Standards of Behavioral Integrity

SIT’s Standards of Behavioral Integrity provide a foundation for students of expected behavior as they develop as learners, researchers, practitioners, and members of a global community. We define behavioral integrity as “the perception that another person or group lives by their word, delivers on promises, and enacts the same values they espouse”. We know empirically that linking words and deeds help foster positive and harmonious learning environments. Through the following Standards, SIT seeks to foster a living and learning environment that encourages open, productive, and ethical engagement.

Community Relations: SIT programs are rich in learning opportunities because of their strong relationships with a diverse and inclusive range of organizations, experts from all walks of life, homestay families, health and security professionals, etc. Students are expected to observe, learn, and practice appropriate and respectful communication within their program community, the community at large, and among online and social media communities–for their own benefit, SIT’s benefit, and for the benefit of the future of their in-country program. Adherence to local laws is fundamental to each student’s contribution to community relations. 

SIT provides some of its courses in an online environment. Participants are expected to conduct themselves in the same manner as if they were taking the class in-person. To that end, SIT expects participants engaged in online learning environments to embrace the following perspectives:

  • Be respectful of diversity, others’ time, opinions, identities, cultures, and privacy;
  • Be professional in your use of language, grammar, clothing and screen backgrounds;
  • Be polite, mindful of tone, not take too much virtual space, and listen to others.

Homestay Family Relations:  The institution that gave rise to SIT in 1932, The Experiment in International Living, instituted homestays as a core component of experiential learning. Today, the homestay experience remains fundamental to SIT’s identity and program design. Students consistently report that their homestay experience is an important and life-changing experience. Students are responsible for commencing the homestay experience with an open mind and heart so that both the joys and challenges of homestay living are an integrated part of the learning and growing process. Sensitive, respectful, and proactive communication with homestay families is a core responsibility of each student, and SIT staff and faculty stand ready to support and assist students in this regard.

Peer Relations: SIT fosters an environment of mutual respect among all program participants. Students are to contribute to an environment of mutual understanding rooted in the respect of difference and the celebration of pluralism. It is incumbent upon each student to try to work out any disagreements with their peers. If a student cannot satisfactorily resolve an issue with a peer, they are urged to approach the program staff to assist with resolving the disagreement.

Program Staff and Faculty Relations: Student, staff, and faculty relations, when grounded in our core values, are productive and mutually beneficial. SIT staff, faculty and administrators are dedicated to students’ holistic experiential learning throughout the program. Staff and faculty have the responsibility to provide program expectations that range from academic standards to safety and security protocols. Students are responsible for fair-minded conduct and goodwill when working with program staff and faculty, including but not limited to: reading the student handbook; reviewing course materials; adhering to program norms and policies; asking questions; seeking help when needed; and following established protocols in the event of an emergency. 

Stewardship of Resources: Stewardship of resources is fundamental to achieving sustainability in all aspects of our lives and the lives of others. For SIT, resources are not just for human use but for the common sustenance of our ecological systems. Therefore, the expectation of student stewardship of resources includes but is not limited to: the respect and care for program facilities; homestay family belongings; learning materials; food and water; and to serve as an example of appropriate and fair use of all resources that current and future students, staff, faculty and community members might enjoy.

The entire SIT community shares the responsibility for sustaining a culture of behavioral integrity. Specific roles and responsibilities include:

  • Students are responsible for understanding and upholding these
    standards of behavioral integrity and should seek assistance and clarification from program staff or faculty for questions or concerns. Part of upholding the standards includes adhering to the Code of Student Conduct.
  • Faculty are responsible for establishing a climate that encourages honesty and enhances learning. Faculty play a vital role in establishing a learning environment in which practicing our core values is understood and experienced as a common goal. At a minimum, faculty should integrate the standards of behavioral integrity throughout the program, explain their expectations to students, and respond to their questions. By modeling the standards in their own endeavors, Faculty teach and mentor by example. Faculty are required to address violations in a timely and sensitive manner in accordance with the ascribed procedures. 
  • Staff and Administrators contribute to fostering a culture of behavioral integrity at an institutional level. They share the responsibility with faculty to ensure that the policy and procedures for addressing behavioral integrity violations, as articulated in the Code of Student Conduct, are clear, fair, and effective. They further assist with communication, adjudication, and recordkeeping.