Revolution Lullabye

April 6, 2009

Horning, Ethics and the jWPA

Horning, Alice. “Ethics and the jWPA.” In Untenured Faculty as Writing Program Administrators: Institutional Practices and Politics. Eds. Dew and Horning. West Lafayette: Parlor Press, 2007. 40-57.

Horning argues that it is unethical for untenured faculty members to serve as writing program administrators. She defends her claim by using the ethical arguments of W.D. Ross (who draws on Biblical teachings, especially from the Old Testament) and Kant. jWPAs don’t have the expertise and experience that they need to be cross-curricular, all-university faces of writing programs and to do the managerial duties (scheduling, changing curriculum, hiring, firing) that are required of a WPA. Veteran faculty and senior WPAs in the field need to look out for jWPAs – even those who want the challenge of the position – by issuing a national policy statement against it.

Quotable Quotes

“It is unethical with junior faculty without tenure to hold WPA positions.” (40).

Notable Notes

WD Ross – Deuteronomy 22:10 – it is unlawful to yoke an ass and ox together because of the discrepancy in the ability to work.

Ross’s ethics rely on the idea of DUTY: 1st is fidelty – Promise-keeping: A department makes promises to a new hire and needs to give them the space and time to concentrate on teaching and scholarship, which will be what they are evaluated for tenure on (also this focus is repeated in the AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics)

Kant – don’t use people as a means to an end

senior faculty allowing eager junior faculty to serve as WPA is wrong – such a position is harmful to health, family life, and career – it’s like allowing a kid to pig out on candy

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