Interdisciplinary perspectives on the ethical implications of having multiple relationships with students: Can we be “friends” with our students?

Session Description
The digital landscape includes a wide array of online networking opportunities to foster social and professional connections. Increasingly, educational institutions are expanding online opportunities to enhance student engagement beyond their email and learning management systems. Many schools are making Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other more contemporary social media accounts accessible to instructors who want to engage students outside of the online classroom. In the absence of social media pages officially sanctioned by the institution, some instructors make a personal choice to connect with their students via their personal social media accounts. The key question to be addressed by participants in this roundtable is, “What are the ethical and professional issues associated with connecting with students online outside of platforms controlled by the college or university?” Participants from all fields are invited to share their perspectives on this question. Beyond identifying ethical dilemmas, participants will be invited to offer share their practices and solutions to address potential ethical challenges.
Yolanda Harper
Yolanda Harper, Ashford University , San Diego, CA, USA
Yolanda Harper, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Ashford University. Dr. Harper earned her Ph.D. & M.A. from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined Ashford in 2013 after having worked in faculty and administrative leadership positions in both public and private universities. Some of her areas of interest include inclusive excellence and cultural competency, online interpersonal communication, assessment, goal-setting and program evaluation, curriculum development, wellness, positive psychology, and the psychology of music.
Joseph Belcher
Joseph Belcher, Ashford University , San Diego, CA, USA
Dr. Trevor Belcher is an Associate Dean in Ashford University’s College of Health, Human Services, and Science. Over the past two decades, his educational and practical experience have allowed him the opportunity to serve in various capacities such as pastoral ministry, counseling, consulting, teaching, and administration. Previously he was a faculty member and an Associate Dean at Kaplan University and held administrative positions at Patten University and at New Charter University. He has a PhD and MS in Psychology from Capella University and a BS with a double major in Ministry and Theology from Mid-America Christian University. Dr. Belcher’s current academic interests include education, leadership, and wellness.
Jeral Kirwan
Jeral Kirwan, Ashford University , San Diego, CA, USA
Stephen Brewer
Stephen Brewer, Ashford University, San Diego, CA, USA
Dr. Brewer is an Assistant Professor in Psychology and Applied Behavioral Sciences at Ashford University. He received his Doctorate in Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego. He is also a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist in California and is approved to practice in several other jurisdictions. His research interests include LGBT topics, multicultural competency, police psychology, and student learning communities.
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One Response to Interdisciplinary perspectives on the ethical implications of having multiple relationships with students: Can we be “friends” with our students?

  1. April 17, 2018 at 8:59 am #

    Hello everyone,

    These are some of the questions we’ll discuss today at 11:00am HST. Come join us and share your thoughts and experiences.

    *Do you interact socially with students outside of the academic context?
    *What are the risks and/or benefits associated with being “friends” with students?
    *Do you connect with students via social networking platforms (not including institutionally sponsored platforms)?
    *What constitutes having a friendship with a student that extends beyond a professional academic relationship?
    *Do you have any success or horror stories related to this topic?
    *Does your institution have any formal policies related to having multiple relationships with students?

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