in decision-making.
--Michael D. Bayles, Professional Ethics ,
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc., 1981.p. 68.
In a fiduciary relationship, both parties are
responsible and their judgments are given consideration. Because one
party is in a more advantageous position, he or she has special
obligations to the other. The weaker party depends upon the stronger in
ways in which the other does not and so must trust the stronger party.
The appropriate ethical conception of the
professional-client relationship is one that allows clients as much
freedom to determine how their life is affected as is reasonably
warranted on the basis of their ability to make decisions….As clients
have less knowledge about the subject matter for which the professional
is engaged, the special obligations of the professional in the fiduciary
model become more significant. The professional must assume more
responsibility for formulating plans, presenting their advantages and
disadvantages, and making recommendations. …the less a client’s
knowledge and capacity to understand, the greater the professional’s
responsibilities to the client. --Michael D. Bayles,
Professional Ethics , Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc., 1981.p.
fiduciary relationship obtains when the parties are in a relation that
involves the confidence or trust of one in another. The fiduciary is
given trust by the other and that is because such trust is needed to
permit the fiduciary to do what it is that the fiduciary is to do for the
The fiduciary ethical model of the
professional-client relationship emphasizes a professional’s special
obligations to be worthy of a client trust….-Michael D. Bayles,
Professional Ethics , Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc.,
1981.p. 69. .
The fiduciary has the basic responsibility (beneficence) to
provide for those services specific to the particular relationship
(trustee, accountant, lawyer, teacher) in a manner that is to the benefit
of the client (student). The reciprocation of that trust placed in the
fiduciary is the responsibility (non-malfeasance) not to violate the trust
by causing any harm to come to the other who has surrendered some degree
of autonomy in the relationship and placed it in trust and in confidence
in the fiduciary. To fail in either responsibility is malfeasance and
dereliction of duty. The relationship establishing such responsibilities
is entered into by the recipient of the services of the fiduciary or by
that person’s guardian or by the state on behalf of the recipients. The
relationship involves a surrendering of some autonomy and the acceptance
of some degree of paternalism on the part of the fiduciary who serves
minors and the incapacitated and legally incompetent.
…some clients are not competent to make
decisions. In this case the paternalistic model becomes appropriate. -Michael
D. Bayles, Professional Ethics , Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth Inc., 1981.p. 69.
six obligations of professionals to clients can be stated as standards of
a good and trustworthy professional. A good professional is honest,
candid, competent, diligent, loyal and discrete. --Michael D. Bayles,
Professional Ethics , Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Inc.,
Responsibilities of Educators
are a number of basic and positive responsibilities of educators.
The first is to those served and the second to the profession and the
third to colleagues.
1. to fulfill fiduciary
responsibilities to learners-to educate them and to care for those who receive instruction
in a manner that benefits the learners and avoids harm
2. to improve individual
performance within the profession
research with experimentation into more effective pedagogies
3. to assist colleagues
to improve on their performance
Responsibilities of Educators
are a number of basic and negative responsibilities of educators.
Again they arise from the basic principle and the relationship of the
educator to those served, their profession and their colleagues.
Do no harm to those
being served-taught: the learners
Do not steal: ideas ,
time , materials from colleagues or those being served
Do not lie to
colleagues or to those being served.
Do not misrepresent
to colleagues or to those being served.
Do not conceal from
colleagues the results of ones personal experiences with pedagogy or the
results of research with or without experimentation
Do not conceal from society evidence of poor or
Responsibilities of Educators
are those responsibilities that cannot be accomplished or fulfilled
through the actions of individual members of the profession. They
are shared or distributed across the membership and require collective
action to realize. The responsibility to forward the progress of the
profession is a collective responsibility. Each member of the profession
participates in the activities that accomplish the end of moving the
profession forward. Collectively educators set the standards to be
observed by members and make note when they are not so observed.
