Teachers College Code of Ethics, Professional Behaviors and Dispositions

WGU Teachers College Code of Ethics, Professional Behaviors, and Dispositions
 

WGU Teachers College students (“students”) are expected to demonstrate professional and ethical values, attitudes, and traits (“professional behaviors and dispositions”) associated with effective teaching. These professional behaviors and dispositions foster the positive relationships that effective teachers build with students, parents, professional colleagues, and communities to promote student success.

 

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) defines dispositions as, “The habits of professional action and moral commitments that underlie an educator's performance.” WGU understands educators demonstrate these dispositions in many ways, including, but not limited to the following:

 

  • Being caring and collaborative individuals who communicate in a professional manner with all educational stakeholders.
  • Demonstrating an understanding that all children can learn, regardless of the diverse factors that make up a child’s background.
  • By striving to understand and appreciate the wealth of diversity in their communities and schools.
  • By bettering the profession and their communities through personal, professional and educational growth through lifelong learning and reflective practices.
  • Demonstrating the value of academic integrity by adhering to WGU Academic Authenticity Policies.
  • Educators demonstrate these professional and ethical dispositions by showing up prepared, ready to teach and collaborate with all educational stakeholders for the success of their students every day.

WGU Teachers College expects students to understand these professional and ethical dispositions are not just a university expectation, but also professional expectations for all in the field of education. As such, WGU expects Teachers College students to develop and practice these dispositions by demonstrating them in all interactions (verbal, non-verbal, and written) within the WGU community, as well as demonstrating strong academic integrity with all course work.

 

This Teachers College Code of Ethics, Professional Behaviors and Dispositions (the “Code”) sets forth standards regarding professional behavior and dispositions expected of WGU students and graduates, and describes the remediation process if a student violates these standards.

Student behaviors and dispositions are assessed at various points in the program. 

 

  • Assessments: Each student assessment is evaluated using a dispositions rubric.
  • Recommendation for demonstration teaching or field experiences: Mentors assess each student's professional behaviors and dispositions for readiness prior to entering the field.
  • Student self-evaluation: Students in initial licensure programs assess their own behaviors and dispositions at the beginning of their program and during demonstration teaching. Students in advanced programs assess their own behaviors and dispositions at the beginning of their program.
  • Preclinical Experiences Orientation: Students in initial licensure programs participate in this seminar consisting of four modules prior to entering preclinical experiences. The modules focus on demonstrated ethics, professional behaviors, and dispositions expected in the field of education.
  • Demonstration teaching: Clinical supervisors and host teachers evaluate students’ professional behaviors and dispositions during demonstration teaching.
  • Cohort Seminar: Students evaluate their dispositions using the Teacher Dispositions Index.


In addition, any member of the WGU community who has concerns regarding a student's professional dispositions and ethical behaviors (a “Concern”) may submit a concern for departmental review.

Students and other members of the WGU community are provided a copy of this code which summarizes the behaviors and dispositions expected of students in WGU teacher education programs. Students are made aware that egregious or repeated violations of this code may constitute grounds for separation from the WGU Teachers College. This code is published in the WGU Student Handbook, teacher education documents and is reinforced throughout the program.

I. Professional Disposition Standards

In keeping with the WGU Teachers College vision and mission, students and graduates of WGU’s teacher education programs are expected to demonstrate the professional dispositions and ethical behaviors required in the field of teacher education. Significant and unresolved concerns could result in a student being denied program admission, denied participation in demonstration teaching or field experiences, or denied continuance in their teachers college program.

Students are expected to demonstrate the following professional dispositions appropriate to the field of teacher education:

 

  • Caring and considerate
  • Affirming of diversity and cross-culturally competent
  • Reflective practitioner
  • Equitable and fair
  • Committed to the belief that all students can learn
  • Collaborative 
  • Technologically proficient 
  • Professional leadership 


In addition to these eight dispositions, students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior in all interactions (written, verbal, and non-verbal) with other WGU students, WGU mentors and staff, as well as with those they encounter in the field.  

Standard 1: Caring And Considerate

Teachers College students and graduates demonstrate an appropriate degree of care and consideration for their students. Teachers who care for their students are able to attend to their various cultural, social, emotional, and educational needs both within the classroom and through the use of various resources. They have high ethical and moral standards commensurate with the expectations of an educator. They always act in a professional manner when interacting with all school stakeholders, and hold as their main objective, the success of all children.

Standard 2: Affirming of Diversity and Cross-Culturally Competent

WGU Teachers College students and graduates appropriately differentiate instruction to meet the individual needs of each child in the classroom. They are able to utilize members of the educational community in pursuit of such awareness and appreciation, including community leaders and social service organizations, thus developing an appreciation of diversity in the various workplaces and working with diverse learners in P-12 classrooms, as well as an awareness of appropriate pedagogical techniques.

