Code of Professional Conduct

The NC State Department of Physics seeks to promote a climate where everyone – students, faculty, and staff – can perform at their highest level. The Department thus fully adopts both the American Physical Society’s Guidelines on Ethics ( and their statement on Promoting an Inclusive Workplace (, and we have adopted language from these statements in writing this code. This means that everyone associated with the Department of Physics can expect a welcoming climate free from any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. All members of the Department are expected to treat each other with professional respect and consideration to create a supportive and productive workplace.

Members of the Physics Department will avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, educational background, or any other characteristic protected by law. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Examples of harassment include but are not limited to inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, and stalking.

As citizens of the global community of science, physicists share responsibility for the welfare of both the Department and field as a whole. The success of the scientific enterprise rests upon two ethical pillars. The first of them is the obligation to tell the truth, which includes avoiding fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. The second is the obligation to treat people well, which prohibits abuse of power, encourages fair and respectful relationships with colleagues, subordinates, and students, and eschews bias, whether implicit or explicit. Professional integrity in the conception, conduct, and communication of physics activities reflects not only on the reputations of individual physicists and their organizations, but also on the image and credibility of the physics profession in the eyes of scientific colleagues, government, and the public. Physicists must adopt high standards of ethical behavior and transmit improving practices with enthusiasm to future generations.

Violations of this Code of Conduct should be reported. Reporting options include your direct supervisor, the Physics Department Head, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, or the NC State Bias Impact Response Team (BIRT, There will be no retaliation for reporting violations of this code of conduct.

Adopted by vote of the faculty on January 22, 2020.