This is done with respect for Academic Freedom which is also an expression
of the collective right of the profession. In may well be that some of the most perplexing and
troublesome situations that educators face can only be effectively
addressed through collective action.
through the exercise of collective responsibilities that faculty can
exercise academic freedom for without vigilant efforts to maintain the
conditions that promote and safeguard such academic freedom it is placed
in peril. It is the actions of the collective that are the most
effective mechanism for the assertion, maintenance, preservation and
exercise of academic freedom. Part of the difficulties faced
by educators with regard to matters related to academic freedom is the
result of the failure of faculty to accept their dual identity as both
academicians and educators that inhibits their acting on behalf of their
colleagues and themselves to establish and safeguard the conditions within
which academic freedom is recognized and respected. Members of the
faculty have a responsibility to educate members of the academy of the
faculty as to their identity as professional educators. Without the
acceptance of this identity and its incumbent responsibilities the
exercise of the collective responsibilities become more difficult and in
some institutional settings impossible to carry out. Yet the
exercise of the collective responsibility to assert and defend academic
freedom is necessary if faculty are to do what they are responsible to do
and that is to expand on knowledge and seek truth and to pass it on to
their students along with the development of those intellectual skills
involved in securing such knowledge..
It is a
well known phenomena, quite wide spread, that non-tenured members of a
faculty are reluctant to exercise their academic freedom and speak out in
criticism of programs and practices at their institutions an even within
their departments. It would be a different matter were faculty to
act collectively to assure the non-tenured that they have the freedom to
pursue knowledge and truth and to participate in efforts at their
institution to bring about the conditions that support such pursuits even
if that were to involve criticisms of programs and practices.
Assurance would not stop with informing faculty that they have a right to
do something but also that they will be protected from retributions for
their exercise of their rights and protected by the collective actions of
the faculty and by the mechanisms put in place to provide for such
protection by the collective action of faculty.
Individual educators have the responsibility to teach, teach well and
teach even better. The collective has the responsibility to assist
its members to fulfill their responsibility to teach, teach well and teach
As an example take the
responsibility to contribute to the profession of education and move it
forward. Conducting research into the effectiveness of pedagogy and
developing new pedagogies are contributions to the profession that
strengthen it and make for progress. Each member contributes to that
effort. Collectively the result makes for progress. Seldom is the
contribution of an individual member so significant as to singularly be
responsible for moving the entire profession forward.
as another example the all too familiar case of a single class of 30 in
which 5 withdraw, 5 fail and 20 receive passing grades. What of those
failures? Whose are they? If some learners are not learning and in fact
are failing then what is the responsibility of individual instructors?
Could the instructors have done better? If so then the instructors should
have done better. But it might be the case that the instructors could not
have done any better with a class of learners in which some failed not due
to the instructor’s not doing more that could be done but instead the
instructors could not have done more to effectively assist those who failed
to learn as much as they might due to the failure of the institution to
support the instructional program better. The individual instructors might
have large class sizes and large teaching loads and not have the time or
resources to meet the needs of individual learners with additional
attention, instruction, information, time, etc… In such cases, the faculty
as a whole has the responsibility to address the issue of institutional
support to permit them to provide for effective instruction for learners.
The faculty as a whole must act to set limits and act to provide for the
support needed for instructors and learners to succeed. Faculty must
act collectively through governance structures to insure that they do all
that they can to assist individual faculty to fulfill their obligations.
There is an expanded presentation of this situation faced by many
chapter eleven below. In the sample case study presented in that
chapter there is illustrated an interplay of individual , collective and
cases meet the conditions for Collective Responsibility as described by
1. Some members of a group perform
undesirable acts according to the group or profession.
2. Members act in accord with the group's
way of life or culture.
3. The aspects of the undesirable acts are
below the general standards set by the group or profession.
