Physical contact between an instructor and a student or between two or more students in a university class or activity can be normal pedagogical practice for specific academic disciplines. The following guidelines are presented to facilitate communication which educates students with regard to physical contact in courses and university activities where such contact is considered to be appropriate for the purpose of instruction or individual safety.
1. Let Students know what to expect.
Set forth the type and purpose of any physical contact at the outset of a course or activity. This information can be presented verbally or written into a course syllabus. If a course or activity involves physical contact, students must be informed about the nature and purpose of such contact before they make a commitment to participate. An explanation at the outset will give a student the opportunity to decline participation in courses or activities which result in discomfort for the student because of the physical contact or provide the instructor an opportunity for presenting an alternate method of instruction, if possible.
2. Communicate your intent.
Explain the purpose of any physical contact immediately prior to an occurrence or potential occurrence of such contact. Even though general information regarding types of contact should have been provided at the outset of the course or activity, the purpose of the contact should be explained prior to a specific instance or potential instance of any such contact taking place.
3. Contact should be considered accepted professional and pedagogical practice.
Statements and behaviors indicating that a type of physical contact is appropriate and necessary for the purpose of instruction or safety must be supported as accepted practice by other colleagues or professionals in the same academic discipline or university activity. Exercise professional judgment to avoid abuse of behaviors identified as proper techniques or accepted pedagogical practice.