Professional and Community Standards


The Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University fosters a safe learning community that embraces high standards of academic and interpersonal ethics and conduct. When conflict occurs, Dornsife expects collaboration among community members to work toward conflict resolution and improved relationships.

The Dornsife School of Public Health expects that all community members adhere to the highest level of ethical and professional conduct, an essential standard for the public health profession. In order to maintain a safe and educational environment, all Drexel University students, faculty, and professional staff are responsible for compliance with the Code of Conduct. Furthermore, community members should report any behavior that violates the Code of Conduct via the University Reporting Systems.

In addition to the University Code of Conduct, Dornsife community members are expected to adhere to the Dornsife Professional and Community Standards in order to ensure a safe, ethical, and professional environment.

Expectations for Professionalism and Personal Accountability

As members of the Dornsife community, students, faculty, and professional staff agree to abide by the Dornsife Professional and Community Standards. Violations of the Dornsife Professional and Community Standards, even those that arise from lack of awareness or understanding, may lead to disciplinary action for the offending individual via the Office of Student Conduct.

Affirmation of Community Standards

As representatives of Drexel University, the Dornsife School of Public Health, and the public health profession, all students, faculty, and professional staff commit to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct and make the following affirmations:

  • I will maintain honesty and integrity in all aspects of my work and/or education.
  • I will act respectfully during my interactions with other community members.
  • I will commit myself to understanding and preserving professional ethics.
  • I will commit myself to understanding and adhering to the Dornsife Professional and Community Standards.

By conducting myself with honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect for others, a community capable of the free exchange of ideas and excellence in public health can be fostered. Behavior that deviates from these principles jeopardizes this achievement and, in some circumstances, community safety. As such, I understand it is my personal responsibility to confront and report such behavior via the University Reporting Systems.

Guidelines on Professionalism

Dornsife School of Public Health Community Members are expected to demonstrate good judgment and a sense of respect, responsibility, sensitivity, and compassion. These qualities are fundamental characteristics of ethical and professional public health practitioners and researchers. The Guidelines on Professionalism provide further standards that are essential to ensuring a student’s suitability to become a public health professional.

Community members are expected to meet the following behavioral and professionalism standards:


  • Act, at all times, in an ethical, responsible, and dependable manner
  • Conduct oneself in accordance with the University Code of Conduct and the Dornsife Professional and Community Standards

Community-Building and Communication

  • Support communication, trust, and accountability among members of the DSPH community and within teams, when working in small groups  
  • Treat fellow students, co-workers, faculty, administrators, and staff with respect and sensitivity
  • Provide supportive and constructive feedback to peers when appropriate
  • Manage and respond to conflicts in a collegial manner
    • Use equipment, supplies, materials, time, and/or space appropriately and for the intended use
    • Support the learning environment of others by avoiding any behaviors that may impact the performance of another student on an examination, classroom experience, and/or formal exercise.


  • Identify and address areas of improvement in one’s own learning performance
  • Accept supportive and constructive feedback and modify behavior accordingly
  • Project a professional image through manner, dress, and communication (including electronic)
  • Maintain composure during difficult interactions
  • Request help from appropriate support resources when needed
  • Attend to one’s own well being

Reliability and Responsibility

  • Demonstrate self-motivation and accountability for one’s own learning
  • Complete all assigned tasks in a timely and responsible manner
  • Arrive on time for scheduled classes, meetings, and/or activities, and notify appropriate individual in advance, if possible, for missed classes and activities.
  • Respond promptly to faculty or administration when contacted personally or electronically
  • Admit accountability and accept responsibility for one’s own actions
  • Respond appropriately to others’ unprofessional or unethical behaviors by utilizing resources described on the University Reporting Systems.

Online Etiquette

“Netiquette,” or Online Etiquette, are rules to make online interactions with your instructor and peers a positive experience. There a few rules that, when followed, help keep conversations on task and productive. These “Core Rules of Netiquette” are excerpted from the book Netiquette by Virginia Shea.

  • When you are responding to another poster, remember there is a living breathing person on the other end of the computer. Respond as you would face to face, and put yourself in the other person’s “shoes” as the recipient of the message.
  • Use correct grammar and spelling in all posts. Remember that these are not casual online chat conversations, but rather communication in a professional setting.
  • Share your knowledge and experience, but try to make sure your posts continue the conversation rather than just restating what has been said. And while it is good to engage in productive intellectual debate, be respectful and don’t use inflammatory language.
  • Lastly, be forgiving of other people’s mistakes.
  • I acknowledge that while in public and/or online, I represent the public health profession, Drexel University, and the Dornsife School of Public Health and will conduct myself responsibly.

Academic Integrity

  • Students may not obtain, receive, use, or provide any assistance during an examination or other evaluative exercise from any source which is not authorized by the faculty. This shall include the use of electronic devices.
  • Students may not present for evaluation any work or project which is not exclusively the work of the student(s) being evaluated.
  • Students may not plagiarize from any paper or presentation.
  • Students may not post online, distribute, and/or share information from classes (exam questions, assignments, etc.) without the direct permission of the instructor and/or the person who created/owns the original material
  • Students will uphold the highest values of academic integrity, as outlined in the Drexel University Academic Integrity policies.

In addition to the above professional ethics and standards, students of the Dornsife School of Public Health have created and agreed to the following below “ground rules” to be practiced when interacting with other members of the Dornsife community:

  1. Respect one another’s time.
  2. Practice understanding and patience when interacting with others by listening actively.
  3. Engage respectfully when in disagreement with others.
  4. Acknowledge and celebrate the inherent differences of others.
  5. Keeping an open mind when listening to the views of others.
  6. Be supportive by being accessible to one another and allowing others to ask for help. We can all help each other grow.
  7. Encourage collaboration by actively trying to work with others
  8. Practice self-care through establishing clear personal and professional boundaries.
  9. Include others by allowing everyone the chance to speak and take their words seriously.
  10. Assuming good intentions of others.
  11. Creating an environment where others can ask for what they need (for ex. in group work); creating opportunities to ask for what you need
  12. Be an active member of the community and practice the “step up and step back” rule to allow for equitable involvement.
  13. Offer constructive feedback by acknowledging success and challenges. Criticize ideas, not individuals.

Reporting of Concern for Unprofessional or Unethical Behavior

For additional information, questions, or concerns regarding the standards detailed above or University resources, please contact Michelle McDermott.

If you need to speak with someone urgently and confidentially, please call Public Safety at 215.895.2222 or the Office of Equality and Diversity at 215.895.1405.

Formal Complaints

Students, professional staff, and faculty members are encouraged to report any behavior that does not align with University policy to the Office of Student Conduct or through the reporting systems detailed here.

Informal Resolution

Additionally, The Ombuds is available to assist all members of the University community who are involved in a dispute and believes an informal dispute resolution process might be helpful. It is the role of the Ombuds to seek to resolve conflicts and complaints for all members of the University community – students, faculty, and staff – that are not subject to other dispute resolution processes. The Ombuds is not the advocate or representative of any group or person, but impartially seeks to assist any member of the University community. To arrange an appointment with the Ombuds, please contact Dr. Kirk Heilbrun.