Virginia Tech® home

Principles of Ethical Behavior

The statement of principles of ethical behavior is contained in the Faculty Handbook, section 2.7.

Scholarship: Guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, we recognize our primary responsibility to our disciplines is to seek and to state the truth. To this end, we devote our energies to developing and improving our scholarly competence. We accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. We practice intellectual honesty and do not compromise our freedom of inquiry.

Students: We encourage the free pursuit of learning in our students and exemplify the best scholarly and ethical standards of our disciplines. We value and promote differences among students and respect students as individuals and serve as their intellectual guides and counselors. We make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that our evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. We respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professors and students. We avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students and acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students. We do not engage in any romantic or sexual relationships with students whom we are in a position to evaluate by virtue of our teaching, research, or administrative responsibilities.

Instruction: We strive to be fair, compassionate, and effective teachers. We prepare classes adequately, present materials fairly, and make ourselves available to students for consultation and advice. We avoid bias and we respect diverse points of view.

Colleagues:  We accept our obligations that derive from common membership in the faculty of Virginia Tech. We relate to colleagues and other university personnel in a responsible, professional, and civil manner, avoiding behaviors and actions that purposefully, consistently, and unnecessarily tend to disrupt, impede, harass, or abuse them in the performance of their assigned tasks and professional duties. We do not discriminate against colleagues, nor do we engage in romantic or sexual relationships with employees whom we are in a position to supervise or evaluate. We respect and defend free inquiry by all. In the exchange of criticisms and ideas, we show respect for the opinions of others, acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance, and strive to be open-minded and fair in our professional judgments. We accept our share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of Virginia Tech and take due care in the discharge of those responsibilities.

University: We seek above all to be effective in our assigned responsibilities. We give paramount importance to these responsibilities in determining the amount and character of work done outside of Virginia Tech. Although we observe the Faculty Handbook, we maintain our right to criticize and seek revision of university policy.

Community: As members of the larger community, we have the same rights and obligations as other citizens. We measure the importance of these rights and obligations in light of our responsibilities to our disciplines, to our professions, to our students, and to Virginia Tech. When we speak or act as private persons, we avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for Virginia Tech. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its welfare and integrity, we have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and of further public understanding of academic freedom.

  • The faculty of Virginia Tech believe that academic freedom is essential to attain our missions as scholars and teachers.
  • We also recognize and accept the responsibilities attendant to academic freedom as fundamental to a scholarly community.
  • We believe we must exercise our rights with due regard to the rights of others and we must meet our obligations fully as faculty members. 
  • We hold ourselves accountable to ensure that the faculty of Virginia Tech is recognized for its commitment and leadership to pursue knowledge, to promote the free expression of ideas, to teach our students, and to serve the citizens of Virginia