To avoid conflict of interest that may result when students engage in formal educational experiences with relatives certain procedures must be followed. In addition, procedures should be in place that allow affected students and faculty members to not participate in formal educational experiences together if either the student or the faculty members believes that the experience will be unproductive or potentially damaging to the relationship.
Admissions process: When a student who has a relative on the faculty is admitted to the college, the Vice President for Student Development or the Vice President for Academic Affairs will have a conversation with the student that provides an opportunity for the student to express any concerns s/he might have. The VP will also explain the parameters of the nepotism policy at this time. Credit-bearing Courses: Students may participate in courses and other educational experiences taught/facilitated by a relative. If a student wants to participate in such a course, the VP for Academic Affairs will have a conversation with the instructor to determine whether the instructor thinks that s/he can effectively teach the student in the given class. If the instructor is willing to have the student in class, the student and the instructor will meet with the Director of Assessment to articulate what modifications, if any need to be made regarding assessment of the learning objectives of the course. In all cases, formal assessment, including, but not limited to, the final student assessment will be done by another faculty member. The instructor and the director of assessment and/or VPAA will determine the identity of the other faculty member and will inform the student and registrar.
In these cases, the student’s advisor will check in with the student before the mid-semester mark and the VP for Academic Affairs will check in with the faculty member in the same time frame. If either the student or the faculty member feels like the conflict of interest is impinging significantly on the student’s learning or is damaging the relationship, the student will be able to withdraw from the course without penalty. The student and the instructor will together determine how the student can complete his/her progress toward the course objectives.
A faculty member or other institutional official will recuse him/herself from any discussion or vote relating to the student to whom he/she is related. The faculty member of institutional official will state publicly the reason for his/her recusal.
For the purposes of this policy, a relative is considered to be anyone with whom the faculty member has a close, personal relationship, such as a spouse or partner, member of the same household, parent grandparent, child or grandchild, sibling, aunt or uncle or a spouse, partner or child of any of the foregoing. If the college enrolls a student who has a relationship with a faculty member that does not fit into one of these categories, but that the faculty member feels may present a conflict of interest, the faculty member will inform the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If the Vice President for Academic Affairs affirms that there is a significant conflict of interest, the procedures stated here will apply.
Bias in Evaluations Due to Relationships
RRC expects both faculty and students to avoid situations where a faculty/student personal or family relationship could bias evaluations or teaching situations, or could create the appearance of bias. In case of doubt about such a situation, students and instructors should contact the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Those persons have the authority to decide whether there is a conflict or appearance of one, and how the situation will be managed.