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Professional and Applied Ethics Elizabeth A. Buchanan, Ph.D. Endowed Chair Director, Center for Applied Ethics University of Wisconsin-Stout.

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Presentation on theme: "Professional and Applied Ethics Elizabeth A. Buchanan, Ph.D. Endowed Chair Director, Center for Applied Ethics University of Wisconsin-Stout."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professional and Applied Ethics Elizabeth A. Buchanan, Ph.D. Endowed Chair Director, Center for Applied Ethics University of Wisconsin-Stout

2 CAE  Established in 2009  Result of an anonymous donor concerned with the lack of ethics, ethical conduct, and standards in professions and society  Center’s Mission: The University of Wisconsin-Stout Center for Applied Ethics is dedicated to three broad programming efforts that align with the university's polytechnic mission, namely, curriculum development, professional development, and outreach. These three efforts aim at (1) providing all UW- Stout graduates with a substantive ethics experience integrated into the professional programs and general education coursework and (2) maintaining an active schedule of events promoting ethical discussion and conduct in the university, community and region.

3 What is Ethics?  Ethics comes from the Latin term “ethos” which means customs, habitual conduct, usages and character.  Ethics is related to morals, moral systems, and to human conduct. As a branch of philosophy, it systematically examines and studies such concepts as “right” and “wrong.” Ethics deals with what we should and should not do, what acts are “good” and “wrong.”  It examines such concepts and constructs as responsibility and rights. As the basis for ethics, morality is a set or system of rules, principles, or values (cultural, professional, religious, et cetera) that prescribe behavior and how we evaluate those behaviors

4 What is a Profession?  "Professionals are experts who employ their authority as experts in an unending meditation between individual private interests and collective public interests" (Latham)  A Professional is considered an expert, capable of making informed decisions

5 What is Unique? What Sets Apart a Professional?  Distinction between a practitioner and a professional— part of that distinction comes from ethics. There is a distinction between the personal and the professional that must be reconciled.  “Professionalism includes a commitment to benefiting others beyond what ordinary morality requires” (Davis)

6 Ethics? Law? Policy?  Ethics is distinct from law, religion, policy, in that those provide a structured context to which we look for ‘reasonable’ decisions; the law does not necessarily tell us what is inherently good or bad. It prescribes behavior not for the purpose of morality but for the purpose of satisfying a societal requirement or rule. Rules are dictated by authority, not necessarily morality.

7 Ethics Presupposes:  That people are:  Free  They want to do what is right  And they can make conscious, thoughtful and reflective decisions  Types of Ethical thinking:  Descriptive—reports the “facts” “doesn’t get us too far in resolving ethical dilemmas  Normative—concerned with questions of good/bad, right and wrong; allows us to make moral judgments  Prescriptive: We make assertions based on consideration of morality; concerned with what OUGHT to be the case; such assertions must not be random, it must involve a system of rules and values; prescriptive statements are generalizable

8 Major Ethical Frameworks  Deontological (Kant); Do unto others….  Utilitarian (Mill): The greatest good for the greatest number  Virtue Ethics (Aristotle): Emphasizes the moral character  Feminist Ethics  Buddhist Ethics  Others

9 Ethical Decision Making  Define the situation, recognize your bias, feelings, responsibilities  Identify stakeholders  Look to extant codes of ethics/organizational/institutional policies  Ensure your competence in evaluating/responding to the situation (do you need an outside expert to advise? An internal colleague?)

10 Ethical Decision Making (2)  Consider the boundaries of your actions or inactions  Evaluate alternatives to your decisions  Evaluate who will be affected by your decisions?  Will you be confident in disclosing your decision? Will your public statement/decision match your organizational mission/personality?  Consider the cumulative result of this decision, as it will affect subsequent decisions. Think precedent.

11 Codes of Ethics  Professional Codes of Ethics embody the morality and spirit of a profession.  Some controversy regarding the utility and power of a Code  Are they enforceable? Are they practical? Are they substantive?  Generally define relationships to other stakeholders:  Who would you identify in your professional code?

12 Neukrug (2000) Purposes of Codes of Ethics 1. They protect consumers and further the professional stance of the organizations. 2. They denote the fact that a particular profession has a body of knowledge and skills that it can proclaim and that a set of standards can be established that reflect this knowledge. 3. They are a vehicle for professional identity and provide an indication of the maturity of a profession. 4. They profess a belief that the professional should exhibit certain types of behaviors that reflect the underlying values considered desirable in the professional. 5. They offer the professional a framework in the sometimes difficult ethical and professional decision-making process. 6. They represent, in case of litigation, some measure of defense for professionals who conscientiously practice in accordance with accepted professional codes (pp ).

13 Neukrug (2000) Limitations of Codes of Ethics 1. Some issues cannot be handled in the context of a code. 2. There are some difficulties with enforcing the code, or at least the public may believe that enforcement committees are not tough enough on their peers. 3. There is often no way to bring the interests of the client, patient, or research participant systematically into the code-construction process. 4. There are parallel forums in which the issues in the code may be addressed, with the results sometimes at odds with the findings of the code (for example, in the courts). 5. There are possible conflicts associated with codes: between two codes, between the practitioner's values and code requirements, between the code and ordinary morality, between the code and institutional practice, and between requirements within a single code. 6. There is a limited range of topics covered in the code. Because a code approach is usually reactive to issues already developed elsewhere, the consensus requirement prevents the code from addressing new issues and problems on the cutting edge.

14 Codes of Ethics Clearinghouse  Ethics

15 Pedagogical Strategies  Two Minute Challenge  Think/Pair/Share  Role Playing  Journaling  Provide parameters for reflection  Writing Ethics Statements  Case Studies  Ensure you use a range of cases, not just “extremes” or hot button issues

16 Writing an Ethics Statement  What is your world view? Your philosophical stance in general?  Views on nature of humanity, reality, meaning  What are your professional practice values?  Teaching/learning methods/theories  Relationship to others   Hiemstra, R. (1988). Translating personal values and philosophy into practical action. In R. G. Brockett (Ed.), Ethical issues in adult education. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

17 Why Write an Ethics Statement? 1. A philosophy promotes an understanding of human relationships 2. A philosophy sensitizes you to the various needs associated with positive human interactions 3. A philosophy provides a framework for distinguishing, separating, and understanding personal values 4. A philosophy promotes flexibility and consistency in working with adult learners (Hiemstra, 1988)

18 Describe Your Disciplinary Values

19 Disciplinary Ideals


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