HSU and Ethics Education—A Brief
The mission statement of Hardin-Simmons University “is to be
a community dedicated to providing excellence in education enlightened by
Christian faith and values.From its
beginnings the university has been determined to deliver a quality education. To
that end, HSU early on began to align itself with accrediting organizations
whose function was to assist in maintaining degrees, programs, faculty,
facilities, and institutional organization at a high level.
A primary accrediting organization for HSU is the Southern
Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS).SACS is one of the regional accrediting agencies in the United States.
A standard which SACS calls for address is called the
Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Hardin-Simmons submitted to SACS and is nearing
completion of a QEP called “Ethical Decision-Making:Student Education within the Professional and
Preprofessional Majors.” For the complete Quality Enhancement Plan document
approved by SACS for implementation at HSU see QEP Report.
Description and Focus of the Plan
decision making is an implicit part of much of the university's curricular
focus as a private, Christian university, we recognize that ethics should be
more explicitly integrated into our undergraduate professional and
pre-professional programs. The QEP engages every aspect of our campus
community, including the training and collaboration of faculty members in the
development of ethics curricula across the campus, the allocation of budgets
for new courses and related activities, and the reinforcement and application
of ethical decision-making education through student life activities.
Rationale for the Plan
As a faith-based
institution of higher learning, ethical and moral education is central to our
university mission; therefore, focusing our QEP in enhancing and expanding such
training in our curriculum and campus activities is appropriate. Further, given
the recent, well-publicized failures of some of our society's leaders to make
appropriate ethical decisions, our QEP is timely, even critical, for the
education of the next generation of our nation's leaders. Consequently, we are
developing or enhancing ethical decision-making content in all of our
undergraduate professional and pre-professional programs. The university is
also developing a minor in ethical studies, available to all majors. The minor is
coordinated by the Logsdon School of Theology.
Goals of the Plan
To develop or
strengthen ethical decision-making education in the undergraduate professional
and pre-professional programs, the university is focusing on accomplishing
three goals, each with specific initiatives for achieving the goal.
- Goal I: Students will deepen their
knowledge and understanding of the discipline of ethical studies.
- Goal II: Students will develop and utilize
skills in ethical decision making.
- Goal III: Students' capacity for
self-examination will be heightened through learning environments that
encourage critical thinking and self-assessment in matters of morality and
- Goal IV: Students will internalize a
commitment to life-long ethical leadership in their careers and communities.
Execution of the Plan
The QEP was
formally initiated in the spring of 2008. Between 2008 through 2011, individual
schools and colleges have each, in turn, reviewed its curriculum and determined
the extent of ethics education within the current curriculum. The faculties of
each school or college have attended summer workshops for faculty development
and collaboration relating to developing and enhancing ethics education within
the curriculum. Faculties have determined appropriate student outcome goals,
and initiate and implemented curricula changes designed to enhance ethics
education for their students. They have developed and initiated appropriate
assessment tools and processes to determine the success of students in meeting
student outcome goals. In support of the ethical education curriculum, the
university created an organizational structure to ensure both support for and
evaluation of the QEP. An Ethics Education Council was created and has had the
primary responsibility to oversee the execution and assessment of the QEP.