Comparative Perspective about University Professors and Professional Ethics. Research Projects in Spain and Mexico
Research Institute about the University and Education National Autonomous University of Mexico Mexico Distrito Federal, Mexico
Division Academica de Educacion y Artes Universidad Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco Villahermosa, Mexico
The Spanish research project was developed by Dr. Juan Escámez, Dr. Rafaela García López and Dr. Gonzalo Jover in three universities: Jaime I, Valencia and Complutense of Madrid. The sample was of 250 professors. The second project is from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), coordinated by Dr. Anita Hirsch, with a sample of 719 professors.
In both countries the principal objective was to find out the attitudes of professors towards the ethical education in the university. In both the relevance of the professors is central, especially for promoting the value of responsibility in professional work.
The principal methodological strategy was the construction and application of an attitude scale. The instrument is not the same in both projects, but part of it used the same issues. We compared some of the results and conclusions.
In UNAM, the questionnaire also required the answer to open questions. One of them is if the professors considered important to include a compulsory subject about professional ethics in all the university careers. Even if the majority (75%) indicated that all the educational institutions should include this type of subjects, some of them indicated that it is more the obligation of the institution and not especially of the academics. In Spain 74% considered that the institution should attend the training about professional ethics. The professors in the sample did not feel the necessity to address it directly.
Another dimension in both projects is about the classification of the answers in relation to the scientific field of the professors. In both countries the Health Sciences were the highest in promoting the ethical training of students and the lowest was from the academics in Humanities and Arts. The percentages from the professors in Physics were also low in Spain and Mexico and Social Sciences was high in both.
We consider that the comparative perspective between the two countries is very interesting and useful and that the differences and similarities in the information gathered can become an important part in the design of a strategy about ethical formation for university students.