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ERIC Number: EJ803580
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0560
Ethics across the Curriculum
Matchett, Nancy J.
New Directions for Higher Education, n142 p25-38 Sum 2008
All colleges teach ethics across their undergraduate curricula, yet relatively few institutions do so deliberately. That is, few colleges make explicit attempts to coordinate or integrate the various ethical lessons their students might be learning. This does not mean that most colleges are bad for students' ethical development; research shows that total years of formal education is a far more powerful predictor of moral judgment development than any other variable, and most of the knowledge and skills that students acquire during their undergraduate years are undoubtedly good for their character in some broad sense. Still, the failure to devote sustained attention to precisely what ethical messages students are receiving and to how those messages are being conveyed has a number of unintended consequences, at least some of which are worrisome from an ethical point of view. In addition to highlighting the potentially worrisome features of an uncoordinated approach, this chapter identifies a basic set of ethics learning outcomes that can be intentionally pursued without (1) threatening the academic freedom of individual faculty members or (2) suggesting that all campuses should adopt a monolithic, one-size-fits-all model. This is possible, because the most important ethical outcomes are "deliberative" in character; that is, they have more to do with cultivating students' capacity to deliberate meaningfully and responsibly about ethics than with teaching a single decision procedure or recommending a particular set of values, principles, or norms. These same deliberative outcomes can be used to offer professional development opportunities to faculty and staff, and even to ensure that the decisions made by campus administrators model the deliberative approach to ethics that the undergraduate curriculum is designed to facilitate. Hence, institutions can use this approach to develop "ethics across the curriculum" (EAC) programs that truly integrate the entire campus community. (Contains 5 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A