4. It is not necessarily the case that the
individuals are falling below those standards, least wise not of their own
Muyskens, James L. Moral Problems in
Nursing: A Philosophical Investigation. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and
Collective Responsibilities are often
in play when an individual instructor can not fulfill professional
responsibilities according to the standards set by the profession due to
conditions for which there is no effective way for an individual
instructor to remedy them. Collective Responsibilities are often in play when
educational institutions fail to fulfill their own responsibilities. At
the level of higher education the faculty as a whole under governance and
in exercise of their academic freedom must set the conditions under which
individual instructors will fulfill their instructional responsibilities.
Such faculty set class size and pre-requisites thought by the profession
to be needed to insure and support the efficacy of instruction.
Joel Feinberg describes and compares
four distinct and logically possible types of collective or group moral
responsibility arrangements. These are: group liability without fault,
group liability with noncontributory fault, contributory group fault:
collective and distributive, and contributory group fault: collective but
not distributive.---Feinberg, Joel, “Collective Responsibility”,
Journal of Philosophy, vol. LXV, no. 21 (November 1968), pp.
The faculties of various schools,
colleges and universities would be instances of organizations that have a
collective or group moral responsibility.
This fourth type, contributory group fault:
collective but not distributive, is an arrangement which provides for
group moral responsibility that is independent of any responsibility or
moral fault ascribable to all or any of its individual members. It is
the group itself that is at fault and the group's moral responsibility
is not equivalent to the sum of the responsibilities of its members.
Group moral responsibility of this type is a concept that allows the
entire issue of widespread harm associated with organizational
activities to be treated differently in many respects from the approach
that has been dominant. The final type of collective responsibility is
the only one of the four in which culpability is not reducible.
If a group, separate from its members, can be
morally responsible and liable to punishment, concerns regarding the
moral status of such groups are raised, including what similarities and
differences in moral status exist between groups and individual human
agents. Further, if groups can be morally responsible agents, regarded
as entities distinct from their members, questions about their
ontological status are also raised.-David T. Risser,
“Collective Moral Responsibility", Internet Encyclopedia of
are calls in some quarters to recognize the collective responsibility of
faculty in a more formal sense. Diether H. Haenicke, President of Western
Michigan University indicates a need for norms for the conduct of
faculty and for their being held collectively responsible for certain
situations that obtain.
I continue to argue strongly for a written code of ethics
for the academic profession. The policy statements issued by the AAUP do
not suffice, mainly because they are vague in their essentials and, most
importantly because, to the best of my knowledge, there is not a single
case in the history of the AAUP that involves even as little as a public
reprimand of one of its members for ethical or professional misconduct,
not to speak of dismissal. Campus faculty themselves have to develop these
ethics codes, and some campuses have already begun. We need to find
standards that speak not only to sexual harassment but to consensual
relationships; that examine conflicts of interest and conflicts of
commitment; that illuminate our professional obligations to students and
colleagues; and that wed our desire for shared university governance with
the commitment to be held collectively responsible for what goes on and
what goes wrong in the university.---Diether H.
Haenicke, "Academic Malpractice: The Need
for a Code of Professional Ethics", PERSPECTIVES on
Vol. 9, No. 1, August 1989
Academic Ethics: Shoes for the Cobbler's Children,
notion of collective responsibility as applies to corporate entities is
fairly commonly recognized. There is evidence that the concept of
collective responsibility as it would apply to the teaching faculty as a
whole is gaining acknowledgment in a variety of quarters. It is seen
in "Codes" of professional ethics, such as at Sterling College
Faculty members should present the subject matter of courses as announced
to students and as approved by the faculty in their collective
responsibility for the curriculum. http://www.sterling.edu/campus/acadaffr/code.cfm
Individual faculty members are making known their realization of the
collective responsibility of faculty in which they participate.
never occurred to me until at least the mid-l980s was the idea that I
might be responsible, even a contributor, to the overall learning not only
of my students but of students whom I never taught or even saw. ...By
collective responsibility I mean collaborating with the rest of the
faculty in studying the effect of our work on students. This is faculty
teamwork at its academic best...For too long have we ignored our
collective responsibility as educators in furthering our students'
education. If we persist in our indifference to working with our
colleagues, we will never learn just how complex a process that teaching
and learning are.--Donald Halog, "Assessment and
Collective Responsibility", First Annual General Education Assessment
Retreat, Delta College, May 18, 2001.
