Standards of Conduct for the Learning Environment

Authorizing Body: Curriculum Committee
Author: Deirdre Pitts, MAOM, IPMA-CP, Robert J. McAuley, Ph.D.
Date Issued: August 1, 2011
Last Update: April 16, 2015


The OUWB School of Medicine is committed to fostering an environment that promotes academic and professional success in learners and teachers at all levels.  Success is dependent on an environment free of behaviors which can undermine the important missions of our institution.  An atmosphere of mutual respect, collegiality, fairness, and trust is essential. Both teachers and learners bear significant responsibility in creating and maintaining this atmosphere. 

Scope and Applicability:

All students enrolled in the School of Medicine. All faculty members with appointments in the School of Medicine. All residents supervising Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine students.

Standard Practice Guideline:

The teacher-learner relationship confers rights and responsibilities on all parties within the OUWB School of Medicine community to behave in ways that represent the ideal teacher-learner relationship, which fosters respectful behavior, minimizes the likelihood of student or faculty mistreatment or abuse, and optimizes the educational experience for students.


Responsibilities of teachers include without limitation:

  • Be prepared and on time
  • Provide learners with most current materials
  • Treat students fairly, respectfully, and without bias
  • Give students timely, constructive and accurate feedback
  • Avoid the embarrassment or humiliation of others.
  • Exhibit professional conduct at all times and to all constituents
  • Demonstrate respect for diverse voices and experiences

Responsibilities of learners include without limitation:

  • Be courteous and respectful of teachers and fellow students and without bias

  • Treat fellow students as colleagues and respect the mutual learning environment

    • Take responsibility for maximizing educational experiences by addressing conflicts and discomforts which may impede learning

    • Be an enthusiastic learner

    • Be trustworthy and honest

    • Know limitations and ask for help when needed

    • Exhibit professional conduct at all times and to all constituents

    • Demonstrate respect for diverse voices and experiences

    • Seek knowledge about patient caseload illnesses

    • Put patient welfare ahead of educational needs

    • Treat all patients and members of the healthcare team respectfully and without bias

    • Be compassionate

    • Respect patients' privacy

Teacher or learner behaviors which fall outside of these standards include, without limitation, abusive conduct and conduct that represents poor judgment, unprofessional behavior or mistreatment. The following are some examples of behaviors that fall outside of these standards. 

  • Unwanted physical contact or threats of the same
  • Sexual or other forms of harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Requiring students to perform personal chores (e.g., running errands, babysitting, etc.)
  • Disrespectful or unprofessional behavior, that may also disrupt the student's educational experience, including without limitation:
    • Repeated questioning of a student with the primary intent to humiliate or embarrass
    • Grading based on factors other than performance or merit
    • Coercing students to do something they find morally objectionable
    • Public humiliation
    • Requiring menial, non-educational chores unrelated to the student’s educational program 

Often concerns can be resolved through consultation or an informal resolution process.  If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved through consultation or the informal resolution process, the person with an allegation of inappropriate behavior may initiate a formal complaint

Reporting incidents of inappropriate behavior, harassment or acts of discrimination:

The School of Medicine takes allegations of mistreatment by faculty, staff or students very seriously and strongly encourages its faculty, staff, and students who are witness to such conduct to report the incident immediately.  The procedures for reporting incidents are outlined in the “Reporting Incidents of Inappropriate Behavior, harassment or acts of discrimination” Standard Practice Guideline available on the website under “Critical Policies”.  

Related Policies and Forms:

Reporting Incidents of Inappropriate Behavior, Harassment or Acts of Discrimination