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Case 03. Maintaining Competence


Dr. Ted Constantine has suffered a long term illness, which resulted in a disruption of his teaching and research activities. He has been on medication, which at times makes him "spacey." As a teacher, he has become less effective in classroom teaching and non-classroom supervision and advising, and "leans" on students to provide him with emotional support and friendship. His scholarship has been very good in the past, but seems to have slowed recently. He is disruptive in faculty meetings because he arrives late, has trouble "tracking" the discussions, and interjects items and issues that are often irrelevant. 


  1. Does a faculty member who has been physically or mentally ill have an ethical obligation to identify long term consequences for his or her professional performance?
  2. Who should or can be consulted in a situation in which competence is complicated by health issues?
  3. What is the role of the Chair and the annual evaluation of faculty members in identifying areas in which performance is no longer adequate?
  4. How likely is your department to have accurate information from a number of different sources on the long term effectiveness of teaching activities? What strategies does your department employ to bring inadequate performance in the classroom back into compliance with local norms?

Reflect on the above questions and form your own answers before clicking the discussion key to review the commentary provided with this case.