Faculty are realizing that collective responsibility
obtains in a variety of circumstances involving the delivery of
Team teaching requires team building, collaborative
skills, and collective responsibility...Teachers in learning communities
also have a collective responsibility to articulate the community or
program theme.--Jody Levine
Laufgraben and Daniel Tompkins "Pedagogy That Builds Community "
in Jody Levine Laufgraben, Nancy S. Shapiro and Associates. Sustaining
and Improving Learning Communities, Jossey-Bass, A Wiley
Imprint, San Francisco, CA., 2004.
National Education Association promotes the recognition of collective
responsibility for faculty.
Collective responsibility for student learning is an organizational issue
as well as an instructional one.---National Education Association,
"A Commitment to Success:
Taking Collective Responsibility for All Students' Learning", in Advocate
Online: Thriving on Academe, April, 2002.
National Science Teachers Association relies on the notion of collective
responsibility and does so when promoting the idea of Science Teacher
profession assumes collective responsibility for defining, communicating,
and enforcing professional standards of practice and ethics...Science
teachers assume responsibility for enabling learners to reach their
potential... Science teachers collectively establish and continually
revise standards of practice, model ethical behavior, and account for
their actions.-- NSTA "Position Statement: Science Teacher
concept has been recognized in relation to the process of improving the
effectiveness of instruction.
Fourthly, the locus of responsibility should not be regarded as solely
with the individual teacher. By encouraging staff to think about a
collective responsibility for teaching within a department the isolation
of lecturers can be removed. Historically there have been a lack of safe
places where discussion about teaching can take place. POT can play a
large role in creating an environment in which such discussions can occur.
....Subject staff need to be able to engage critically with conceptions of
teaching (Ho IJAD 2000) through dialogue with peers. Teaching must become
a discussible topic to challenge what is taken for granted. Through
collective peer review teaching can become a matter of collective
responsibility and not individual blame or praise. But staff are less
familiar with discussing teaching than research methods. To tackle this
problem we need to consider ways of making teaching important and to find
ways of valuing reflection? Teaching staff need to develop a language to
discuss teaching and adopt a more scholarly approach to discussion of it
through a peer review model.
---David Gosling, "Models of Peer Observation
Community College there is a Strategic Learning Initiative that is a
faculty-led partnership with Lane’s administration to create increased
capacity for innovation and to carry out major, systemic change of the
learning environment. It provides a mechanism for:
improving the systems through which faculty innovate and exercise
collective responsibility for enhancing the students’ learning
initiative realizes the essential professional collective responsibility
of its faculty:
Faculty are the natural leaders of this change process because of their
skills and expertise, their deep professional commitment to student
learning, and the faculty’s commitment to the quality of their profession
which suffers if it doesn’t actively improve itself. Practically, there
are no realistic alternatives to faculty leadership. If major systemic
improvements are to be made soon in the learning environment, the effort
must be faculty led. The SLI is structured so that faculty and faculty
values predominate at all levels from guiding the whole SLI to creating
and carrying out specific innovations.---Lane Community College,
"What is Lane’s Strategic Learning Initiative?",May 2004.
initiative was the result of a collectively bargained agreement to insure
institutional support for the activities which enable faculty to exercise
their collective responsibility. Focus next turns on the notion of
institutional responsibility which, as in the case of Lane Community
College, should work in relation to the collective responsibility of the
faulty to better enable the faculty and the institution through the work
of its faculty to realize their mission.
notion of collective responsibility is accepted and acted upon by the
instructional staff it would serve as the mitigating mechanism for the
tension and even antagonisms that exists in the relation of individual
educators to the institution and its management.
through the exercise of collective responsibility that faculties can
obtain an institutional response adequate to remedy the concerns and
problems faced by individual educators. Why should this be so?
