The ACPA Ethics Committee has been working for several years to increase awareness and dialogue about issues of ethical decision making in higher education. The association has a revised Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards and the committee has created a number of related materials to be used in courses or professional development sessions.

The resources can be used to promote conversations and curricula on ethics issues and have been designed for college and graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators at various stages of their careers. Several of these resources have been designed by the committee to be adapted for your specific population, or your own professional development.

The committee sponsors programs at the national convention, writes articles in Developments, and sponsors position papers on the topic of ethics. If you would like to become involved with the committee, or have questions about the content of this Web site, please do not hesitate to contact one of the committee members listed in the directory.

View the Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards


We, practitioners and scholars of Student Affairs, will create, participate in, and support a community that strives to respond in an ethical manner to all situations and in all contexts. Practitioners are educated regarding ethics and its potential to shape meaning; solve problems; promote social justice; celebrate the multifaceted nature of diversity; and create common ground where none may exist. These practitioners make daily decisions to empower students and colleagues, to make a positive impact on students, community members, other practitioners, policies, and institutional culture. The topics of ethics and ethical decision-making are discussed daily by all students, faculty, staff, and administrators throughout Higher Education. Ethical decisions made within ACPA, our relationship with external organizations, and institutions of higher education are transparent and congruent with our values as student affairs practitioners.

Mission Statement

  • To promote the study and application of ethics in order to assist ACPA to further its Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards and enable its members to use ethics to promote the values, goals and ideals of the Student Affairs profession.
  • To include educational outreach in many venues: conferences, workshops, research, publications, classrooms, and throughout institutions of higher education
  • To not only ask difficult questions about the work we do, how and why we do it, but to support others in doing the same.
  • To demonstrate our passion through having ethical conversations, making ethical decisions, promoting ethical workplaces, and promoting pluralistic dialogue among ACPA members and throughout student affairs.


  • Support the ACPA Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards, including serving as positive role models in the Association and at our institutions.
  • Educate membership about the study and application of professional ethics.
  • Inform/Educate the ACPA membership about the goals of the committee.
  • Influence graduate student professional training programs to include the study of ethics in a professionally relevant way.
  • Help ethics become more assessable and meaningful in student affairs professional's lives and careers.
  • Serve as a resource to practitioners, scholars and students, should someone need or want ethical consultation.
  • Ensure ethical considerations are considered before and during the decision-making process, rather than as an afterthought.
  • Highlight the importance of and promote the study of ethics and philosophy as it relates to undergraduate students' lives. [e.g. Christopher Phillips Socrates Café .]
  • Support workshops at ACPA relating to ethics in Higher Education.

Goals specifically related to "Professional Responsibility & Competence"

  • Use the study of ethics to help student affairs professionals and scholars develop meaning, purpose and focus in their lives and to encourage continued commitment to the field.
  • Through case studies, give practitioners and scholars opportunities to practice various ethical conflicts and utilize ethical decision-making skills.
  • Provide performance assessment tools that include the ethical decision-making as an evaluative criterion.

Goals specifically related to "Student Learning and Development"

  • Provide students opportunities and impetuses to think deeply about what matters to them, where their values, virtues and beliefs come from, and how that is all relevant in their personal and professional lives.
  • Prepare Student Affairs practitioners and scholars to support students in developing meaning and purpose, in addition to working towards career objectives.

Goals specifically related to "Responsibility to the Institution"

  • Explore ethical and political pluralism as tools to help settle disagreements and perhaps also prevent them.
  • Promote ethical hiring practices.
  • Reinforce the profession's goals for Standards of Behavior.
  • Encourage institutions to explore and examine current practices, as well as consider what practices could be instituted to improve ethical delivery of services.
  • Provide a climate where practitioners and scholars exercise self-scrutiny as they clarify institutional and departmental values so that all can act with those values in mind.
  • Compel institutions to clearly publicize methods for the university community to report unethical conduct.

Goals specifically related to "Responsibility to Society"

  • Demonstrate how an understanding of and commitment to understanding ethics assists practitioners in understanding social codes and moral expectations of communities.