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Statement of Ethical Practice

The Student Life Department at Texas State Technical College abides by the following ethical standards (from the ACPA College Student Educators International Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards):

1 Professional Responsibility and Competence.

Student affairs professionals are responsible for promoting and facilitating student learning about students and their world, enhancing the quality and understanding of student life, advocating for student welfare and concerns, and advancing the profession and its ideals. They possess the knowledge, skills, emotional stability, and maturity to discharge responsibilities as administrators, advisors, consultants, counselors, programmers, researchers, and teachers. High levels of professional competence are expected in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. Student affairs professionals are responsible for the consequences of their actions or inaction.

Student affairs professionals will:

1.1 Conduct their professional activities in accordance with sound theoretical principles and adopt a personal value system congruent with the basic tenets of the profession.

1.2 Contribute to the development of the profession (e.g., recruiting students to the profession, serving professional organizations, advocating the use of ethical thinking through educational and professional development activities, improving professional practices, and conducting and reporting research).

1.3 Maintain and enhance professional effectiveness by continually improving skills and acquiring new knowledge.

1.4 Monitor their personal and professional functioning and effectiveness and seek assistance from appropriate professionals as needed.

1.5 Maintain current, accurate knowledge of all regulations related to privacy of student records and electronic transmission of records and update knowledge of privacy legislation on a regular basis.

1.6 Represent their professional credentials, competencies, and limitations accurately and correct any misrepresentations of these qualifications by others.

1.7 Establish fees for professional services after consideration of the ability of the recipient to pay. They will provide some services, including professional development activities for colleagues, for little or no remuneration.

1.8 Adhere to ethical practices in securing positions:

[a] represent education and experiences accurately; [b] respond to offers promptly; [c] interview for positions only when serious about accepting an offer; [d] accept only those positions they intend to assume; [e] advise current employer and all institutions at which applications are pending immediately when they sign a contract; [f] inform their employers before leaving a position within a reasonable amount of time as outlined by the institution and/or supervisor; and [g] commit to position upon acceptance.

1.9 Provide an honest, accurate, and respectful reference. If it is not deemed possible to provide a positive reference, contact the ‘searching employee’ to inform them of such. It is not appropriate to provide a positive reference to move an individual beyond a department or institution.

2 Student Learning and Development.

Student development is an essential purpose of higher education. Support of this process is a major responsibility of the student affairs profession. Development is complex and includes cognitive, physical, moral, social, emotional, career, spiritual, personal, and intellectual dimensions. Professionals must be sensitive to and knowledgeable about the variety of backgrounds, cultures, experiences, abilities, personal characteristics and viewpoints evident in the student population and be able to incorporate appropriate theoretical perspectives to identify learning opportunities and to reduce barriers to development. Multicultural competence is a fundamental element of ethical practice.

Student affairs professionals will:

2.1 Treat students with respect as persons who possess dignity, worth, and the ability to be self-directed.

2.2 Avoid dual relationships with students where one individual serves in multiple roles that create conflicting responsibilities, role confusion, and unclear expectations (e.g., counselor/employer, supervisor/best friend, or faculty/sexual partner) that may involve incompatible roles and conflicting responsibilities.

2.3 Abstain from all forms of harassment, including but not limited to verbal and written communication, physical actions and electronic transmissions.

2.4 Abstain from sexual intimacy with clients or with students for whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or instructional responsibility.

2.5 Inform students of the conditions under which they may receive assistance.

2.6 Inform students of the nature and/or limits of confidentiality. They will share information about the students only in accordance with institutional policies and applicable laws, when given their permission, or when required to prevent personal harm to themselves or others.

2.7 Refer students to appropriate specialists before entering or continuing a helping relationship when the professional’s expertise or level of comfort is exceeded. If the referral is declined, professional staff is not obliged to continue the relationship nor should they do so if there is not direct benefit to the student.

