Code of Ethical Behavior

A. Purpose

This policy establishes principles of ethical behavior as stated in the Faculty Handbook, and further emphasizes these principles with respect to research activities.

B. Revision history

Originally issued: March 2000

C. Persons affected

All Northwestern Health Sciences University faculty, staff, and students engaged in research activities.

D. Related research policy documents

Academic Freedom

Misconduct in Science

Rights and Responsibilities in the Conduct of Research

E. Policy

At Northwestern Health Sciences University the principles of acceptable conduct subscribed to are those as follows:

  • In the clinics, including the Student Health Clinic, the doctor-patient relationship follows the Ethical Standards of the ACA for the practice of chiropractic.
    • The integrity of the academic process requires fair and impartial evaluation on the part of the faculty and honest academic conduct on the part of the students. To this end, students are expected to conduct themselves at a mature and sophisticated level of responsibility in the fulfillment of the course of their study.
    • It is the responsibility of the faculty to make clear to students those standards by which students will be evaluated and the resources permissible for use by students during the course of the study and evaluation. The educational process is perceived as a joint faculty-student enterprise that will permit–without penalty–­reasoned exception by students to the data or views offered by faculty.
  • All faculty members engaged in clinical practice and/or human subjects research must be guided by the basic ethical principles of beneficence, respect for persons, and justice. All faculty members and students involved in research activities at Northwestern Health Sciences University are expected to comply with all of the policies in the Research Policy Handbook. For more information on professional ethics, refer to Misconduct in Science.

Consistent with these considerations (and without limiting their scope and application in their entirety to the academic and research programs of the University), faculty and students are directed to observe the following guidelines:


  • Faculty should meet and students should attend their classes when scheduled; faculty should be available at reasonable times for appointments and should keep such appointments; faculty and students should make appropriate preparations for classes and other meetings; students should submit their assignments in a timely manner; and faculty should perform their grading duties in a timely manner.
  • The general content of a course or other academic program should be described with reasonable accuracy in catalogs, syllabi or other written documents available to students. The content, objectives and standards of evaluation (including the importance to be assigned various factors in academic evaluation) in a course should be described by the faculty member at the first or second meeting.
  • Integrity of academic and research processes require that credit be given where credit is due. Accordingly, it is unethical to present, as one’s own work, the ideas, representations, or words of another or to permit another to present one’s own work without customary and proper acknowledgment of sources. The limits of permissible assistance available to students during a course or an academic evaluation should be determined by the faculty member and described with reasonable particularity at the first or second class meeting, or well in advance of an evaluation, so as to allow for adequate student preparation within the permissible limits.
  • All academic evaluations must be based upon good faith and professional judgment, in accordance with applicable standards. Factors such as race, color, religion, age, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, status with regard to public assistance or unrelated activities occurring outside the classroom may not be considered in matters of academic evaluation, nor shall reasoned views expressed by students during the course of study adversely prejudice any students.
  • All faculty and students must be aware of academic and research regulations of the University and adhere to them.
  • Clinic faculty and interns must be aware of the clinic regulations and adhere to them.
  • Faculty members must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. (Available through Northwestern’s Library and the Registrar’s office.)
  • Faculty members must be fully aware of the contents of the Student Handbook.

Additional faculty ethical obligations

  • To refrain from sexual or romantic relations with any student, clinic or research patient for whom the faculty member has a professional responsibility, based on:
    • an inherent power differential which exists between teacher/researcher and student, or clinician/researcher and patient, and
    • the potential to undermine trust on which educational and therapeutic processes depend;
  • To not exploit their professional relationship with students or patients for private advantage; such as soliciting the assistance of students or patients for private purposes in a manner which infringes upon their freedom of choice;
  • To give appropriate recognition to contributions made by students to research, publication, service or other activities;
  • To refrain from any activity which involves risk to the health and safety of a student or patient, except with their informed consent, and where applicable, in accordance with the University policy relating to the use of human subjects in research;
  • To respect the dignity of students, individually and collectively, in the classroom and other academic or clinical contexts.

Faculty rights under the Code of Ethics

The faculty of Northwestern is entitled to the following rights:

  • To be treated in a professional manner by students, faculty, administrators and staff;
  • To assist in curriculum development through syllabus development, course proposals and input to their respective academic departments;
  • To have reasonable time, facilities, and equipment to fulfill their assignments within University fiscal constraints;
  • To assume protection of the University in matters of academic freedom and ethical standards
  • To have routes of communication and information to assist in the development of the University in general;
  • To be given full and impartial consideration in matters of promotion and continuing employment;
  • To constantly be engaged in personal development of skills, knowledge, research and publication pertinent to areas of expertise; and
  • To be governed by a sincere, clear and mutually binding faculty handbook and contract including remuneration for services in relation to status and responsibility.