Willamette MBA students are expected to conduct themselves with academic integrity, ethical conduct, and professionalism in all aspects of their MBA education and in all interactions with students, faculty, staff, clients, and guests of the Atkinson School and Willamette University.

Academic and professional behavior is governed by the Atkinson School Honor Code, Willamette University Student Rights & Responsibilities, Willamette University Standards of Conduct and Willamette University Selected Policies and applicable laws and regulations. The information on this page is your guide to the Atkinson School's expectations of student behavior.

In the absence of a specific notation of expectations and policy, the Honor Code standards of professionalism and excellence are the default Atkinson School policy:

  • To not seek an unfair advantage over other members, including but not limited to giving or receiving unauthorized aid during completion of academic and professional requirements;
  • To honestly represent one’s self and facts at all times;
  • To respect the personal and property rights of all members of the Atkinson community; and
  • Uphold the Honor Code by fully cooperating with and protecting the confidentiality of the proceedings.

Expectations of Academic Honesty

Be Proactive, Ask Questions, Use Your Resources

  • Graduate school is difficult and everyone needs help at some time. Lack of sleep, illness, discouragement, family and personal issues, and/or feeling stressed will happen to everyone. The Atkinson School and Willamette University have many people and services to help you manage the transitions you will experience during your MBA program. People and resources available to help you include: Atkinson school faculty, administrators and staff; mentors, peer career advisors and PACE teaching assistants; the Atkinson tutoring program; the health and counseling services of the Bishop Wellness Center; the Office of Chaplains, Sparks Center fitness classes and activities; the services of the International Education Office, and others.

Never Cheat, Plagiarize, Use Unauthorized Academic Materials, or Misrepresent the Facts

  • Think Before You Act -- it is never necessary to violate expectations of academic honesty and integrity. If you are tempted to violate expectations of academic honesty remember you always have other choices. In all cases, it is better to do your own work and present yourself honestly - even if you get a lower grade on a test or assignment - than to experience the personal, academic and professional consequences associated with violating the Honor Code. Put yourself in a good position for your development and growth and don’t let short term issues like lack of sleep, feeling panicked about your course work, etc. cloud your thinking.

Understand the Allowable Degree of Collaboration for Each Assignment

  • Be sure you understand the level of collaboration allowed for each deliverable, exam and project. The allowable level of collaboration will vary with each faculty member, course and assignment. If you have a question or do not understand the level of collaboration allowed on a given assignment, check the syllabus or ask the professor for clarification.
  • In general (unless otherwise presented by the faculty member, syllabus or assignment), you may discuss ideas with each other as a means of maximizing learning opportunities and understanding the issues involved before you prepare your individual work product for submission. However, you should complete your assignment on your own, as an individual with your own analysis, recommendations, solutions, information etc.  Your written or presentation work product must be your own work and not that of others.
  • In the absence of information about the allowable degree of collaboration, always assume the assignment or work product is to be done individually and on your own.

Cite Your Sources

  • Atkinson students are required to submit only their original work, or the properly cited work of others. Whenever using the ideas, words, or work of another person, you must acknowledge the source. In written work, proper acknowledgment includes a comment in the text, a footnote, or both, and includes listing the source in the bibliography. In oral presentations, an explicit statement about the work's source is required.

Prioritize Learning, Honesty and Integrity

  • Learning, honesty and integrity matter. If a person can't trust your choices or the decisions you make, your grades and your degree won't matter.

Expectations of Professional Behavior

Learn and Grow

  • Choose behaviors that represent your best professional self.
  • Accept accountability for your professional and personal actions.
  • Recognize and learn from your mistakes.
  • Maintain professional behavior under stress.
  • Present your "most professional self" in all interactions.
  • Take initiative, and meet your commitments and responsibilities.
  • Seek help when you need assistance.

Attend and Participate in Classes

  • Attend all classes and learning activities.
  • Withdraw from a course if you cannot meet the attendance requirements.
  • Participate in class and in class discussions. It is your job.
  • Complete assignments (readings, case studies, etc.) prior to the class session.
  • Arrive for class on time, return from class breaks on time, and remain for the duration of the class.
  • Notify the professor before the class begins if you cannot attend.
  • Notify the professor before class begins if you must arrive late or leave early.
  • Respect the rights of other students to fully participate in the class.
  • Students who miss a class are responsible for all material covered in the missed class.
  • Students who miss a class may be asked by the professor to complete additional work.

Communicate With Courtesy and Respect

  • Courteous and respectful communication is expected in all school activities: classes, team meetings, student organizations, events, guest speakers, career treks, email, voice mail, texting, and social media.
  • Show professional courtesy and personal respect to others. Actively participating with courtesy and respect in spirited interactions is part of a professional learning experience. Threats, harassment, name-calling, and use of profanity are not acceptable professional communication behaviors and are violations of the Atkinson School and Willamette University codes of conduct.
  • Read your @willamette.edu email and respond to messages promptly. The Atkinson School and the University use email as a primary communication source for official information. Students are assumed to have knowledge of the content of official emails and announcements.
  • Compose emails with care. Be sure your emails communicate what you want to say, and show good professional behavior and judgment before you push "send."
  • Be professional and proactive when you have concerns. The accepted process for communicating at the Atkinson School is as follows. First, talk to the student, faculty or staff member involved in the concern. If this does not resolve the concern, talk to Sr. Associate Dean, Alex Subert. 

