Why is a code of ethics important? Howest defends and guarantees the democratization of education, the securing of equal educational opportunities and social mobility for young people. Howest anticipates and responds to the social and technical evolutions which result from this. ‘Serve - empower – care’ are the core values of Howest, the beacons that guide you to create social added value together with others. Staff members/students are the critical success factor and contribute to the image of Howest. No matter what position or role you have, to those around you, you are part of Howest. Both on campus and in your personal life. A lot of things and agreements are laid down in regulations and policies. Without prejudice to these existing regulations, you sometimes find yourself in situations where you do not immediately know how to act with integrity. The code of ethics can help you with this: It provides you with a number of rules of conduct. It protects you against possible risks and the vulnerability you may be confronted with. It inspires you to find a good basic attitude in all your actions and decisions. Who is it for? The code of ethics applies to everyone associated with Howest: students, staff members, administrators and board members, volunteers, partners in the professional field. Each of us, in our specific capacity, has the moral obligation to act with integrity. What is integrity? Integrity relates to the actions and decisions of every person involved with Howest. It is not a characteristic. Integrity is not about who you are, but about what you do. Acting with integrity in your role involves four things: You perform your job/study well and meticulously. You take your responsibilities and the standards and values of the organization into account. You adequately consider the rights, interests, and desires of all stakeholders in your choices, decisions, and conduct. You are aware of the rules of conduct and apply them. You enter into dialogue with others on this subject. Rules of conduct The rules of conduct will help you in all your actions and decisions. They are a guide for carrying out your tasks, your assignments, and your role within Howest. They protect you against injustice, mistakes or missteps due to ignorance. They ensure that you act consciously and respectfully. Freedom – responsibility – commitment Whoever takes on a commitment within Howest does so freely with full conviction and affiliation and takes responsibility for this. Your ethical conduct also determines the future of Howest. Remain respectful in every encounter When you show respect, you receive more trust. Showing respect for everyone makes cooperation much easier. Cooperation Howest encourages strong and cohesive collective behaviour to achieve all of our goals. Transparency in decisions and procedures In the performance of our duties, we always act in the best interest of Howest. Our agreements are clear and open for discussion. We act correctly when dealing with third parties and we also check whether our independent and neutral position as a member of Howest is not compromised. Dealing with information Carefully dealing with information you have at your disposal contributes to strong cooperation. Freedom of speech Everyone has the right to speak freely. You may express your personal opinion, your point of view, or your criticism of others, but you take personal responsibility for it. However, freedom of speech does not mean that you can just say anything. Use of means and time Always act in a cost-conscious, prudent and ecological way. Setting an example of respectable behaviour Good example makes good followers. It touches the undercurrent in an organization: it stimulates and strengthens trust. Respect for acting with integrity We encourage each other to act with integrity. Open communication and giving each other feedback are part of our culture. It is important to engage in dialogue when moral dilemmas arise. In this way, you can learn from each other. Ethical forum The rules of conduct cannot provide a ready-made answer for all situations. Moreover, circumstances are constantly changing due to new developments: new technologies, new legislation, new trends. So, you have to continue thinking about and be aware of what it means to act with integrity. The ethical forum is the way in which attention for ethical conduct is kept alive within Howest. The code of ethics is not just a document, but an essential element within the culture of Howest. If you have any questions, please contact us via ethischforum [at] howest.be.