Why would an institution give institutional support to its faculty upon
its collective assertion of a need? The mission of the institution
is only accomplished through its faculty doing what they are responsible
to do. The institution has as its responsibility the fulfillment of
its mission. The faculty have as their individual and collective
responsibility to advance the profession and to advance the effectiveness
of instruction. The institution would support the fulfillment
of those responsibilities of educators because it is through the
fulfillment of those responsibilities that there will be better teaching:
the continuing improvement in the efficacy of instruction. It is
through the continuing improvement in the efficacy of instruction that
there will be higher student achievement. It is higher student
achievement that will produce a higher retention rate and a higher
graduation rate. These improvements not only are in keeping
with the mission of the institution but often have a direct and positive
effect on the funding of the institution.
Academic Freedom relates to the
faculty as a collective in several ways needed to support the Academic
Freedom of individual educators. The concept and right to Academic Freedom has been
recognized several times over by the Supreme Court who have held that
Academic Freedom is to be respected for academic institutions and faculty
Who will teach- appointment , promotion and tenure
What will be taught- curricula development and
How it will be taught- pedagogy- instructional
design-modality of instruction
To whom it will be taught- who will be admitted to
study – admissions policies and programs
So, Academic Freedom exists within the confines of
the academic world and also within its practices and standards and norms.
It exists for faculty, only within that context within the academic
community and amongst professional academicians. However, Academic
Freedom is not absolute license; it is circumscribed by appropriate
academic judgments by individual academicians and by the collectives of
academicians acting on a departmental or college wide level to make
decisions about what to teach, how to teach it, who will teach and who
will be taught and matters related to those four basic activities,
decisions and responsibilities.
The Academic Freedom of the individual member of the
faculty is often thought about as the freedom
to make extramural utterances and there have been many cases brought to
the attention of the public involving such. Such acts of
academicians are protected as a special concern of the First Amendment
Right. The other senses in which an individual faculty member has a
right to Academic Freedom is within the academy when participating in the
acts of deciding who will teach, what to teach and how it will be taught
and to whom. Within those provinces the right of an individual
faculty member is not absolute. Each member of the faculty must act
within the parameters and according to the norms as established by
professional educators and colleagues. Such parameters and norms as
set through the collective actions of the faculty who have the collective
responsibility as professional educators to do such. When so acting
within those parameters and norms the individual faculty member is to be
afforded freedom from the interference of those outside of the academy.
There is a Pedagogic Imperative for any educational
institution. An educational institution has an obligation to:
accomplish its mission and to do so as
well as possible given its resources
report to its stakeholders (public or
private) how well it is doing, given the resources provided by those
What is the primary mission? It
is education. The teaching faculty have each the the responsibility
to teach, teach well and teach even better. The faculty as a
collective has the responsibility to work together to assist its members
to fulfill their responsibility to teach, teach well and teach even
better. The institution has the responsibility to assist that
collective to fulfill its responsibility to teach, teach well and
teach even better. Toward that end it has a responsibility to
how well it serves that public
through the achievement of its mission
how many of its students
achieve their academic objectives (not necessarily a degree)
the achievement of the degree
objectives by each of its degree recipients
fulfillment of other items in its
the degree of institutional
responsibility for those who do not achieve their academic objectives
To insure fulfillment of
its institutional responsibilities each educational institution should
have an institutional assessment program including:
Institutional Review of
Institutional Performance-retention and progress of learners towards their
Institutional Review Board or a Quality
Assurance Review that exists in order to review individual cases of
failure of a learner to achieve academic goals in order to identify those
factors within the institution that may have contributed to that failure
and to recommend solutions
An essential component in its set of
responsibilities is to provide for the best possible instructional
program. Toward that end the institution must:
