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Office of Civic Engagement & Service Learning

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ETCE Core Courses

Ethics and Civic Engagement

Information pertaining to the Ethics and Civic Engagement Core can also be found here.

Ethics and Civic Engagement SLO Rational Rubric Guidelines

Definition of Civic Engagement

Civic engagement, defined as collaborative action grounded in a sense of responsibility to community, is comprised of two interdependent dimensions: individual and organizational (Cress et al. 2010). The individual aspect of civic engagement encourages administrative leaders, faculty members, staff members, and students to become civically-minded and to use their knowledge and skills for community betterment. The organizational aspect of civic engagement involves sustainable reciprocal partnerships within the community.

 Measures of civic engagement include 1) learning from individuals and self to develop informed perspectives on social issues, 2) sharing knowledge and skills with other people, 3) participating in public life, public problem solving, the political process, community service, and philanthropy, and 4) developing a personal system of either ethical or moral values (Jacoby 2009).

 Definition of Ethics

Ethics is divided into two main subfields: normative ethics and meta-ethics.  Normative ethics has to do with prescriptive principles as contained in personal, professional or social codes of conduct such as principles of benevolence, nonmaleficence (or do no harm), honesty, lawfulness, justice, liberty (or rights and freedoms), utility (maximum wellbeing for most or all people), and care etc., and their rational justification. Meta-ethics is a second-order inquiry which is concerned, first, with clarifying the meaning of moral terms like "good," "bad," "right," "wrong," and "ought:," and, second, with evaluating the logic of moral arguments. Most fundamentally, it addresses the following question: "Why be moral?"


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