Colleges and universities are as susceptible to questionable ethics as any other business or organization.
Here are some research paper topics on ethics in higher education, a code of ethics for teachers, fixing corruption and establishing ethical standards in college and the ethics of big data.
Code of ethics for teachers
A good research paper topic is to write about the need for a Code of Ethics for Educators. Teachers interact with many types of people during their job—students, parents, administrators, colleagues and visitors and invited guests on campus. As such, teachers are often held to high ethical standards. They need a well-defined code of ethics so they can act in a professional and ethical manner at all times. Strong ethics can help teachers negotiate the various personalities they encounter, deal with problems that arise, respond to ethical issues, determine the right course of action and take responsibility.
The Association of American Educators (AAE) provides four basic principles relating to the rights of students and educators. These guidelines are for ethical conduct toward students, practices and performance, professional colleagues and parents and community. The AAE says, “The professional educator accepts personal responsibility for teaching students character qualities that will help them evaluate the consequences of and accept the responsibility for their actions and choices.” In addition, “The professional educator endeavors to maintain the dignity of the profession by respecting and obeying the law, and by demonstrating personal integrity.”
Corruption in higher education
You could write your research paper on corruption in higher education and ways to mitigate it. As an institution, higher education is not immune to corruption. For example, colleges and universities misrepresent research data, teachers and administrators take bribes in exchange for academic favors, funding is wasted on unauthorized spending, academic honors are given based on political loyalty over merit, students are helped to cheat on exams, grades are given to star athletes for little or no academic work, kickbacks are received on fraudulent student loans and wealthy parents give donations to schools in exchange for their children’s admittance. Corruption is perpetrated on a widespread institutional basis or by individuals.
In “Higher Education, Corruption, and Reform” printed in Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, January 1, 2012, Vincent R. Johnson offered advice for combating and reversing corruption. He said, “It is as important to fight the appearance of corruption as corruption itself, for perceived unfairness, dishonesty, or unequal treatment threatens public confidence in, and indeed the survival of, important institutions.” He added that legal and ethical tools, such as prohibition of improper conduct and exposure of questionable practices, should be used.
Ethics of big data in higher education
You could write your research paper on bias and privacy issues related to the use of big data in colleges and universities. In “The ethics of big data in higher education” posted on EducationDive.com July 5, 2016, Jarrett Carter wrote about schools that are considering how to ethically use big data in retention of struggling students through transparency, collaboration and student-oriented goals. They need to do this to avoid disparity, implicit bias and infringement on privacy. While elite private and large state universities have fewer struggling students, Carter said that black and Hispanic-serving schools as well as community colleges “are in desperate need of the technology to offer students more value for their higher ed spending.”
How do you think ethical conduct in higher education should be achieved?