assist faculty as a whole
and as individuals to assess the efficacy of their pedagogic techniques,
methodologies, and modalities
assist faculty to improve
the efficacy of instruction based on adequate assessment and research
assist faculty in recognizing, accepting and fulfilling their collective
Educational institutions at all levels need an
infrastructure with regard to pedagogy itself, providing support for
research into and development of teaching and learning for each member of
the instructional staff. This is what has been lacking for some time,
perhaps all time, in higher education. The recent explosion of centers
for teaching and learning (CETL) is merely the acknowledgment of the
The educational technologies currently available and
being adopted by faculty are forcing those involved with them to consider
the pedagogy involved. Examples of their successful adoptions
forcefully illustrate the need for institutional support for faculty
seeking to use them effectively. Most colleges are still a long way from
recognizing, let alone adequately responding to that need. Faculty
themselves are starting to recognize their own more general responsibility
to research and develop more effective pedagogies than they are currently
using-the explosion in the "field" called the Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning (SOTL). Higher education does not yet have the infrastructure of
support for faculty to successfully carry out their dual responsibilities
as educators and members of a discipline.
When educational institutions fail in their
institutional responsibilities it becomes the case that educators have the collective
responsibility to address those failures and remedy them in some manner.
It is beyond the capacity of individual educators to effect institutional
reform. It is often the case that the collective responsibility is
exercised through professional organizations performing studies and
issuing guidelines and participating in assessments and accreditation
processes. Collective bargaining organizations have often proven to be
the single most effective medium for the exercise of collective
The assumption of
responsibility for the success of the learners becomes an institutional
moral responsibility. The members of the staff and faculty realize that
they have a collective responsibility to those served. All members of the
faculty and staff realize that they must do their part and assist others
to do their parts in order to achieve the goal of service to those who
come to the college for an education. If this responsibility is
realized and fulfilled it not only better enables both individual
educators to do what they need to do and accomplish but also better
enables the institution to do what it needs to do through its faculty.
Thus it is in part an institutional responsibility to foster the
recognition and acceptance of collective responsibility and its
development and fulfillment.
The Lumina Foundation has done research that indicates
institutional responsibility is one of four principle factors related to
access and success in postsecondary Education. ---Lumina Foundation,
"What We Know about Access and Success in Postsecondary Education:
Informing Lumina Foundation's Strategic Direction",
The Middle States
Commission on Higher Education notes institutional responsibilities as
important in determining the overall outcomes and
T]he extent to which each educational
institution accepts and fulfills the responsibilities inherent in that
process is a measure of its concern for freedom, independence and
quality in higher education and its commitment to striving for and
achieving excellence in its endeavors.
There are many ways in which institutions may
affirm the value and realize the benefits of accreditation. As each
undertakes its institutional self-study and participates in other
aspects of the accrediting process, the Commission urges particular
attention to several basic institutional responsibilities. The
institution's commitment to quality and regard for accreditation
fundamentals are reflected in an institution's integrity in dealing with
its constituencies and the public; involvement of administrators,
faculty, students, and others in the self-study process; and commitment
to continuous improvement.
--Middle States Commission on
Institutions of higher education have a certain institutional autonomy.
As expressed in the AAUP "General Declaration of Principles" in 1915
http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/566 ) they
exist to serve three purposes:
- To promote inquiry and advance the sum of human
- To provide general instruction to the students.
- To develop experts for various branches of the
was granted to such institutions to better enable them to fulfill those
purposes. Such autonomy had and continues to have a practical
benefit for society in as much the advancement of knowledge and the
preparation of knowledgeable members of society with intellectual capital
has great social value.
next chapter the focus is turned upon the particular responsibility of
educators to conduct pedagogic research and experimentation.
@copyright 2004 by S. Kincaid and P. Pecorino