Core Objective 12: Ethics

The Silver Core Curriculum took effect in the Fall 2016 semester


  • Silver Vein III: Advanced Areas of Focused Inquiry
  • Brief Description of Learning Objective: Students will demonstrate understanding of the ethical principles in general or in application of specialized knowledge, results of research, creative expression, or design processes. Students will demonstrate an ability to recognize, articulate, and apply ethical principles in various academic, professional, social, or personal contexts.

Standards or Requirements for Verification:

Courses that satisfy this objective should examine how individuals or societies may determine right from wrong in historical, contemporary, professional, and/or comparative contexts. They should enable students to 1) identify an ethical issue and analyze that issue in relationship to the specific topic of study or discipline; 2) identify the specific entities being affected by the ethical dilemma; and 3) articulate why a specific course of action is ethically defensible. Where appropriate, majors are encouraged to develop this objective within their courses, and if possible to integrate this objective into the Core Capstone course.

This Core Objective will typically be satisfied with a single course that devotes at least 1 credit of student effort (e.g., 15 hours of instruction) to this objective, or that has prerequisite courses that cumulatively devote sufficient attention to the objective.

Courses or sequences satisfying this Core Objective should:

  1. Include the Core Objective, together with its brief description, on the course syllabus in its original form.
  2. Include 1 or more student learning outcomes addressing this Core Objective on the course syllabus, along with other student learning outcomes appropriate to the course.
  3. Identify in the course syllabus the teaching techniques and student experiences that will help students acquire the competencies described in the Core Objective.
  4. Assess whether students have acquired the competency described in the student learning outcomes and use methods for collecting and analyzing data that can be reported to the Core Curriculum Board.

Capstone courses that integrate CO12 should include among their student learning outcomes some that specify, advance, or broaden this Core Objective.

Some examples of approved student learning outcomes and assessment methods are listed later in this document. Faculty may incorporate 1 or more of the examples from this list or propose their own student learning outcomes and methods of assessing the objective.


Suggested Student Learning Outcomes & Assessment Methods

Ethics

Students will demonstrate understanding of the ethical principles in general or in application of specialized knowledge, results of research, creative expression, or design processes.

Student Learning Outcomes

Courses that satisfy CO12 and Capstones that integrate it may include such SLOs as the following, as appropriate for the level and intent of the course:

Students will be able to:

  • identify and analyze an ethical issue in the subject matter under investigation or in a relevant field
  • identify the multiple ethical interests at stake in a real-world situation or practice
  • articulate what makes a particular course of action ethically defensible
  • assess their own ethical values and the social context of problems
  • identify ethical concerns in research and intellectual contexts, including academic integrity, use and citation of sources, the objective presentation of data, and the treatment of human subjects
  • demonstrate knowledge of ethical values in non-classroom activities, such as service learning, internships, and field work
  • integrate, synthesize, and apply knowledge of ethical dilemmas and resolutions in academic settings, including focused and interdisciplinary research

Direct Assessment Methods:

All courses that are verified as satisfying a Core Objective will be assessed on a regular basis to determine how well students are learning the knowledge and skills described in the objective. Instructors are expected to develop ways of directly measuring student learning (through evaluating the work students produce in the course) and to report these measurements to the Core Board upon request.

Courses satisfying CO 12 must also include assessment methods and plans. The following are suggestions for assignments that may generate measurable data for assessment, along with some potential measurement tools:

  • shared (standard, program-wide) exam questions that require demonstration of knowledge of ethical values and principles (e.g., identify and explain what makes an issue an ethical issue, define particular ethical principles and values (multiple-choice questions of this kind might be subjected to item analysis; short written responses might be scored by programmatic raters using a rubric keyed to CO12 SLOs)
  • case study writing assignments that require students to identify and explain ethical dilemmas, as well as all entities that have ethical claims or interests in the dilemma (arguments or essays thus generated could be collected and scored against a rubric articulating features for 1 or more CO12 SLOs)
  • case study writing assignments that encourage students to articulate an ethical course of action for a specific decision-maker, and to defend that recommendation using ethical principles and values (arguments thus generated could be collected and scored against a rubric articulating features for 1 or more CO12 SLOs)
  • oral presentations that critically discuss ethical principles as these are applied in conduct of research (e.g., protecting human subjects, humane treatment of animals) or in professional practice (e.g., law, business, medicine) (in the context of a live or recorded student performance, these critical analyses might be assessed by 2 or more expert raters using rubrics keyed to the CO12 SLOs).