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Document Details :
Title: (The Lack of) Professional Ethics in The Academy
Author(s): KEENAN, James F.
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 35 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2011
This article explores the role of professional ethics in the academy. While other professional spheres such as business, law, and medicine, have been subject to the instruction and oversight of academic ethicists, the article shows how the academy itself has been immune to such accountability, despite consistent academic scandals. Professional ethics must play a constitutive role in the academy in order for the university community to flourish. Learning from the problems which contributed to the Catholic Church’s failure to adequately handle the sexual abuse crisis, the author diagnoses parallels in the academy. The author criticizes the lack of ethical training of professors and administrators. The article mentions a series of academic, social, and administrative issues which pose ethical questions to the university at all its levels, such as the objectivity of tenure hires, academic confidentiality, grading, university investment budgets, and student life. The author surveys the literature on the subject of ethics in academia and finally proposes four practices with concrete examples that would contribute to keeping university professors, staff, administrators, and students ethically accountable to one another. These include transparency, community building, horizontal accountability, and better structures to foster vertical accountability.