January 08, 2003
tests the ethical borders
Question: (A-001) A professor at our university is
using his students to do research for which he is charging
a company consulting fees. Shouldnt he either be
paying the students or donating the work? Am I wrong to
see this as unethical? A concerned administrator.
Response: Dear university administrator: yes, you
may be wrong to see this behavior as unethical
without more information. Professors in some academic
institutions are allowed, even encouraged, to conduct
research and provide consulting expertise. Depending upon
the nature of this professors contract with the
academic institution and the client, there may be no conflict
provide lots of low cost services to institutions
of higher learning.
clear example is major college football which generates
large amounts of cash through tickets sales. These athletic
activities can provide generous compensation packages
for certain instructors and coaches. Perhaps your question
is addressing the legality of such activities.
that area, please consult legal counsel.
your concern is that students should be paid for learning
techniques and processes that could later benefit their
own careers (post education) that could raise yet
another question: Is the work of the students
only billable because the professor supervises
the interpretation? Is this another form of sweat
this instance, integrity and morality do not seem to be
on the block. Judgment may be. In the meantime,
enjoy sports activities and special grants that enable
institutions of higher education to improve salaries and
benefits for those who choose to serve our future generations
through academic service.
JIM BRACHER is founder of the Bracher
Center for Integrity in Leadership in Monterey. His column,
"Integrity Matters," appears Wednesday on the
Business page. Readers are invited to submit questions
on business-related ethics and values. Please write in
care of INTEGRITY to firstname.lastname@example.org. The
center's Web site is www.brachercenter.com.
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