FAQ: Principles for Ethical Professional Practice

Organizational Structure
man and woman talking at a desk

TAGS: ethics, principles,

What prompted the revision to the NACE Principles?

The revision was prompted by the need to ensure the NACE Principles reflect the current landscape and address the needs of a varied membership. In fact, the NACE Principles have not undergone significant revision since 1990; while the Principles have been reviewed and updated over the past 27 years, updates were relatively minor.

As noted in the preamble of the revised Principles document: “The environment in which we all work is subject to continuous and rapid change, with advances in technology, increased competition, diversifying constituencies, and differences among generations. Therefore, the Principles are intended to serve as an enduring framework within which those involved in the career development and employment processes operate and as a foundation upon which professionalism and ethical behavior are promoted. NACE members are expected to use the Principles to guide processes, decisions, and outcomes.”

What is the historical context for the NACE Principles?

NACE members have been guided by a set of ethical principles for nearly 60 years. In 1958, the association developed ethical principle statements; these were in place until 1990, when the last substantial revision took place.

How was the revision undertaken? Who was involved?

Two years ago, then-NACE President Sam Ratcliffe tasked a group of practitioners to review the Principles and, if warranted based on the review, develop recommendations for revision.

The group included leaders on both sides of the profession: Shawn VanDerziel, The Field Museum; Marie Artim, Enterprise; Ralph Brigham, Southwestern; Kelley Bishop, University of Maryland; Kathy Sims, UCLA; and Tim  Luzader, Purdue University. They were joined by President Ratcliffe (Virginia Military Institute) and Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.
As part of the review process, the group benchmarked with other higher education and human resources associations along with associations outside of those arenas.

How are the revised Principles different from the preceding Principles?

There are a number of differences, but the overarching difference is in focus: The revised Principles are oriented toward providing an ethical framework to support institutions and organizations in developing their own policies and procedures; they are not intended to serve as policies. The Principles developed in 1990, in keeping with the thinking of the time, were prescriptive and compliance focused.

Another difference you will note: Heretofore, the Principles were divided into three sections based on role: career services professional; university relations and recruiting practitioner; third-party recruiter. The revised Principles provides one set of ethical statements for everyone.

When do the revised Principles go into effect?

The revised Principles are effective August 1, 2017, but members may begin implementing them prior to that date.

How can I learn more? What training is available?

To date, practitioners have provided two training sessions, one at NACE’s 2017 Conference & Expo, the other a free webinar held in July and open to all members. The webinar was recorded, and is available to all members. (If you participated in the webinar, you can access the recording, plus related materials, through MyNACE > Events for 90 days. If you did not participate in the webinar, you can download a free copy of the recording through the NACE Store.) Additional training will be added as needed.

Where can I find additional resources?

You will find case studies and advisory opinions that address ethical issues on the NACE website. Search via keyword or tag (ethics), or find the materials in the resources area of MyNACE.

What if I have questions or need advice on applying the Principles?

NACE staff can answer many questions regarding the revised Principles; for more complex issues requiring an advisory opinion, staff can refer your question to the NACE Principles Committee for review.

NACE24 Virtual Faculty Attitudes and Behaviors: The Integration of Career Readiness Into the Curriculum NACE's NEW Coaching Certification Program