“Affirming of diversity” extends beyond student demographics - cultural, philosophical, ideological, and intellectual diversity are among the many forms of diversity that are integrated into the principles and practice for effective instruction in teacher education. This integration is addressed and is reflected throughout the curriculum and in field experiences.

Standard 3: Reflective Practitioners

Teachers College students and graduates recognize the professional and personal value of ongoing reflection as a tool for continuous performance improvement. They implement reflection as a means of ongoing professional development. They also recognize and appreciate the value of continual and ongoing professional growth and development in both content and pedagogical expertise.

Standard 4: Equitable And Fair

Teachers College students and graduates understand language acquisition; cultural influences on learning; exceptionalities; diversity of student populations, families, and communities; and inclusion and equity, with the ideal of fairness, in various positions, classrooms and schools. As such, they are flexible in nature and respectful in disposition.

Standard 5: Committed To The Belief That All Students Can Learn

Teachers College students and graduates have developed and are able to model expected professional dispositions with the ideal of fairness and the belief that all students can learn. They are competent in making knowledge accessible, are advocates for all students, and create a responsive and supportive learning environment that nourishes and promotes learning and development.

Standard 6: Collaborative

Teachers College students and graduates recognize the value of working in close collaboration with the many stakeholders in education, including working with, but not limited to colleagues in P-12 classrooms, support staff, administration, parents, community members, and students themselves. They pursue high-quality, meaningful professional development activities through reflection, collaboration, advanced research, and data-driven decision making.

Standard 7: Technologically Proficient

Teachers College students and graduates are highly proficient in the use of technology as both a pedagogical tool and management tool. They recognize that the use of educational technology is to be employed as an adjunct to high-quality, effective pedagogy, and recognize that technology alone does not equate to excellence in teaching. They seek to employ the latest tools of technology in order to improve what will already be excellent pedagogical practice.

Standard 8: Professional Leadership

Upon graduation, Teachers College students and graduates will serve at the forefront of their chosen profession in education through the application of research-based pedagogical techniques. They will serve as leaders in their respective classrooms, schools, communities, and in the profession as a whole, in the pursuit of high educational achievement for all children. Indeed, they will become lifelong learners who meet the ever-changing professional responsibilities of educators.

II. Standards of Ethical Conduct

The education profession is vested by the public with a trust and responsibility requiring the highest ideals of professional service. Students enrolled in the WGU Teachers College recognize that ethics are a significant part of what it means to be a professional educator. WGU students maintain the high ethical and moral standards commensurate with the expectations of a classroom teacher.

Throughout their enrollment at WGU, students shall be honest in all of their educational and professional dealings. Additionally, during field experiences and demonstration teaching, students shall:

 

  • Arrive and leave the host school when expected 
  • Follow proper procedures as designated by the host school and let the host school, host teacher, and clinical supervisor know in advance when tardiness or an absence will occur
  • Maintain a professional demeanor (remain poised and confident; communicate calmly and respectfully)
  • Maintain a professional appearance (dress and groom appropriately at all times) in accordance with the standards of the host school and WGU
  • Complete all assigned tasks, duties and responsibilities at the host school on time
  • Maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom 


In further fulfillment of their obligation to the teaching profession, students shall not:

 

  • Deliberately make a false statement, or fail to disclose a material fact related to competency and qualifications in an application for a professional position.
  • Assist any entry into the profession of a person known to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or other relevant attributes or make a false statement concerning the qualifications of a student for a professional position.
  • Knowingly make false or malicious statements about a colleague, WGU staff and students, or anyone else they may encounter during their time in the field.
  • Commit forgery
  • Accept any gratuity, gift, or favor that might impair or appear to influence professional decisions or actions.
  • Falsify, deliberately misrepresent, or omit information regarding the evaluation of students, including improper administration of any standardized tests (changing test answers, copying or teaching identified test items, etc.)
  • Falsify, deliberately misrepresent, or not report absences or leaves during demonstration teaching
  • Misuse public or school-related funds or property.
  • Fail to account for funds collected from students or parents.
  • Submit fraudulent requests for reimbursement of expenses.
  • Solicit students or parents of students to purchase any item or service from the student in a private remunerative capacity.
  • Accept gifts from vendors or potential vendors for personal use or gain where there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest.
  • Tutor students assigned to the student for remuneration unless approved by the local district superintendent or school principal.
  • Share confidential information concerning student academic and disciplinary records, personal confidences, health and medical information, family status and/or income, and assessment/testing results.
  • Commit any act of child abuse (physical or emotional) or any act of cruelty, child endangerment or neglect.
  • Commit or solicit any unlawful sexual act or commit any act of sexual harassment.
  • Solicit, encourage or consummate a romantic or inappropriate relationship with a student (including dating a student), whether written, verbal, physical, or implied.
  • Be on school premises or at a school-sponsored activity involving students while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming alcohol or drugs.
  • Furnish alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any student or allow a student to consume the same.
  • Encourage, promote, extol, or support any illegal, unethical, inappropriate, or dangerous activity.
  • Use electronic communication or social media inappropriately by, for example,
    • Making inappropriate online comments that lead to civil actions, such as defamation 
    • Posting the work of others without proper attribution, raising copyright-violation issues
    • Inciting hatred
    • Using technology to harass a student, colleague, WGU staff member or others
    • Using technology in any way contrary to the law
    • Exchanging or forwarding compromising photos, videos or audio recordings of students or any children leading to charges of possessing or distribution of child pornography


