The Curricular Integration of Ethics: Theory and Practice

The Curricular Integration of Ethics: Theory and Practice

The Curricular Integration of Ethics: Theory and Practice

The Curricular Integration of Ethics: Theory and Practice


The author provides philosophical and pedagogical background to help faculty and academic administrators gain a better understanding of how to integrate ethics into curricula. He suggests that the most appropriate way is through instructor-guided discussion of ethical issues relevant to course objectives. This book demonstrates how providing ethical discussions of relevant ethical issues is an integral part of learning the course materials in ways that help students increase their critical ability to understand and apply course concepts to life. Many examples of ethics cases are provided.


The purpose of this book is to provide a theoretical framework for the curricular integration of ethics. This work also will provide examples of how the faculty can integrate ethics in a discipline appropriate way across the curriculum. I successfully directed a three-year program, financially supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) at the Community College of Aurora (CCA). Over the course of three years, approximately eighty-five faculty members integrated ethics in a discipline-appropriate way into selected courses. These faculty members attended a seminar in which they studied ethical theory and ways to infuse the subject into their courses. College students have overwhelmingly found that the project has increased their capacity for ethical understanding and analysis. They believe that they have an improved understanding of interdisciplinary ethical problems, of the relevance of ethics to their academic subjects, and find courses in which ethical issues are raised more interesting. Faculty participants in the ethics project agree with these student perceptions.

I have become aware of a number of ethics-across-the-curriculum projects at colleges and universities across the country. I believe the time is ripe for a book that attempts to draw upon the experiences of these projects and provide curriculum and instructional material for those who are new to this endeavor. Institutional support is essential for the success of such projects. Indeed, many faculty members express a desire to raise ethical issues in their courses. However, they are reluctant to do so because of concerns about diluting the curriculum and vulnerability to student complaints about "teaching values." As this book will document, integrating ethics in a discipline-appropriate way shields ethics discussion from these criticisms. Moreover, I believe this book will convince the reluctant administrator that the curricular integration of ethics has considerable academic value.


Widespread concern exists about the moral slippage of our society. Former Harvard University President,Derek Bok (1988, 9), observed: "Surveys reveal a wide belief that ethical standards in the society have been declining and suggest that trust in the integrity of those who guide our major institutions has sunk to disturbingly low levels." Wall Street scandals, the S & L failures, the Iran-Contra affair, to name but a few . . .

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