Ethical Issues in Teaching Criminal justice educators share a common set of ethical responsibilities towards their employers, colleagues, students and the fiats of scholarship. The criminal justice educator is, ultimately, a professional guide. They are charged with ushering their students towards professionalism, letting them know what to expect and how to behave, all the while explaining the rules that must be followed.
Evolution of knowledge Research continues, technologies emerge and advance, methodologies are refined, and the law evolves. The CJ educator must provide knowledge that is up to date and must also provide students with the ability to critically evaluate, and faithfully integrate or refute, anything new.
The Three Cs Criminal justice educators provide students with essential knowledge and adhere to the three Cs: 1.Capability; 2.Competence; and 3.Confidentiality.
The Three Cs Capability Capability refers to possessing adequate resources for completing a particular task or serving in a particular appointment. With respect to being a CJ educator, this means: Professional competence; Knowledge of effective teaching strategies; A professional disposition that engenders respect and encourages learning; and The support of, or connections with, the criminal justice community.
The Three Cs Competence Competence is defined by possession of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required in order to do something effectively. Competence is demonstrated by the ability to successfully recognize error in ones own work as well as that of others. A CJ educator is expected to be competent in the subjects that they are assigned to teach and educational institutions have an ethical obligation to screen potential instructors with diligence and to employ only those that are competent.
The Three Cs Confidentiality Instructors frequently learn details regarding the private lives of their students For example: medical history, mental health history, personal tragedies, sexual activity/dating history, victimization, and of course academic achievement). Each learning institution has specific policies and procedures related to student confidentiality.
The Three Cs Confidentiality Many institutions maintain necessary exceptions to sharing or disclosing otherwise confidential or sensitive student information, including: The information is shared with other staff or professionals out of concern for student safety or well-being; The information is shared with other staff as part of a discussion regarding student assessments or other legitimate educational interests; The information has already been shared by the student in a public fashion – such as a disclosure in class or in social media.
Ethical Responsibilities CJ educators have ethical responsibilities to the following: Employers Scholarship & Profession Colleagues Students
Ethical Responsibilities Employers The CJ educator is first and foremost an employee. They will have been required to provide relevant (and accurate) information about their background, and to sign an employment contract.
Ethical Responsibilities Scholarship & Professionalism Scholarship refers to the academic study of achievement. CJ educators have an ethical responsibility to promote, if not also participate in, scholarly efforts with respect to their students and colleagues. Scholarship requires the cultivation of integrity. The greatest threat to scholarship and professionalism is indifference; indifference to cheating, plagiarism, competence, and integrity.
Ethical Responsibilities Colleagues Colleagues have an ethical obligation towards each other with respect to communication, privacy, and tolerance. This includes refraining from acts of inappropriate disclosure to students, biased decision-making, general hostility, threatening behavior, or harassment in any context. Colleagues are obligated to report inappropriate conduct to the appropriate authorities.
Ethical Responsibilities Students CJ educators are ethically obligated to create a safe learning environment, promote academic honesty and learning, and to respond quickly to instances of suspected academic misconduct.
Social Media Social media has increased the means by which educators connect and interact with their students. It has also increased the mechanisms by which educators can voice personal and professional opinions, as well as express personal lifestyle choices. Social media increases the risk that students will learn too much about the private lives of their professors, and vise versa. CJ educators must be aware of the limits to their freedom of speech online - these limits exist as a function of their employment contracts.
Proposed Ethical Guidelines The following guidelines are offered as a friendly suggestion, to protect the ethical CJ educator from false accusations and liability, as well as from the appearance of impropriety in the eyes of others: 1.Never ask a student for a date. 2.Never meet with a student alone. 3.If you meet with a student in your office, keep the door open at all times. 4.If you meet with the student off campus, do so in public and in a manner that makes boundaries clear.
Proposed Ethical Guidelines 5.Be cautious about accepting gifts from students to help to avoid the appearance of favoritism. 6.Avoid giving out your home address or phone number. 7.Communicate with students using staff email; document all conversations with an email. 8.Award grades fairly, and based on performance only. 9.Never grade assessments while drugged or intoxicated. 10.Never inflate a grade out of pity or a belief that the student could have done better.
Proposed Ethical Guidelines 11.Be suspicious if a student has had more than 3 relatives die in a semester. 12.Be knowledgeable, and remain current, in your areas of teaching. 13.Be capable of teaching. 14.Be capable of admitting errors and fixing mistakes; students learn a great deal from this. 15.Never use the teaching materials of others without clear citation, reference or acknowledgement. 16.Never complete a student's assessments for them. 17.Never meet students at your home.
Proposed Ethical Guidelines 18.Never press a student into employment outside of school. 19.Students are not friends; they are future colleagues. Treat them as such. 20.Report the misconduct of any colleague to the proper authorities, in writing, regardless of personal feelings.