2.8 Inform students about the purpose of assessment and research; make explicit the planned use of results prior to assessment requesting participation in either.

2.9 Comply with the institutional guidelines on electronic transmission of information.

2.10 Provide appropriate contextual information to students prior to and following the use of any evaluation procedures to place results in proper perspective with other factors relevant to the assessment process (e.g., socioeconomic, gender, identity, ethnic, cultural, and gender related).

2.11 Discuss with students issues, attitudes, and be-haviors that have ethical implications. 2.12 Develop multicultural knowledge, skills, compe-tence, and use appropriate elements of these capacities in their work with students. 2.13 Faculty should inform prospective graduate stu-dents of program expectations, predominant theoretical orientations, and skills needed for successful program completion, as well as positions received by recent graduates. 2.14 Assure that required experiences involving self-disclosure are communicated to prospective graduate students. When the preparation program offers experi-ences that emphasize self-disclosure or other relatively intimate or personal involvement (e.g., group or individual counseling or growth groups), professionals must not have current or anticipated administrative, supervisory, or evaluative authority over participants. 2.15 Provide graduate students with a broad knowl-edge base consisting of theory, research, and practice. 2.16 Educate graduate students about ethical stan-dards, responsibilities and codes of the profession. Up-hold these standards within all preparation programs. 2.17 Assess all relevant competencies and interpersonal functioning of students throughout the preparation program, communicate these assessments to students, and take appropriate corrective actions including dis-missal when warranted. 2.18 Assure that field supervisors are qualified to pro-vide supervision to graduate students and are informed of their ethical responsibilities in this role. 2.19 Support professional preparation program efforts by providing assistantships, practical field placements, and consultation to students and faculty. 2.20 Gain approval of research plans involving human subjects from the institutional committee with over-sight responsibility prior to the initiation of the study. In the absence of such a committee, they will seek to create procedures to protect the rights and ensure the safety of research participants. 2.21 Conduct and report research studies accurately. Researchers will not engage in fraudulent research nor will they distort or misrepresent their data or deliberately bias their results. 2.22 Cite previous works on a topic when writing or when speaking to professional audiences. 2.23 Comply with laws and standards common in the helping professions related to citation and attribution of information accessed electronically where public domain status may be ambiguous. 2.24 Acknowledge major contributions to research projects and professional writings through joint author-ships with the principal contributor listed first. They will acknowledge minor technical or professional contributions in notes or introductory statements. 2.25 Co-authorship should reflect a joint collaboration. When involvement was ancillary it is inappropriate to pressure others for joint authorship listing on publications. 2.26 Share original research data with qualified others upon request. 2.27 Communicate the results of any research judged to be of value to other professionals and not withhold results reflecting unfavorably on specific institutions, programs, services, or prevailing opinion. 2.28 Submit manuscripts for consideration to only one journal at a time. They will not seek to publish previously published or accepted-for-publication materials in other media or publications without first informing all editors and/or publishers concerned. They will make appropriate references in the text and receive permission to use copyrights.


3 Responsibility to the Institution.

Institutions of higher education provide the context for student affairs practice. Institutional mission, goals, policies, organizational structure, and culture, combined with individual judgment and professional standards, define and delimit the nature and extent of practice. Student affairs professionals share responsibility with other members of the academic community for fulfilling the institutional mission. Responsibility to promote the development of students and to support the institution’s policies and interests require that professionals balance competing demands.

Student affairs professionals will:

3.1 Contribute to their institution by supporting its mission, goals, policies, and abiding by its procedures.

3.2 Seek resolution when they and their institution encounter substantial disagreements concerning professional or personal values. Resolution may require sustained efforts to modify institutional policies and practices or result in voluntary termination of employment.

3.3 Recognize that conflicts among students, colleagues, or the institution should be resolved without diminishing respect for or appropriate obligations to any party involved.

