Tusculum College seeks to graduate students who will succeed in the chosen career field and who will also do good in their communities. To accomplish this goal, Tusculum nurtures students in a civic arts environment that focuses on nurturing good citizenship in students. One of the foundations of good citizenship is personal responsibility, and the College seeks to create an environment in which students learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Personal responsibility is one of the most important lessons that can be learned at college. It may take some trial and error for some of the lessons to become ingrained, but once they do, students learn a valuable fact – no one is responsible for your life but you. Research and, common sense indicate that college success is tied to the effort that students put into their work and how much they are involved with their studies and campus life. It is each individual’s responsibility to put forth that effort and become involved on campus.
Irresponsible students also diminish collective academic and campus life. Within a classroom, the behavior of even a few highly irresponsible students can completely disrupt the atmosphere of a classroom. For an institution, the erosion of an academic ethos can lead to a culture that is stagnant, divisive and anti-intellectual and irresponsible behavior by a few in a residence hall, for example, can negatively affect life in the entire hall.
Showing personal responsibility is important as students move onto their next stage of life. Will employers or graduate schools be tolerant of individuals who do not display sufficient self-control and initiative?
At Tusculum, students are expected to take responsibility for their behavioral choices, respecting rules and policies and developing healthy study, eating and sleeping habits. Students are also expected to maintain academic honesty and be persistent in doing their best in their academic studies. They are to show personal integrity and care and be a positive member of the campus community. Being responsible also involves knowing when to seek assistance with academics or a personal issue when needed.
Each student at Tusculum possesses individual rights and responsibilities in the context of the college community. The College encourages an atmosphere that promotes mutual respect and consideration for the rights of others.
Conduct which embodies these values and further identifies the rights and responsibilities of community membership is provided is described in the Student Handbook. The Code of Student Conduct provides the definitions, operational structure and policies for life on campus. The handbook outlines that Tusculum respects and encourages the development of individual virtues such as integrity, rationality, compassion, self-discipline and personal responsibility. The College also places special emphasis upon certain community ideals such as tolerance, civility and respect for the person and conscience of others.
Additionally, students are expected to participate in the building of a mutually supportive, responsible and accountable community in which persons are expected to refrain from actions that are directly or indirectly injurious to other persons or to the community as a whole. Students are expected to actively participate in the process of deterring injurious conduct, through counseling others, and where other means fail or are inappropriate, reporting cases to the proper authorities.
As a school related to the Presbyterian Church, Tusculum holds additional values such as honesty, the value and worth of each individual, the seriousness and inevitability of human shortcomings and the hope for redemptive behavior. Such a community must depend upon the respect for certain principles and patterns of behavior by its members in order to function effectively. Taking personal responsibility for behavior and actions is one of those principles.
What can a parent do to help further their student’s development of personal responsibility? A parent’s first instinct when their child comes to them with a problem is to fix it. Try to fight that instinct and encourage your student to come up with their own solutions or go to someone on campus to try to help. A number of people are available on campus to help students. As long as they take responsibility for their choices and actions, they will find support every step of the way.