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Call to Action


In high school and/or college, a core curriculum develops critical thinking, critical reading, effective writing and oral communication skills. One stated purpose of the core curriculum is for students to develop principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, including the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making. This is the impetus for these modules, as we want to encourage the integration of ethics and ethical concepts as a high-priority theme for the community.

To achieve this purpose, we propose including discussions about ethics of one or two topics in each core course. This will encourage students to develop a value system that enables them to recognize how they affect others, to consider the consequences of their acts, and to adopt a mature set of goals.

This includes, but is not limited to, content discussing:

• Personal benefit, or the extent to which being selfish may not lead to happiness, and how forming trusting friendships may lead to greater happiness.

• Social benefit, or the extent that an action produces beneficial consequences for society.

• Benevolence, or recognizing others as having same rights that you think you deserve, or helping those in need.

• Social contracts, or what we owe to each other and to society as citizens, and as members of a campus setting.

• Doing no harm, or not hurting, deceiving, or violating others in any context.

• Justice, or acknowledging a person’s right to due process and fair compensation for harm done, and a common expectation that there be fair distribution of benefits among all members of a society, or all classes of a society.

• Human Rights, or acknowledging a person’s rights to life, information, privacy, free expression, food and housing, and health and safety.

• Sustainability, or to act to preserve the resources available to you for future generations.

• Ethics and law, or their differences and how the two fields influence and support each other.

• Academic and professional ethics, or the values needed to be successful in both.

This list is a compendium of ideas from a series of conversations with a variety of educators: university professors, college professors, private high school teachers, public high school teachers, school counselors, a high school tutor, and graduate/undergraduate students. All were asked to gauge where they saw the needs of high school and college students from their varied perspectives.