Contribute to Group and Team Process
Group and team projects are essential components of the Atkinson School experience and directly contribute to the development of a student's interpersonal and soft skills including: communication, listening, teamwork, leadership, coaching and mentoring, conflict management, time management, etc. Each member of a group or team is expected to positively contribute to the effective and successful functioning of the team. Each member is also expected to take an active role in helping to resolve disagreements and dysfunction that may negatively influence the team’s ability to succeed.

  • Clearly communicate team expectations, roles, responsibilities and quality of work expected.
  • Actively participate in group and team projects.
  • Each member of a team is responsible for enhancing the professional development and effectiveness of the team, the value provided to the client or course, and the reputation of the Atkinson School and Willamette University.
  • Do your part and meet the standards and expectations of the team.
  • Don't free-ride. Free-riding (not dedicating the time or quality of effort expected of all members of a team) is not acceptable.  Free-riding disrupts the value of the educational experience for the group, and can be processed as a breach of academic or professional behavior through the Honor Code.
  • Respect other points of view and talents.
  • Encourage all members of the team to share their ideas and concerns, then listen.
  • Focus on opportunities for action to solve problems rather than complaining.
  • Commit to influencing positive change. View every person as "part of the solution."
  • Develop a team culture of valuing and learning from one another ... rather than a culture that is judgmental about differences in opinions or ideas.

Represent Yourself and the Atkinson School Professionally at Company Presentations, Speakers, Networking Opportunities and Events

  • MBA students have many opportunities to interact with alumni, employers, and other stakeholders. In fact, the Willamette and Atkinson School network is one of the most valuable lifelong resources you can have. You represent yourself and the school in everything you do. Conduct yourself in a professional manner in all circumstances.
  • Professional guests who donate their time to speak and meet with students expect and deserve your full attention and respect. In all interactions with our guests, be sure to ask questions and communicate in a professional manner. Close your laptop (unless otherwise directed by the speaker), turn your cell phone off, refrain from participating in side-conversations, be on time, dress appropriately, bring your business cards, and be prepared to take notes with paper/pen and pencil.
  • Keep your commitment to attend events for which you submitted an RSVP to attend. Companies and speakers are planning on your attendance. Failure to meet your commitments hurts your professional reputation, the reputation of Atkinson students in general, and the reputation of the School and University.
  • If you have questions about how to communicate with or respond to an alum or member of the business community contact the Career Management staff or your peer career advisor.

Use Electronic Devices Appropriately

  • Use laptops and similar electronic devices in class only when they are contributing to the class learning experience. Do not use your device for email, texting, social media websites, video gaming, web browsing, reading materials not related to class, or any other activity that distracts you, other students or faculty during class.
  • Turn your cell phones "off" when in class, meetings, presentations or interviews.

Dress Appropriately

  • The general daily atmosphere of the Atkinson School is casual. However, there are many events on-campus and off-campus for which business or business casual attire should be worn.
  • Students should wear business or business casual attire for events such as company site visits, meetings of professional organizations, guest speakers, mentor receptions, final class presentations, interviews, etc. As a general rule, business casual attire is required for all Career Management events unless otherwise specified. Students are encouraged to obtain information about appropriate attire prior to attending any event. General guidelines for levels of professional dress:
    • Business Formal: Business attire typically means a jacket for both men and women. A tie for men, button down shirt, matching slacks and dress shoes. For women, business attire would typically mean a skirt or slacks, jacket, button down shirt or shell, nylons and dress shoes.
    • Business Casual: Business casual typically means men and women can leave the jacket, tie and nylons at home. Men can wear polo or golf shirts and slacks. Women can wear slacks or skirt and a professional looking shirt. Business casual does not include sweat suits, jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes or flip-flops.

Use Social Networking Sites Effectively

  • Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn can be very helpful or very detrimental to your reputation and professional opportunities. Always represent yourself in a professional manner to be sure that your online presence helps you reach your personal and professional goals.
  • As an MBA student you are investing significant energy, time and money in your future. Think twice about the words and pictures you choose to communicate yourself to the world. Recognize that many employers research applicants online and what they find influences their perception of your personal and professional judgment... which in turn influences their hiring decisions.


  • Alcohol may not be served or consumed in Willamette University buildings unless the event has been approved for alcohol through the formal University approval process. If an event has been approved for alcohol, a third party vendor will be present to distribute the alcohol and a security officer will be present.
  • Alcohol may not be served or consumed in any outdoor areas of the campus during the academic year unless at an event that has been approved for alcohol through the formal University approval process.
  • Individuals not of legal drinking age (not yet 21 years old) are not permitted to consume, or be under the influence of alcohol.
  • Willamette University alcohol policy is a campus wide policy. Failure to observe University policies may subject the individual(s) or group(s) to sanctions outlined in Willamette University Student Rights & Responsibilities - Standards of Conduct.
Willamette University

Early Career and Career Change MBA

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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