Expectations for professional behavior

Knowledge of the policies and norms
The best way to ensure we are acting professionally is to openly discuss the expectations we have of others and of ourselves.  In that spirit we will explore some general expectations, knowing that each community within a campus may have some specialized norms of their own.  New faculty members are responsible for learning these policies and norms, abiding by them, or working to improve them when joining a community.  Expectations will differ from campus to campus, college to college, and department to department, so be curious and flexible as you adapt to new situations.

Professional look and actions
Most university campuses do not have an official dress code or rules for behavior, but there are expectations of looking and behaving like a professional.  A general rule of thumb is to dress up more than down, and behave beyond reproach when applying for a position or during the faculty probationary period. Job candidates are sometimes not selected due to inappropriate dress or behavior.  Some specific policies that outline expectations that may be helpful.   Project who you are as a professional by looking and behaving like one.

Ways to find out
“Professional” means different things to different people. Learn about general expectations for faculty members that are particular to your campus setting.  Be observant, see how other faculty interact.  Ask colleagues about expectations, making sure to consult with a diverse array of individuals in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or time on campus and rank.  There will be no one right answer, but you will develop a sense of an acceptable range of behaviors, ways to interact, appropriate demeanor, and acceptable attire.  The examples provided may help you understand what some of the expectations may be.

Examples of Professional Attire

Career Fair Tips for Students
The Behrend College, Penn State Erie
This site offers numerous tips for working career fairs, including how to prepare, appropriate attire, and what to expect from interviews.

Business Attire for Women in the Workplace
Indiana University
This PowerPoint with notes covers examples of general business attire expectations.

Business Casual Attire
Allison Doyle outlines basic parameters for men and women for business casual attire.

Guidelines for Professional Behavior

Assessing Professional Behavior
Pennsylvania State University
This program is designed to help Penn State faculty assess behavior for the level of professionalism, and weigh privacy concerns (FERPA).  It includes links to multimedia materials.

Statement on Professional Behavior of Faculty
Northern Illinois University
This statement was largely derived from the AAUP Statement of the Association’s Council: Freedom and Responsibility, and was adopted in 1970 and revised in 1990.

Professor Touts Integrity
Oklahoma Daily, Oklahoma University
An award winning economics professor inspires students to value integrity.

Commitment to Civility
California State University Fullerton
This commitment developed by CSU Fullerton faculty members outlines behavioral guidelines for interactions.

Addressing Problems

Teaching Strategies: Incivility in the College Classroom
Center for Research on Teaching and Learning, University of Michigan
This website provides links to other sites that address the topic of civility in classrooms.

College Student Character Dysfunction
Academe Online, publication of the American Association of University Professors
This article addresses the responsibility of academic faculty members to set clear boundaries for professional interactions with students.


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