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Faculty Expectations

Ohio Northern University seeks to attract, reward, and retain faculty members who have the ability and motivation to teach students well; who are professionally engaged within their discipline; who seek to expand knowledge and understanding through scholarly activity; who participate in departmental, college and university service; and exhibit civility and collegiality in their interactions with all members of the University community.

Responsibilities to Students: Teaching is a primary function of the University. Faculty members are expected to aspire to excellence in teaching and to foster a stimulating and productive learning environment. High quality teaching is serious intellectual work grounded in a deep knowledge and understanding of the field and includes the ability to convey that understanding in clear and engaging ways. The conduct of classes is the central feature of teaching responsibilities at the university, but teaching also includes supervising student research and clinical activities, mentoring and advising students, and other teaching-related activities outside of the classroom.

Faculty members are expected to treat students with civility and respect. Because of their inevitable function as role models, faculty members must be guided by the most sensitive ethical and professional standards. Faculty members are expected to nurture and protect intellectual freedom for their students. Evaluation of student work is one of the fundamental obligations of faculty. Examinations and assignments are expected to be conscientiously designed and all student work should be evaluated with impartiality. Grading should be done in a timely fashion and should be consistent with standards recognized by the department and college. The objectives and requirements of courses, including applicable attendance and grading rules, should be clearly stated.

In addition to the office hours described in paragraph 7 of this section, faculty are expected to be reasonably available to counsel students about academic matters, career choices, and professional interests. Faculty members are expected to be sensitive to the value of the individual person and to be concerned with helping students realistically face the problems in the modern world. The University recognizes that there exists between faculty members and students a unique relationship that requires confidentiality. Faculty members are expected to exercise their best professional judgment so that the policies of the University are followed and its interests protected. When in the course of advising or counseling a faculty member receives information that the student may reasonably expect to be confidential, the information should not be disclosed unless disclosure is required by university rule or applicable law. Faculty members are expected to inform students concerning the possibility of such disclosure.

Responsibilities as Scholars: A basic responsibility of faculty members is to refine, extend, and transmit knowledge. The university strives to maintain an atmosphere of freedom and tolerance in which knowledge can be sought and shared without hindrance. Faculty members are expected, in turn, to make the best and fullest use of that freedom to fulfill their scholarly responsibilities. Scholarship encompasses not only traditional academic research and publication, but also the creation of artistic works or performances and other products or activities accepted by the faculty member’s academic discipline as reflecting scholarly effort and achievement.

In research, writing, and publication, familiarity with the scholarship of others is indispensable. A faculty member is expected to be informed concerning the relevant scholarship of others in the fields in which the faculty member writes and teaches. To keep current in any field requires continuing study. To this extent the faculty member, as a scholar, must remain a student. As a corollary, faculty members are expected to engage in their own research and to disseminate their conclusions through means appropriate to their discipline. In this way, faculty members participate in an intellectual exchange that tests and improves their knowledge of the field, to the ultimate benefit of their students, their discipline, and society.

Responsibilities to the University: Faculty are expected to contribute to the operation and life of the University. Service on College or University committees, participation in faculty meetings, and attendance at academic, cultural, athletic or other University events are essential to effective operation of the University and the maintenance of a University community.

Prior to the beginning of the fall semester, the University faculty is called together for a meeting period before the start of classes for the consideration of professional matters, for the planning of the new academic year, and for orientation of new faculty members. Attendance at these sessions is required unless faculty members are specifically excused by the dean of their college. Additionally, throughout the year the University holds academic convocations including freshman convocation, the commencement convocation and the Honors Day convocation. Unless specifically excused by the dean of their college, each member of the faculty in residence is expected to participate in the academic procession in academic garb appropriate to their rank and degree. Retired faculty are welcome to participate in the academic procession.

Faculty are expected to comply with institutional rules or policies requiring confidentiality concerning oral or written communications. In particular, faculty must respect the confidentiality of personnel matters, evaluations of student performance, and matters of departmental, college or university finance, governance or assessment. These expectations are in addition to any requirement of confidentiality or privacy imposed by law or regulation.

Faculty members are frequently in demand to participate in activities outside the university in addition to professional service and engagement activities. Such involvement may help bring fresh insights to the faculty member’s classes and writing. Involvement in such outside activities, however, may reduce the time that the faculty member has to meet obligations to students, colleagues, and the university. A faculty member is expected both to adhere to the university’s specific limitations on outside activity (see ¶2.14) and to assure that outside activities do not significantly diminish the faculty member’s availability to meet institutional expectations and obligations.

Although all members of the faculty have the right as citizens to take positions on public questions, each has a duty not to imply that he or she speaks on behalf of the university. Thus, a faculty member is expected to take steps (including consultation with the appropriate University administrator) to assure that any designation of Ohio Northern University in connection with the faculty member’s name is for identification only.

Responsibilities to Colleagues: Faculty members are expected to treat colleagues and staff with civility and respect, to work collaboratively and cooperatively in meeting departmental, college, and university needs (including, but not limited to, teaching, advising, and/or supervisory assignments), and to recognize the worth and dignity of the members of the University community. Senior faculty are expected to be particularly sensitive to the terms of any debate involving their junior colleagues and conduct themselves such that junior colleagues will understand that no adverse professional consequences would follow from expression of, or action based upon, beliefs or opinions contrary to those held by the senior professor. Matters of college or university governance deserve the exercise of independent judgment by each voting member of the faculty. It is inappropriate for a faculty member to apply any sort of pressure other than persuasion on the merits in an effort to influence the vote or participation of another member of the faculty.

Fraternization: Consensual romantic or sexual relationships between a faculty member or coaching staff member and a student who are not married to each other or who did not have an analogous relationship prior to the student’s enrollment at the University are inappropriate. No faculty member or coaching staff member shall enter into a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with a student, regardless of whether there is a supervisory or evaluative relationship between them. A faculty member who is closely related to a student by blood or marriage, or who has an analogous relationship with a student prior to the student’s enrollment at the University, normally should avoid roles involving a professional responsibility for the student.

Religious Expectations of Faculty Members: As a church-related institution the moral and spiritual dimension of life is an integral part of the university community. ONU regards the goal of the educational process to be the development of the whole person, and seeks to provide an environment in which students may achieve maximum growth intellectually, socially, morally, and spiritually. Although faculty are not required to subscribe to any doctrinal statement or creed, nor associate with any church or church tradition, the role of faculty member includes both effective instruction and concern for values which support and encourage students in their moral and ethical development. Faculty members are expected to take seriously this aspect of university life and contribute to it.

Office Hours for Faculty: All faculty members must establish and maintain a minimum of five office hours per week. Faculty members are to be available in their offices during those hours for meeting with students about their course work, schedules, future career, or any other matter pertaining to campus life which is a concern to the student. During registration periods, faculty members serving as advisors are expected to maintain sufficient office hours to provide assistance necessary to permit students to make informed decisions regarding their course schedule and progress toward their degree.

(Faculty Handbook, Section 2.3 – Faculty Expectations (9/1/84) (9/92) (8/2015))