Acting Ethically

U-M is a complex, decentralized institution. Clear policies and procedures help the University function more effectively and efficiently, allowing faculty and staff to focus on their pursuits and responsibilities. Clear internal guidance also improves U-M’s compliance with external obligations that may impact U-M’s funding and reputation, and gives everyone performing a U-M role the information they need to carry out their work in compliance with laws and other external standards.

U-M has many policies, procedures, handbooks and guides that describe the various standards and responsibilities which the U-M community agrees to uphold – many of which are linked on the right hand side of this page. This site collates and summarizes, at an institutional level, those guiding principles that are particularly relevant to compliance and ethics.

A summary of guiding principles

  1. U-M’s community is devoted to the highest ethical, scholarly and professional standards, and strives to act with honesty, integrity, and in the best interests of the University.
  2. Individual members of the U-M community are responsible for their own behavior and ethical choices.
  3. Transparency, good record keeping and open communication are central to U-M’s accountability as a public institution.
  4. Our community is committed to showing respect for others and fostering an environment where discrimination and harassment have no place.
  5. Academic freedom and free expression are vigorously protected by the U-M community.
  6. U-M is committed to carefully guarding and respecting the privacy of others and the appropriate handling of confidential information.
  7. Members of the U-M community should understand what laws, policies and procedures apply to their role (as summarized in the Faculty Handbook, Staff Handbook, Student Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and the U-M Health System Code of Conduct) as well as any other external obligations that apply to their role, such as contract or grant requirements.
  8. Properly declaring and managing conflicts of interest is essential to preserving the independence and reputation of both the University and its faculty and staff.
  9. Reporting suspected unethical or illegal conduct is critical to U-M’s monitoring and continuous improvement of its compliance.

Note: This summary is intended to complement, and not interfere with, any unit or department level policies, bulletins, codes or other obligations that may also be in place across the University. Everyone should acquaint themselves with their local level practices and requirements.


First established 3/4/11, last updated 3/7/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated