Sustainable Agriculture Institute
Working Committee Four (WC-4)
Terms of Reference
Part I: Mandate and Responsibilities
The mandate of the Honor Committee is to ensure that the e-campus Education Honor Management is designed, managed, evaluated, and revised in a coherent and coordinated fashion, consistent with accreditation and current educational standards.
The committee has authority for oversight of all Honor aspects. This encompasses the following general areas of responsibility:
- The purpose of the Honor Committee is to provide a direct channel of two-way communication between Institute administration and Students for information and advisory purposes;
- The Honor Committee will serve as a means for Institute administration to disseminate information concerning plans and programs affecting Honor;
- It will also serve as a forum by which Faculty can discuss Honor issues of general concern to them;
- Honor Committee members may be called to serve on review panels to address formal grievances and will generally serve as Faculty advocates to promote Honor;
- The Honor Committee will have oversight of the Honor Code of the Institute;
- The Honor Committee will review and decide upon all cases brought forth by the faculty of Honor Code breaches.
The Institute’s Honor Code as follows:
“The Institute community embodies a spirit of mutual trust and intellectual honesty that is central to the very nature of the school and represents the highest possible expression of shared values among the members of the school community.
The fundamental beliefs underlying and reflected in the Honor Code are:
- That trust in a person is a positive force in making that person worthy of trust;
- That every student has the right to live in an academic environment that is free from the injustices caused by any form of intellectual dishonesty, and
- That the honesty and integrity of all members of the school community contribute to its quest for truth.
The function of the Honor Code is to communicate the meaning and importance of intellectual honesty to all students of the school; to articulate and support the interest of the community in maintaining the highest standards of conduct in academic affairs, and to identify, sanction, and educate those who fail to live up to the stated expectations of the school community with regard to these standards. “
The Honor Committee functions under the authority of the Chancellor, which reviews, approves, and disseminates policies and procedures relevant to the overall program.
- Development of Policy: The Honor Committee develops policies that direct the Honor of the Institution and recommends them to the Chancellor for review and approval. Such policies include those supporting faculty control, financial reporting, and financials for the Annual Report.
- Establishment of the Honor Code. The Honor Committee is responsible for the establishment and continuing review of the overall Honor Code, the Honor Code is listed in the Annual Report.
- Design and Content of Honor Code. The Honor Committee is responsible for the design and structure of the Honor Code.
- Managing the Ongoing Evaluation and Revision of the Honor Code: The Honor Committee reviews the Honor of the Institute as a whole.
- Honor Administration. The Honor Committee is responsible for establishing an appropriate Honor and administrative leadership structure to ensure that all Honor goals are met.
Part II: Leadership & Membership
The Honor Committee is chaired by the Chancellor.
Where the Chair is absent for any reason, an Acting Chair may be appointed by the Chair, or in the absence of such an appointment, by the committee members present.
Only voting members may serve as Acting Chair. The Chair, or Acting Chair, will only vote in order to break a tie.
- Committee Chairman (Chancellor)
- Committee Secretary (Assistant to the Chancellor)
- Director of Honor & Institutes
- Director of Institute Administrative Service
- Dean of Institute
- Institute Faculty
The Chair may invite such guests as are necessary to conduct the meeting.
All new members will receive these Terms of Reference and will be oriented to the position by the Chair.
Responsibilities of Members
All members will participate actively in the committee by:
- Reviewing all pre-circulated material
- Attending at least 70% of the meetings
- Participating in working groups, as required
- Communicating committee activities and decisions as appropriate
Term of Membership
Appointed members will normally serve a three-year term, renewable once.
Part III: Meeting Procedures
Frequency and Duration of Meetings
Meetings will be held biweekly during the academic year and otherwise at the call of the Chair.
Quorum for the purpose of approving minutes or passing motions will be 50% plus one of all voting members, either present in person or via teleconference.
Meetings may be held in the absence of a quorum, but no decisions will be made.
Conflict of Interest
Members are expected to declare a conflict of interest if their real or perceived personal interests might be seen to influence their ability to assess any matter before the committee objectively. They can do so either by personal declaration at a meeting or in writing to the Chair. They will be excused from any discussions regarding the matter in question. The declaration and absences will be recorded in the minutes.
Decisions that establish program policy changes or directions to subcommittees or faculty members will be discussed in the context of specific motions, passed by a majority vote of members and recorded in the minutes. The Chair will aim to build consensus, if possible (see Appendix A), but the final decision will be made by voting. Votes may be conducted electronically, if necessary.
Part IV: Administrative Support & Communication
The Secretary will be the assistant to the Chancellor.
Agenda & Minutes
- Agenda and minutes of committee meetings are to be distributed to the committee members by the recording secretary.
- Minutes are normally distributed electronically to all members within one week of meetings.
- Minutes will be uploaded to the committee’s Web site.
The Honor Committee reports to the Chancellor, which reports to the Board of Governors.
The Honor Committee will produce an annual report of its activities to be submitted to the Board of Governors. That report will be written by the Chair and reviewed and approved by the committee before dissemination.
Recommendations for changes in policies and practices should initially be reviewed and approved by the Chancellor and then submitted to the Board of Governors for final approval.
Part V: Evaluation
These terms of reference will be reviewed by the Honor Committee on an annual basis and as required.
Part VI: Policy References
The policies are posted on the Institute’s website.
Part VII: Consensus-Based Decision Making
Rules for Building a Consensus
A consensus requires that everyone involved in the decision must agree on the individual points discussed before they become part of the decision. Not every point will meet with everyone’s complete approval. Unanimity is not the goal, although it may be reached unintentionally. It is not necessary that everyone is satisfied, but everyone’s ideas should be reviewed thoroughly. The goal is for individuals to understand the relevant data, and if need be, accept the logic of differing points of view.
The following rules are helpful in reaching a consensus:
- Avoid arguing over individual ranking or position. Present a position as lucidly as possible, but consider seriously what the other group members are presenting.
- Avoid “win-lose” stalemates. Discard the notion that someone must win and, therefore, someone else must lose. When an impasse occurs, look for the next most acceptable alternative for both parties.
- Avoid trying to change minds only in order to avoid conflict and achieve harmony.
- Withstand the pressure to yield to views that have no basis in logic or the supporting data.
- Avoid majority voting, averaging, bargaining or coin-flipping. These techniques do not lead to a consensus. Treat differences of opinion as indicative of an incomplete sharing of information — so keep probing.
- Keep the attitude that the holding of different views by group members is both natural and healthy. Diversity is a normal state; a continuous agreement is not.
- View initial agreement as suspect. Explore the reasons underlying apparent agreement on a decision and make sure that all members understand the implication of the decision and support it willingly.