The academic as fiduciary: More than a metaphor
Mackinnon, K. (2007). The academic as fiduciary: More than a metaphor. Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, 1, 115-144.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/778
There is increasing interest in the role of the university teacher, both from a pedagogic point of view and from a legal one. The first part of this article looks at various pedagogic models or metaphors of the relationship between the academic and the student. It concludes that thinking of the relationship as a “fiduciary” one is a useful metaphor, drawn from the law. The main part of the article returns to the legal (or equitable) origins of that concept. Building on the case law and commentary from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, the article explores what would be required to bring the obligations of the academic to students within the legal/equitable definition of fiduciary obligations owed by academics to their students. The conclusion is that even if we do not want to force the extension of enforceable fiduciary obligations to encompass the academic-student relationship, the adoption of those obligations by academics should be part of “best practice”.
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