Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning

Ethical Guidelines

The following ethical guidelines have been developed by the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD Network) to guide the work of educational developers. The document provides guidelines on confidentiality, as well as the the rights and responsibilities of Center staff and clients.  UNI’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning adheres to the guidelines below in its practices.

The Pod Network, retrieved 6/13/13

Ethical Guidelines for Educational Developers


As professionals, educational developers (faculty, teaching assistant, organizational, instructional, and staff developers) have a unique opportunity and a special responsibility to contribute to the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning in higher education. As members of the academic community they are subject to all the codes of conduct and ethical guidelines that already exist for those who work or study on campuses and those who belong to disciplinary associations. Educational developers have special ethical responsibilities because of the unique and privileged access they have to people and often to sensitive information. This document provides general guidelines to inform the practice of professionals working in educational development roles in higher education.

Educational developers in higher education come from various disciplinary areas and follow different career tracks. Some work as educational developers on a part-time basis or for simply a short time, but for others educational development is a full-time career. The nature of their responsibilities and prerogatives as developers varies with their position in the organization; their experience, interests, and talents; and with the special characteristics of their institutions. This document attempts to provide general ethical guidelines that should apply to most developers across a variety of settings.

Ethical guidelines indicate a consensus among practitioners about the ideals that should inform their practice as professionals, as well as those behaviors that would constitute misconduct. Between the ideal of exemplary practice and misconduct lies a gray area where dilemmas arise: choices may seem equally right or wrong; different roles and/or responsibilities may place competing, if not incompatible, demands on developers; or certain behaviors may seem questionable but no consensus can determine that those behaviors are examples of misconduct.

It is our hope that these guidelines complement typical programmatic statements of philosophy and mission and that educational developers can use the guidelines effectively to promote ethical practice. This document describes the ideals of practice, identifies specific behaviors that typify professional misconduct, and provides a model to think through situations which present conflicting choices or questionable behavior.

Guidelines for Practice

Ideals of Practice

Competence and Integrity

Professional Misconduct

Ethical Conflicts in Educational Development

Conflicts Arising from Multiple Roles


This document is an attempt to define ethical behaviors for the current practice of educational development in higher education. In creating this document the association has referred to and borrowed from the Ethical Guidelines of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Guidance Counselors, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Canada, and the Staff and Educational Development Association in the United Kingdom. The association will continue to refine these guidelines in light of the changes and issues that confront the profession. The guidelines will be updated on a periodic basis by the Core Committee of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.