Our code of ethics

Objective

As an education and training facility the Pforzheim University has a special social responsibility and role model function. In order to fulfill these responsibilities, the Faculty of Economics & Law creates guiding principles on the conduct of its members in teaching and learning as well as research and administration. They shall give ethical guidance in daily behavior and are not only limited to actions concerning official duties. They aim to sensitize Members of the faculty towards trustful, fair and respectful interactions. 

Guiding principles

Integrity and respect, responsibility and solidarity are the guiding principles of the faculty. Any form of discrimination, disrespectful behavior, scientific dishonesty and corrupt practices are not tolerated.

The faculty lives a culture of personal responsibility, critical thinking and collaboration. It fosters an open and honest communication through regular reciprocal exchange on all levels. The mutual feedback is objective and constructive, whereby personal exchange in a respectful atmosphere is central.

The advisory and decision-making processes of the faculty underlie democratic principles. Discussions in committees are held openly and constructively, decisions are made in a participatory, integrative and transparent manner. Concerns of the entire faculty take precedence over individual interests while minority interests are preserved. The constitutionally guaranteed freedom of research and teaching is lived. 

Behavioral expectations

Lecturers commit to up to date, challenging and motivating teachings. They are aware of their role model function, accept objective criticism from students and behave constructively in response to suggested improvements.

They seek to create an open and accepting learning environment and support their students in their personal and professional development. They take the concerns of their students seriously and are available for questions and issues within an appropriate time frame outside their lectures. 

They employ objective and fair evaluation and assessment practices, as well as transparent decision rules. Valuations with respect to the university, colleagues and students are to be made deliberately. 

Students are open towards the reception of new knowledge. They commit to professional and personal growth. They make use of the opportunities for personal development and freedom that higher education entails. 

They contribute to the success of lectures by behaving appropriately and dedicated participation. They are not merely consumers, but autonomously and critically take part in the quality of their education.

Employees carry out their tasks in a flexible and goal-oriented manner. Their work is based on connected thinking and acting. Towards others they behave cooperatively, responsible and anticipatory. 

They make their decisions transparent and communicate these promptly, just as they expect that their work related issues are discussed with them in a timely and appropriate manner. They actively participate in decision-making processes of the faculty and expect that their interests will be taken into account appropriately by the faculty board. 

People in leadership positions embrace their role model function and ensure by their own behavior that the atmosphere in the faculty is defined by a willingness to reflect, mutual respect and appreciation. 

They advise and encourage, particularly the new members of the faculty, in regards to the perception of the member’s current and future tasks, as well as their professional and personal development. 

Principles of scientific integrity 

All faculty members strive for advancement of knowledge and adhere to the criteria of scientific objectivity and integrity in their work. They are not using questionable sources and indicate all ideas, which are not their own, in accordance with the recognized methods of scientific work. 

They set forth their findings to the best of their knowledge and belief and above all do not suppress any results, which do not match their ideological, political or religious views. They make their findings available to the public in an appropriate manner. Confidential information will be protected in a suitable manner. 

In cases of advisory opinion, the members of the faculty abide by the relevant scientific standards. Potential conflicts of interest are disclosed and in severe cases the case is to be declined. 

In joint projects between professors or employees and students respectively the statutory provisions for the protection of intellectual property and the existing principles for third-party projects of the university are to be followed. 

Ethics Committee

An ethics committee is formed for the purpose of advancement of the objective of the code of ethics. Its members ex-officio include the ethics commissioner, the equal opportunities commissioner and one representative of each group from the professors, employees and students. The nomination takes place through a process the groups determine themselves. The term of office for the student member is one year, and two years for the members from the professor and employee group. 

The task of the ethics committee is to advise the faculty board with regard to the development of the code of ethics. Everyone has the opportunity to ask the members of the ethics committee to mediate in case of conflicts. They will only get involved with an aim of resolving conflicts if there is a mutual agreement from the conflicting parties.

Two years after its commencement, the ethics committee submits proposals for further advancement of the code of ethics based upon their collective experiences to the faculty board.

Members of the committee have an obligation of secrecy concerning any information obtained in their time as a committee member. All records of the committee are to be kept away from third parties and are to be destroyed after completion of the process. 

Relation to legislation

The behavioral expectations, set forth in the code of ethics, aim at fruitful relations between all members of the Faculty of Economics & Law. Binding legal obligations – with exception of section 5 (obligation of secrecy) – are neither justified nor changed by this code.