3.4 Assure that information provided about the institution is factual and accurate.

3.5 Inform appropriate officials of conditions that may be disruptive or damaging to their institution.

3.6 Inform supervisors of conditions or practices that may restrict institutional or professional effectiveness.

3.7 Refrain from attitudes or actions that impinge on colleagues’ dignity, moral code, privacy, worth, professional functioning, and/or personal growth.

3.8 Abstain from sexual intimacies with colleagues or with staff for whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or instructional responsibility.

3.9 Assure that participation by staff in planned activities that emphasize self-disclosure or other relatively intimate or personal involvement is voluntary and that the leader(s) of such activities do not have administrative, supervisory, or evaluative authority over participants.

3.10 Evaluate job performance of subordinates regularly and recommend appropriate actions to enhance professional development and improve performance.

3.11 Define job responsibilities, decision-making procedures, mutual expectations, accountability procedures, and evaluation criteria with subordinates and supervisors.
3.12 Provide fair and honest assessments and feedback for colleagues’ job performance and provide opportunities for professional growth as appropriate.
3.13 Seek evaluations of their job performance and/or services they provide.
3.14 Disseminate information that accurately describes the responsibilities of position vacancies, required qualifications, and the institution.
3.15 Adhere to ethical practices when facilitating or participating in a selection process by [a] representing the department and institution honestly and accurately [b] periodically notify applicants of their status; [c] adhere to established guidelines, protocol, and standards for the selection process; and [d] provide accurate information about the resources available to applicants once employed.
3.16 Provide training to student affairs search and screening committee members.
3.17 Refrain from using their positions to seek unjustified personal gains, sexual favors, unfair advantages, or unearned goods and services not normally accorded in such positions.
3.18 Recognize their fiduciary responsibility to the institution. They will ensure that funds for which they have oversight are expended following established procedures and in ways that optimize value, are accounted for properly, and contribute to the accomplishment of the institution’s mission. They also will assure equipment, facilities, personnel, and other resources are used to promote the welfare of the institution and students.
3.19 Restrict their private interests, obligations, and transactions in ways to minimize conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest. They will identify their personal views and actions as private citizens from those expressed or undertaken as institutional representatives.
3.20 Evaluate programs, services, and organizational structure regularly and systematically to assure conformity to published standards and guidelines. Evaluations should be conducted using rigorous evaluation methods and principles, and the results should be made available to appropriate institutional personnel.
3.21 Acknowledge contributions by others to program development, program implementation, evaluations, and reports.
3.22 Maintain current knowledge about changes in technology and legislation that are significant for the range of institutional responsibilities in their professional domain (e.g., knowledge of privacy and security issues, use of the internet, and free speech/hate speech).

4 Responsibility to Society.

Student affairs professionals, both as citizens and practitioners, have a responsibility to contribute to the improvement of the communities in which they live and work and to act as advocates for social justice for members of those communities. They respect individuality and individual differences. They recognize that our communities are enhanced by social and individual diversity manifested by characteristics such as age, culture, class, ethnicity, gender, ability, gender identity, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Student affairs professionals work to protect human rights and promote respect for human diversity in higher education.

As ACPA members, student affairs professionals will:

4.1 Assist students in becoming productive, ethical, and responsible citizens. 4.2 Demonstrate concern for the welfare of all students and work for constructive change on behalf of students. 4.3 Not discriminate on the basis of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, ability, gender identity, race, class, religion, or sexual orientation. They will actively work to change discriminatory practices. 4.4 Demonstrate regard for social codes and moral expectations of the communities in which they live and work. At the same time, they will be aware of situations in which concepts of social justice may conflict with local moral standards and norms and may choose to point out these conflicts in ways that respect the rights and values of all who are involved. They will recognize that violations of accepted moral and legal standards may involve their clients, students, or colleagues in damaging personal conflicts and may impugn the integrity of the profession, their own reputations, and that of the employing institution.4.5 Report to the appropriate authority any condition that is likely to harm their clients and/or others.

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