American Scholar Code of Ethics

The American Scholar organization is dedicated to providing high-quality education and other related services to all participants, from students to parents to educational institutions. American Scholar’s Code of Ethics sets standards for ethical, professional conduct of all American Scholar associates, believing that the organization must emphasize high integrity in its business practices. This code does not address how associates will conduct themselves in all specific situations, but it does provide a clear outline within which associates can safely ensure they will treat those with whom they come in contact with respect, dignity, and trust.

This ethics code is also not intended to be exhaustive. Associates are instructed to keep in mind that situations may arise during which the most honorable first choice is to seek guidance from other associates in the organization with more authority or experience. In addition, associates should note that professional practices in more than one area could apply to them, necessitating adherence to guidelines not covered in this document.

All American Scholar associates, including volunteers as well as paid employees, are expected to uphold professional standards. Furthermore, all associates are encouraged to use this Code of Ethics as an educational tool for working not only with other associates but with all others with whom they come in contact in the course of doing business.

As international education specialists, American Scholar associates operate in especially complex business, government, and educational environments. As such, legitimate interests sometimes have competing concerns to satisfy. Ultimately, the associates of American Scholar must be committed to advancing the long-term best interest and well-being of international educational exchange programs and participants in general, not just the interest of direct American Scholar clients. Sorting through ethical dilemmas is often best done with help from others, either one’s colleagues in the organization or experts in the subject-matter area, and that help will be more forthcoming when outside individuals clearly recognize that the American Scholar organization is committed to standards of integrity.

1.  American Scholar associates are expected to:

  • Maintain high standards of professional conduct;
  • Follow ethical practices outlined in this Code of Ethics;
  • Balance the wants, needs, and requirements of program participants, institutional policies, laws, and sponsors;
  • Resist pressure from personal, social, organizational, financial, or political entities when they attempt to use their influence inappropriately;
  • Seek appropriate guidance and direction when faced with ethical dilemmas;
  • Avoid letting self-aggrandizement or personal gain influence professional judgments;
  • Make every effort to ensure that the services of American Scholar are offered only to individuals and organizations with legitimate motivations for seeking those services;
  • Strive to ensure that the practices of those with whom one contracts also conform to American Scholar’s Code of Ethics; and
  • Carry-out their American Scholar duties promptly and responsibly.
2.  In professional preparation and development, associates shall:
  • Accurately represent their areas of core competence, education, training, and experience, as well as the credentials of other associates;
  • Recognize the limits of their expertise and confine themselves to performing only those duties for which they are properly educated, trained, and qualified, making referrals when situations are outside their areas of core competence;
  • Be informed of current developments in their fields, ensuring continuing development and competence;
  • Keep abreast of laws and regulations that affect their clients;
  • Remain knowledgeable about national and world events that impact international educational program participants;
  • Remain knowledgeable about differences in cultural and value orientations; and
  • Actively promote and implement the American Scholar Code of Ethics when practices that contravene it become evident.

3.  In relationships with students, scholars and others, associates shall:

  • Inform participants of their rights / responsibilities in the context of the organization and the community;
  • Understand and protect the civil and human rights of all individuals;
  • Not discriminate with regard to race, ethnicity, immigration status, national origin, political opinion, religion, age, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, disability, color, national origin, or age in the administration of any of its employment, education programs, admissions policies, scholarship, and / or financial aid programs;
  • Demonstrate awareness of, sensitivity to, and respect for other educational systems, values, beliefs, and cultures;
  • Recognize their own cultural and value orientations and be aware of how those orientations affect their interactions with people from other cultures;
  • Not use one’s position to proselytize, which is defined as unsolicited, coercive, manipulative, and/or hidden persuasion that seeks to influence others to adopt another way of thinking, believing, or behaving;
  • Not exploit, threaten, coerce, or sexually harass others;
  • Refrain from becoming involved in personal relationships with students and scholars when such relationships might result in either the appearance or the fact of undue influence being exercised on the making of professional judgments;
  • Avoid encouraging an atmosphere of intimacy by conducting business in public whenever possible;
  • Accept only gifts that are of nominal value and exercise judicious caution to avoid accepting gifts that seem to be intended to influence professional decisions, while remaining sensitive to the varying significance and implications of gifts in different cultures;
  • Refrain from invoking governmental or institutional regulations in order to intimidate students, family members, clients, fellow associates, or others with whom associates come in contact during the course of conducting business;
  • Respond to inquiries fairly, equitably, and professionally;
  • Provide accurate, complete, current, and unbiased information;
  • Maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and security of participants’ records and of all communications with program participants.
  • Provide information, orientation, and support services needed to facilitate participants’ adaptation to new educational and cultural environments; and
  • Identify and provide appropriate referrals for students or scholars who experience unusual levels of emotional difficulty.
4.  In professional relationships, associates shall:
  • Show respect for the diversity of viewpoints among associates; just as they show respect for diversity of viewpoints among clients;
  • Refrain from unjustified or unseemly criticism of fellow associates; criticism should be constructive and professional;
  • Uphold agreements when participating in joint activities and give due credit to collaborators for their contributions; and
  • Use their offices, titles, and professional associations only for the conduct of official American Scholar business.
5.  In administering programs, associates shall:
  • Clearly and accurately represent the identity of the American Scholar organization, as well as the goals, capabilities, and costs of American Scholar programs;
  • Recruit individuals, paid or unpaid, who are qualified to offer promised instruction or services; train and supervise them responsibly; and ensure by means of regular evaluation that those individuals are performing acceptably and that the overall program is meeting its professed goals;
  • Encourage and support participation in professional development activities;
  • Strive to establish appropriate standards, activities, and instruction and fee structures that are responsive to participant needs;
  • Provide appropriate orientation, materials, and ongoing guidance for participants;
  • Provide appropriate opportunities for students and scholars to observe and participate in mutual inquiry into cultural differences; and
  • Take appropriate steps to enhance the safety and security of all participants.
6.  In making public statements, associates shall:
  • Provide accurate, complete, current, and unbiased information; and
  • Clearly distinguish, in both written and oral public statements, between personal opinions and official opinions representing American Scholar and other related organizations.