Code of Professional Conduct

The Code of Professional Conduct sets guiding standards and expectations of our colleagues’ behaviour and conduct in an inclusive University of Glasgow community, where relationships are built around mutual trust and confidence. It is enforced through our disciplinary framework.

It reflects the duty of care the University owes to students through the Student Contract and its legal responsibilities to colleagues as an employer. 

It provides the foundation on which to build our understanding of the behavioural expectations placed upon us as members of this community. We all need to act with integrity, professionalism, dignity, and respect.

The Code applies to all colleagues and representatives of the University of Glasgow. 

This includes: honoraries; affiliates; Graduate Teaching Assistants and Demonstrators (who may also be students), and those undertaking Clinical research, teaching, and practice; and colleagues working overseas as part of partnership working.

Ten principles

All members of University of Glasgow should be treated with dignity and respect.

As Colleagues, we will:


Treat colleagues and students with dignity and respect in any interactions and communications, both in-person and online. This includes in virtual meetings and on social media.


Recognise potential power imbalances that may exist across different professional contexts and settings in Higher Education. For example between:

  • colleague and student
  • senior colleague and early career colleague
  • manager and staff member
  • PhD supervisor and postgraduate researcher
  • academic colleague and professional services colleague.


Exhibit professional and personal integrity, fairness, and honesty at all times and behave in an ethical [see: note on ethical standards] and respectful manner in the exercise of our duties in the capacity in which we are operating as members of the University community. For example, as an:

  • employee
  • or colleague
  • or representative of the University.


Examples of disrespectful and unacceptable behaviour

Disrespectful and Unacceptable Behaviour

Examples of disrespectful and unacceptable behaviour include, but are not limited to:

  • Aggressive or abusive behaviour, including rude language, (racialised) microaggressions [see note on microaggressions], personal insults or threatening to harm another person.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances – stalking, encroaching on personal space, asking for sexual favours/coercion.
  • Inappropriate remarks, comments, messages or jokes (made either in-person, electronically or via social media accounts) relating to an individual’s personal characteristics (protected or otherwise), and/or professional reputation, which are derogatory or detrimental in nature.
  • Intimate/inappropriate gestures (e.g. unsolicited gifts to an individual student).
  • Abusing authority to disadvantage or advantage a student/PGR or colleague (e.g., making decisions about assessment or performance not based on merit).
  • Violating standards of professional behaviour in research found to constitute research misconduct.
  • Accessing/sharing of pornographic or offensive material, as per, IT Services Code of Conduct.

Further information is available within the Dignity at Work and Study Policy and Research Integrity Guidance and Policies.

Note on microaggression: A ‘microaggression’ is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalised group such as a member of a minority ethnic group.


Note on ethical standards: Including taking account of ethical standards governing particular professions, e.g. in Law, Finance, Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences and Education - applicable to relevant roles across all UofG Job Families. 


Maintain clear, professional, boundaries in interactions with:

  • colleagues
  • our wider community
  • and, in particular, students.


Examples of inappropriate blurring of boundaries

Examples of inappropriate blurring of boundaries in specific contexts include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical touching.
  • Any comments or questions of a sexual nature (whether verbally or electronically).
  • Sexual harassment of a student or colleague.
  • Paying undue special attention to a particular student, or more junior colleague that may amount to grooming-type behaviour or be perceived as such.
  • Inviting an individual student to a private home, room or space without others present, or visiting and entering their home or room alone, including while at conferences, overseas trips, or on placement.
  • Meeting a student (Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught or Research) alone, outside of the workplace, for purposes unrelated to work or study activity; context is particularly salient in such circumstances.
  • Asking a student to perform any personal services when not formally employed or engaged by the University to do so, for example, caring for a child, or to house sit whilst on holiday.
  • Unsolicited and/or unwanted contact of a personal nature with colleagues or students within non-working hours and contexts on personal mobile devices, email accounts or via social media.
  • Any behaviour deemed inappropriate under the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy (particularly, Appendix I), Dignity at Work and Study Policy, the Personal Relationships Policy, Safeguarding Policy, Grievance and Disciplinary Policies and the Code of Unacceptable Behaviour relating to colleagues and students.



Take all appropriate steps to ensure we do not put ourselves in positions that violate professional and personal boundaries.


Always take care at events (both on and off campus) and work-related trips to ensure behaviour remains professional and maintain appropriate boundaries with colleagues, students, and other members of the University community.

Careful consideration about the appropriateness of consuming or supplying alcohol in work contexts should form a central part of taking such care.


Conduct work-related meetings and activities in a professional manner, taking into account safeguarding, accessibility, and health and safety concerns and regulations.

Colleagues must not mandate that students or other employees attend work-, teaching-, or research-related meetings, seminars, or other events at their homes or in external venues, such as pubs or restaurants.

There may be circumstances where there is a reasonable explanation for this. For example, events such as Away Days, Conference dinners or Training Days.


Under no circumstances, abuse our positional power or put ourselves in a position where it could be perceived that we are abusing our power.


Challenge others if we suspect unlawful, unethical, or unprofessional conduct or behaviour. Take action or report it, as appropriate.


Remain open to receiving constructive feedback on our behaviours and their impact on colleagues and students in the spirit of improving self-awareness and effective communication.