III. Violations of Teachers College Code of Professional Behaviors and Dispositions

Filing and Investigation of Concerns

A concern alleging a violation of the disposition or ethical standards described in this code or the University Code of Student Conduct by a WGU Teachers College student (a “Concern”) may be submitted by another WGU student, mentor, or staff member and, for students participating in a field experience or demonstration teaching, by clinical supervisors and host school personnel. All concerns must be submitted in writing to the WGU Office of Teacher and Principal Success via a web-form available within the employee portal or accessed here or send an email to teachersuccess@wgu.edu.

If the concern describes a possible violation of the professional standards set forth in this code, the Office of Teacher & Principal Success will conduct an investigation within 10 business days and categorize the concern according to the following definitions.    

 

  • Level 1 Concern: an incident or pattern of behavior involving a minor violation(s) of one or more of the professional standards.
  • Level 2 Concern: serious violations of one or more of the professional standards or violations set forth in this code. Examples of serious concerns include, but are not limited to: harassment, threats, disparate treatment of students or staff, and violations of the WGU Code of Student Conduct resulting in disciplinary probation.
  • Level 3 Concern: egregious violations of one or more of the professional standards or violations set forth in this code. Examples of egregious concerns include, but are not limited to: unethical conduct involving minor children, mishandling of private and confidential student information or funds, and violations of the WGU Code of Student Conduct resulting in disciplinary suspension.


IV. Dispositions Remediation Process

When the Office of Teacher and Principal Success determines that there is sufficient evidence of one or more violations of the professional standards set forth in this code, the office may (as applicable) suspend the student's field experience participation during the dispositions remediation process and recommend a Level 1, 2, or 3 Warning and Corrective Action as described below.  

 

  • Informal Warning:  For level 1 concerns the Office of Teacher and Principal Success will contact the student to discuss the concern and issue an informal warning.
  • Level 1 Warning: For level 1 concerns not resolved informally, the Office of Teacher and Principal Success will issue a level 1 warning and may direct the affected student to complete one or more activities demonstrating conduct that meets the standards set forth in this code (“Corrective Action”). If the student's response to the corrective action is incomplete or otherwise deemed unacceptable, the concern will be escalated to level 2.
  • Level 2 Warning: For level 2 concerns the Office of Teacher and Principal Success will issue a level 2 warning with required corrective action. If the student's response to the corrective action is incomplete or otherwise deemed unacceptable, the concern will be escalated to level 3.
  • Level 3 Warning: For level 3 concerns, the Office of Teacher and Principal Success will issue a level 3 warning with required corrective action or refer the matter to the WGU Student Conduct board with a recommendation for the student's temporary or permanent removal from WGU teacher education licensure programs and, in extreme cases, removal from the University. The Student Conduct board will conduct a formal hearing and otherwise review the matter in the manner prescribed in the WGU Student Code of Conduct.


Students must respond to warning notices from the Office of Teacher and Principal Success within 3 business days indicating either their intent to complete any required corrective action, or to appeal the warning to the manager of teacher and principal success whose decision shall be considered final. Any student who fails to respond to a warning notice will be subject to the next-level remediation process. 

V. Students’ Rights

Students have the following rights pertaining to alleged and confirmed violations of the professional standards set forth in this code: 

 

  • A student must be notified in writing if he or she becomes the subject of a concern.
  • A student must be provided an opportunity to respond to a concern and explain his/her behavior to a responsible WGU staff member or committee.
  • The Office of Teacher and Principal Success or, as applicable, WGU Student Conduct board, must notify a student in writing of its decisions.
  • A student may participate in WGU courses during the investigation and decision-making processes, however, students may be excluded from any field experience until a final decision allowing participation is reached.
  • Provided that no other WGU standards of conduct have been violated, students who are dismissed from a teacher certification program due to a violation of this code may pursue another academic program at WGU. Students should recognize certain violations of this code may bar entrance to other WGU professional programs.

 
VI. Disciplinary Actions And Education Records
 
Level 1, 2 and informal warnings and corrective actions will be reflected on a student's disciplinary record. Level 3 warnings and a student's removal from licensure programs or the University will become part of a student's academic record and will be reflected on transcripts. The Office of Teacher and Principal Success will maintain a record of all warnings and corrective actions according to WGU’s Records Retention Policy and laws governing the maintenance and disclosure of student information.

 

 

 

 


Article Number: 20530, 1489