Department Code of Conduct

We value the participation of every member of our community and want to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, both professionally and personally. Accordingly, all members of the University of Nevada, Reno Geoscience community are expected to show respect and courtesy to others at all times. Our community includes all students, staff, and faculty regardless of employee status; whether visiting University activities from the community or another NSHE institution, or resident at the University; whether part-time or full-time; whether secondary, tertiary, or postgraduate; and including all visitors, guests, volunteers, adjuncts, and emeriti. This code of conduct is not a legal document and serves to supplement University and NSHE policies (e.g., the student code of conduct and employee policies and regulations); in cases of ambiguity, College of Science, University, and NSHE policies supercede this document. Our general, guiding principle is that no member of the University Geoscience community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the University Geoscience community. This code of conduct applies in all instances in which you are representing the the University Geoscience community, including, but not limited to, on campus-activities, field work, attending conferences, and representation of our community online and on social media. This Code of Conduct is a living document, and we encourage suggestions and feedback for improvement.

Inclusivity and diversity

Enjoyable, high-quality research can only be conducted when everyone feels safe, secure, and supported. All Geoscience community members are thus required to maintain a discrimination-free and harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, economic status, immigration status, citizenship, political affiliation, religion and/or any other category for which one may experience discrimination or harassment. Harassment also includes, but is not limited to deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussions, display or inscription of hateful images or symbols, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. We do not tolerate harassment or bullying in any form, and we ask all members of the community to be guided by the following:

  • Be a respectful and helpful member of the Geoscience community;
  • All communication, be it online or in person, should be appropriate for a professional audience, and be considerate of people from different cultural backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate at any time.
  • Be kind to others and do not insult or put down other community members.
  • Behave professionally. Remember that sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are never appropriate.
  • Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.
  • Contribute to discussions in meetings with a constructive, positive approach.
  • Be mindful of talking over others when discussing in communities and be willing to hear out the ideas of others.
  • Be mindful that even when you are using your personal social media accounts that many of the geoscience community may see your posts, and thus, it is recommended that your posts follow the same guidelines described in the previous bullet points.
  • Scientific misconduct, including, but not limited to, fabrication of data, falsification of data, plagiarism, and concealing scientific misconduct, will not be tolerated. See the AGU Scientific Ethics and Integrity Policy for a broader definition of scientific misconduct.

In addition to making community members feel safe and secure, diversity and inclusivity have numerous benefits to us all. Put simply, the greater the mix of people in our community, the greater the mix of skills, experiences, perspectives, and ideas we can collectively draw on.

Department and state agencies

The Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, and the Nevada Seismological Lab should:

  • Provide students with up-to-date information that includes policies, practices, degree requirements, and resources or provide information on where such information can be obtained;
  • Provide students with contacts and resources for potential conflict resolution;
  • Ensure the list of courses offered by the department are being taught or provide information on where such information can be obtained;
  • Monitor graduate student progress toward degree development;
  • Monitor student completion and time to degree;
  • Provide appropriate infrastructure to allow students to complete their education and research in a timely and productive manner;
  • Respond promptly and appropriately to concerns raised by faculty, staff, and students.

Faculty and staff

Faculty and staff should:

