Ethics for DBCIPH Teachers
The word 'ethics' is defined as rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad, especially those concerning human conduct (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Basic ethical behavior is learned from the family environment and from acquaintances, school friends and teachers. However, there are several connotations related to ethics, but in this case this simple definition given above is accepted.
Ethics in the Profession
In addition to basic ethical behavior, we need to respect certain ethical issues and standards inherent to academic staff in universities. The teachers in the higher education sector are considered as a professional group of experts in each subject discipline areas. Therefore, these issues and related standards apply to all DBCIPH teachers, regardless of their chosen subject discipline.
Ethical Principles in Teaching
- Content Competence: DBCIPH teachers should strive to continuously improve and maintain a high level of their subject knowledge and ensure that it is up-to-date in a rapidly advancing world. They should ensure that course contents are current, accurate, relevant and appropriate to the level of the study programme, and that it covers the minimum requirement defined in the subject benchmark statement/s developed by the DBCIPH and accepted by the UGC.
- Pedagogical Competence: DBCIPH teachers should improve their pedagogical skills through development of their teaching methods. They should communicate the course objectives to the students at the beginning of the course, and align them to the objectives of the degree programme. They should select appropriate methods of instruction and ensure that such methods are effective in helping students to achieve the course objectives. They should also be aware of alternative instructional methods or strategies that may be more effective in enabling students to achieve the intended learning outcomes.
- Student Development: Student development is the primary outcome of teaching. Therefore, DBCIPH teachers should design their methods of instruction and assessment to facilitate learning, encouraging autonomy and independent thinking in students. Teachers should always treat every student with respect and dignity, and avoid any action that could impede student development.
- Openness in Subject Matters: DBCIPH teachers should inform and make the students aware of the specific curriculum in teaching. Especially, the curriculum should be circulated among the students at the time of starting teaching. DBCIPH teachers would complete the maximum of the topic contained in the curriculum while motivating students to adhere to the recommended readings for each course unit.
- Dealing with Sensitive Topics: Some course unit may contain topics that are likely to be sensitive, intolerable or cause discomfort to students. In dealing with such topics, DBCIPH teachers should first explain why such topics have been included in the course and then discuss them in an open, honest and positive manner. Especially, the teacher would request students to take their own decision to continue or vacate the specific time of the particular lesson.
- Valid Assessment of Students: Since student performance is greatly determined by assessment policies and strategies of degree programmers, it is imperative that DBCIPH teachers select assessment techniques that are consistent with the objectives of the course. They should be as reliable and as valid as possible. Assessment methods should be communicated to students at the beginning of the course, though it is a part of the curriculum given to the students.
- Dual Relationships with Students: DBCIPH teachers' relationships with students should be based on pedagogical goals and academic requirements. Teachers should not enter into dual role relationships with students that could lead to actual or perceived favoritism. Neither should they engage in activities that are likely to discriminate against or marginalize any student in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, social class, etc.
- Confidentiality: DBCIPH teachers should ensure that student grades, attendance records and private communications are treated as confidential material. Thus, they should be released only for legitimate academic purposes or only with the student's consent. Release of study information should be beneficial to the student, or prevent harm to others.
- Respect for Colleagues: DBCIPH teachers should respect the dignity of their colleagues and work cooperatively with them in the interest of fostering student development. Teachers should maintain professionalism in order to maximize student attainment in all their professional activities carried out within the institution while nurturing the research and academic culture.
- Respect for the Institution: DBCIPH teachers should be aware of, and respect the educational goals, vision and mission, policies and standards of the institution. They should always share a sense of collective responsibility to work for the good of the institution.
Ethical Principles in Research
All DBCIPH teachers are expected to conduct research in their fields of specialization. Ethical issues related to finding and conflicts of interest could sometimes arise in conducting research. Further, ethical issues could arise in the conduct of human and animal research, genetic research as well as in ethnic, religious and gender studies. Ethics must be considered in the following situations, in research undertaken by teachers. Thus, it is emphasised that ethical clearance should be taken in all sensitive cases of research by the teachers. In addition, following specific matters are essential in teachers’ professional life in the institution.
- Identification and Justification of Research Problems: After an extensive literature review, the proponents should be able to highlight the gaps in current knowledge and how the intended study would bridge the gaps. Due reference should be made to all relevant publications. Suppression or non-referencing of literature unfavorable to one's own proposed research is unethical.
- Conflicts of Interest/Funding: Researchers should maintain transparency at all times. The actual outcome of the project should be stated clearly. Self-interests including financial benefits, one's own firm beliefs and other gains in kind should be avoided. In reporting research findings, quoting studies that only support the researcher's out comes, and failure to include negative results should be also avoided.
- Utilization of Funds, Resources and Methodology: Use of methods that are unlikely to achieve the objectives is unethical because valuable resources in the form of time, effort and funds will be wasted. Hence, methods that are appropriate for the achievement of objectives should be selected, and funds allocated accordingly. Therefore, it is essential to have sufficient discussion by the Research and Publication Committee (RPC) before the approval of research funds/grants by the institution.
- Ethical Issues in Social and Biological Research: In biological research as well as research in humanities and social sciences, where information of an intimate nature is sought, certain guidelines have to be followed. Some ethical issues have legal and human (and animal) rights implications. In all such cases, as highlighted above researchers should seek approval from the Ethics Review Committees in the DBCIPH.
- Reporting of Results: All relevant results should be reported. Suppression or non-reporting of unfavorable results is unethical. Likewise, failure to mention the limitations of the methods used in the study is unethical.
- Publication: Only information that is based on solid scientific principles and ethically conducted research should reach the wider society, because DBCIPH teachers should adhere to the fundamentals of research ethics as well as they must have a social responsibility.
- Duplicate Publications: The outcome of research should be published as an article only once.
- Authorship: Authorship of a publication should be restricted to those who were directly involved in the study. These involvements could include conceptualization, design, collection and management of data, discussion and writing of the paper. If someone is avoided from the key group of authors without a justifiable reason it is unethical.
- Research Fraud: Intentional dishonesty in research is unethical. Such acts include fabrication or invention of data, falsification or deliberate distortion of data and plagiarism. Copying large amounts of material without acknowledgement is also a form of research fraud.
- Use of Additional Support for Research: Intentional dishonesty against the subordinate members who work for the fulfillment of the research goals is unethical. All research assistants, data entry operators, and other supporters should be paid on time if they are hired for the research purpose.