PULSE Code of Conduct


Approved by All Fellows May 13, 2020

As a non-profit charitable organization, PULSE is committed to conducting its activities in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and ethics, and operating within the tenets of Sociocracy.  

High ethical standards are not only important to maintaining the public trust in PULSE as an organization; they are also critical to the execution of PULSE’s mission, aims, and values. Just as integrity and ethical conduct are woven into the fabric of science and the search for knowledge, they are essential to ensuring that PULSE’s operational activities properly support its programs in the transformation of science education and thus demonstrate respect for the broader community in higher education.  Integrity and ethical conduct are at the heart of fulfilling the PULSE mission to provide academic departments with resources and training that promote alignment of undergraduate life sciences programs with best educational practices, including those recommended in the Vision & Change Report (2011).  

Accordingly, it is incumbent upon every PULSE officer, fellow, participant, or contractor, when working with, managing, representing, or advising PULSE, to conduct his or her activities in accordance with all applicable PULSE standards of conduct.  PULSE expects all individuals to:

  • Act in an honest and ethical manner;
  • Comply with all applicable laws and regulations; and
  • Take all practicable steps to identify and avoid or manage, through disclosure, recusal, or other appropriate means, all real or apparent conflicts of interest.

PULSE Fellows, contractors, or program participants with questions about the PULSE policies relating to standards of conduct should speak with representatives of the Fellows Council.

Workplace and PULSE Event Behavior 

Purpose:  To establish the standards of behavior expected from all PULSE-affiliated personnel in the PULSE workplace.   

Definition of “PULSE Workplace”:  This includes all in-person and virtual meetings and events including, but not limited to, Circle meetings, Ambassador Workshops, Recognition Visits, Departmental Reviews, and Regional Workshops.  It also includes all activities carried out on behalf of PULSE by contractors in fulfilling duties related to their business relationship with PULSE.

Definition of “PULSE-Affiliated Personnel”:  PULSE Fellows, PULSE leaders, PULSE contractors, external vendors, PULSE conference attendees, PULSEcommunity.org members, and other individuals engaged with the PULSE Organization.

Policy:  Expected Behavior

We expect and require all PULSE-affiliated personnel to follow these principles:

  • PULSE fosters a work environment in which all individuals in the PULSE workplace are treated with decency and respect. 
  • Be actively engaged in PULSE activities with a positive attitude and contribute as appropriate, and welcome and make space for individuals with diverse identities and perspectives.
  • Communicate in a manner that is conducive to effective working relationships.
  • Carry out all assigned responsibilities to the best of their abilities and in accordance with PULSE policies.
  • Comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations. 

Policy:  Unacceptable Behavior

PULSE expects all individuals to behave in a manner that is inclusive and leads to a positive work environment for everyone.  To maintain an inclusive and positive work environment, individuals:

  • Do not use abusive language, bully, intimidate, or otherwise interfere with the work performance of fellow PULSE-affiliated personnel.
  • Do not make physically threatening remarks (written or oral). 
  • Do not make remarks or engage in behavior that the recipient may consider sexually inappropriate (written or oral).  This includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Further, PULSE members and affiliates will not make offensive or insulting remarks about a person’s sex / sexuality / gender identity, condescending or paternalistic remarks, sexual comments, stories, or jokes, display sexually explicit or suggestive materials, sexually suggestive gestures, make unwlecome physical contact, or use theats or reward to solicit sexual favors.  
  • Do not engage in aggressive or hostile acts such as shouting, assaulting, aggressively using profanity, throwing objects at another person, fighting, or intentionally damaging the property of any other PULSE-affiliated personnel.
  • Do not engage in behavior that could create a reasonable fear of injury, such as stalking.
  • Do not knowingly make false representations about their work or their credentials, or about other PULSE-affiliated personnel in the workplace.

Policy:  Prohibition against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

It is PULSE policy to maintain a work environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and/or coercion.  PULSE strictly prohibits and does not tolerate discrimination or harassment against PULSE-affiliated personnel or any other covered persons because of race, ethnicity, color, religion (including religious dress and grooming), sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, genetic status or characteristics, marital status, military and veteran status, and/or any other characteristic, classification, or status protected under applicable federal, state or local law (each, a “protected characteristic”). 

“Harassment” under this policy is unwelcome verbal or physical behavior which is directed at a person based on a protected characteristic, when: (1) these behaviors are sufficiently severe and/or pervasive to have the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s working conditions by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment (“hostile work environment”); or (2) when submission to such behavior is explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s status or evaluation or advancement.  PULSE explicitly prohibits sexual harassment, any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated.  

In addition, PULSE strictly prohibits and does not tolerate any form of reprisal or retaliation for good faith reporting of incidents that are believed to constitute discrimination or harassment based on a protected characteristic or violation of applicable anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws, pursuing any such complaint, participating in the investigation or resolution of such a complaint, or testifying or assisting in any proceeding relating to such a complaint. Retaliation against individuals who complain of discrimination or harassment based on a protected characteristic, who participate in investigation or resolution of such a complaint, or who testify or assist in any proceeding under the law is unlawful. 


Policy:  Procedures for Dealing with Violations of Acceptable Behavior or Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policies.  Any violations of these policies by PULSE-affiliated personnel are grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of association with the organization, removal from PULSE premises, or termination of any existing contractual relationship.

PULSE-affiliated personnel who believe they have been subjected to violations of these policies or of any applicable law, or who otherwise observe or become aware of perceived violations directed towards other PULSE-affiliated personnel, are strongly encouraged to report such concerns and PULSE will investigate a reported incident of misconduct through the procedures outlined below.  Confidentiality will be maintained to the fullest extent possible during all investigation and deliberation stages of these procedures.

  1. Individuals should report an incident of misconduct to any member of the PULSE Fellows Council.  This report can be by any communication medium the individual is comfortable using.
  2. The recipient of the harassment complaint should immediately contact the PULSE Fellows Council to report the incident.  A representative of the Fellows Council will contact the PULSE Non-Profit Insurance agency to provide them a “Notice of Potential Claim” and seek guidance regarding resources and expertise, and potentially helping PULSE with obtaining the advice of legal counsel or helping PULSE identify a human resource firm experienced with conducting investigations of this nature. (See note 1 below)
  3. During the investigation phase, the Fellows Council may impose temporary sanctions on PULSE-affiliated personnel as deemed appropriate in the context of the alleged policy violation.
  4. At the end of the investigation, the Fellows Council will produce a formal written report outlining all findings arising from their investigation and any appropriate sanctions or actions that arise from the events related to the incident of misconduct that will be kept in a confidential personnel folder. Appropriate sanctions or actions may include any of the following:
    1. Termination of association with the PULSE organization
    2. Formal report of the incident to legal authorities with jurisdiction 
    3. Sanctions against PULSE-affiliated personnel including training requirements, suspension, or restitution
    4. Termination of an existing contractual relationship

If an incident requires immediate attention, the responsibility to deal with the situation lies with the individual with the highest PULSE leadership role present at the given time. If this role is not evident at a particular moment, then any PULSE Fellow is authorized to intervene.  These PULSE Fellows may take appropriate actions, including having individuals removed from a PULSE workplace.  This person is also responsible for filing a post-incident report to the PULSE Fellows Council to report the incident on behalf of the party(ies) involved.  


Note 1:  See this site for information about Non-profits and advice on how to handle sexual harassment claims:  https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/sexual-harassment-the-nonprofit-workplace