  • Promote a healthy environment, free of harassment, that encourages others to accomplish their goals;
  • Be supportive, equitable, respectful, accessible, and encouraging;
  • Maintain a healthy and safe class environment that adheres to this Code of Conduct in lectures, the field, and any other class activities;
  • Remember that instructors are in charge of their class, have a responsibility acknowledge and correct any classroom (or class lab or field) behavior that contravenes this Code, and in severe instances may eject violators from the class with the full support of the administration;
  • Be sensitive to the power imbalance that exists between different positions (different ranks of academic and administrative faculty members, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students);
  • For TAs in your class, provide clear instructions at the start of the semester for the tasks that are required as part of the TA. Make sure that these tasks do not exceed 20 hrs/week. Check in with the TA on a regular basis throughout the semester to check and make sure things are going smoothly. Also be supportive and a liaison if the TA is having any problems with students in the class.
  • For RAs, generate a list of expectations for the semester and agree upon these with the graduate student. The agreed upon tasks should be meaningful to the student’s professional training and/or educational experience, and any work unrelated to a student’s thesis/dissertation should not exceed 20 hrs/week;
  • Avoid assigning duties or activities that are outside of the student’s or postdoc’s academic and professional responsibilities;
  • Respect research group members needs to allocate their time and schedule among competing demands (e.g., class assignments, family obligations, etc.) and when they are most productive as long as they are maintaining timely progress toward their degree;
  • Advise graduate students on the selection of their thesis topic, assist them in selecting a thesis committee;
  • Consider working with research group members on an Independent Development Plan (IDP) so that the advisor understands the group member’s goals and career aspirations;
  • Advise graduate students on timelines and expectations for the comprehensive exam (read through the Graduate Handbook to understand the schedule and activities involved in this exam; do not rely on the Graduate Director to do this). Ensure that this timeline provides for sufficient time for input from the advisor and committee members;
  • Set clear expectations and goals for research group members regarding their academic performance and research progress. Meet regularly to discuss and provide feedback on the progress;
  • Discuss expectations for work hours, vacation time, and health contingencies with research groups members;
  • Read and review abstracts, grant proposals, manuscripts, and thesis chapters in a timely manner for both your own students and postdocs and other people for whom you are working with or on their committee. Do not inhibit students’ or postdocs’ progress;
  • Provide and discuss criteria for authorship on any group projects;
  • Discuss plagiarism, copyright, and self-plagiarism, and how to properly cite the work of others;
  • Provide research group members with training and mentoring in all relevant aspects of research, communication skills, and grant preparation as appropriate;
  • Avoid placing pressure on research group members to produce results that support particular hypotheses;
  • Devise effective ways of providing research group members with guidance and supervision during any prolonged absences;
  • Encourage participation in on-campus thesis/dissertation presentation events and participation in professional meetings;
  • Review and have research group members practice presentations;
  • Provide career advice, offer help with job applications and interviews, and provide letters of recommendation in a timely manner;
  • Be a role model by acting in an ethical, professional, respectful, and courteous manner toward other students, staff, and faculty. Remember to respect boundaries and do not have conversations about your and their personal lives and/or controversial issues such as politics or religion without consent;
  • Cooperate with any investigation stemming from a complaint, preserve confidentiality to the extent possible, do not retaliate against whomever complained or was involved in the investigation, and only file complaints in good faith.

Graduate students

Graduate students should:

  • Recognize that they bear the primary responsibility for the successful completion of their degree;
  • Read through the Graduate Handbook to understand what steps are needed to finish a degree and also review the timelines outlined on the UNR Graduate School website. The student is responsible for meeting departmental and Graduate School deadlines;
  • Exercise the highest ethical standards in all aspects of their research;
  • Complete all tasks required of their graduate assistantship;
  • Be proactive about communicating with the advisor and thesis committee;
  • Be considerate of other time constraints imposed on faculty and staff, including competing demands. Realize that asking for things, including review of research products, well in advance before a deadline will ensure that the item is completed by the deadline;
  • Take an active role in identifying and pursuing professional development opportunities;
  • Clearly communicate with the advisor(s) your career preferences;
  • Be proactive about improving research skills, including oral and written communications skills;
  • Always act in an ethical, professional, and courteous manner toward other students, staff, and faculty;
  • Raise complaints and concerns through appropriate channels and only in good faith.
  • When acting as a teaching assistant, conduct TA duties professionally, and be a good communicator between the faculty instructor and the students in the class.

Faculty and students may review the complete Code of Conduct including information about the Department's dispute resolution guidelines, options for reporting issues of harassment, discrimination and bullying and a list of individuals in the Department to speak with about these or any other issues.

View the complete Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering Code of Conduct

Other codes of conduct

Many of the Geoscience societies also have ethics policies/Codes of Conduct that are important to read through as well (e.g., the AGU Scientific Ethics and Integrity Policy and the GSA Ethics Policies and Procedures).

Guidelines for updating the Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct committee will be established with (at least one of each) undergraduate student, graduate student, staff, and faculty members. This committee will review, seek input from the University Geoscience community, and update this document every two years.

This Code of Conduct (CoC) borrows heavily and is modified from UT-Austin Jackson School’s CoC.