Madison Collaborative Implementation
Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action, adopted as JMU’s Quality
Enhancement Plan, embodies and complements the university mission as we promise
to prepare students to be “educated and enlightened citizens who lead
productive and meaningful lives.” JMU already values and promotes integrity
within its community, yet the complex society which our graduates enter calls
us to do more. The Madison Collaborative will answer this call wholeheartedly
through coordinated and enhanced curricular and co-curricular opportunities
that employ a new eight-question ethical reasoning framework to be applied in
three domains: personal, professional, and civic life. The
Madison Collaborative (MC) has three overarching goals. The MC will: Click the headings below to expand content.
The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning in Action, adopted as JMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, embodies and complements the university mission as we promise to prepare students to be “educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.” JMU already values and promotes integrity within its community, yet the complex society which our graduates enter calls us to do more. The Madison Collaborative will answer this call wholeheartedly through coordinated and enhanced curricular and co-curricular opportunities that employ a new eight-question ethical reasoning framework to be applied in three domains: personal, professional, and civic life.
The Madison Collaborative (MC) has three overarching goals. The MC will:
Click the headings below to expand content.
Faculty and Staff Professional Development
Establishing foundational knowledge for the faculty and staff involved in the direct implementation of the MC is essential to its success and sustainability. Three professional development workshops taught by JMU ethics content experts will support these integral people:
The Core Module Workshop focuses on the foundational concepts of ethical reasoning and the nuances of the Eight Key Questions (8KQs). It will help faculty and staff teach students the definitions of the 8KQs, how to identify the appropriate Key Questions for particular rationales in ethical scenarios, and how to convey the importance of ethical reasoning skills. Subsequent workshops build on the Core Module.
The Curricular Module Workshop will help faculty members learn techniques to enable effective content integration into their courses.
The Co-Curricular Module Workshop concentrates on Student Affairs professionals and others developing or delivering co-curricular programs and activities.
Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities
At the heart of the MC are several sequential, yet traversing, curricular and co-curricular activities. In the anticipated chronological order of the students’ lifecycle at JMU, they will encounter one or more of the following activities:
Incoming first-year students will be introduced to the MC, the 8KQs, and ethical reasoning over three specific time points: the first-year One Book upon matriculation, first-year Summer Springboard in June/July, and 1787 August Orientation. The One Book highlights information about the MC and its larger purpose. During Summer Springboard, first-year students will receive a case-based assignment to complete prior to returning in August. During 1787 Orientation, students will attend “It’s Complicated: Ethical Reasoning in Action,” a 75-minute facilitated discussion related to the summer assignment that introduces the Eight Key Questions.
Students may attend residence hall programs where the Eight Key Questions will be embedded in the program content and used as a framework to facilitate discussions about decision making. For example, a program about choices made when alcohol is involved may include a scenario in which two friends are drinking and one becomes dangerously intoxicated. The other student wants to call for help but is on probation and will be suspended if found guilty of another alcohol violation. This situation can be viewed from multiple perspectives using several of the 8KQs
The Madison Collaborative Freshman Course (MCFC) will provide a unified learning experience to ensure that every (freshman) student at JMU receives an extended exposure to the 8KQs in a manner that is accessible, interesting, relevant, and academically rigorous. This non-credit course is currently under development with a pilot targeted for fall 2014.
General Education Courses
Many General Education courses have natural affinities with the MC’s focus on ethical reasoning within personal, professional, and civic life. Initially, we will focus on Cluster Four, which requires students to take one course in “The American Experience” and one course in “The Global Experience.” The focus within this cluster on social and cultural processes enhances our ability to target application of ethical reasoning in personal, professional, and civic domains. Our goal is to have 20 GenEd instructors redesign their courses on an annual basis with assistance from the MC and the Center for Faculty Innovation.
Courses in the Majors and Honors
A survey of courses taught between fall 2008 and fall 2012 with “ethics,” “ethical,” or “moral” in the course description indicates that 98 relevant non-General Education undergraduate courses were taught in Honors and non-Honors sections, suggesting an established interest in ethical reasoning. The MC will work with interested faculty teaching these courses and other faculty to enhance the inclusion of ethical reasoning content. Because many major courses are more aligned with topics related to professional practice within an area of academic inquiry, many courses in the majors will highlight ethical reasoning within professional domains. Our goal is to have five to seven instructors include some ethical reasoning content in their courses each year.
Student Learning Outcomes
The Eight Key Questions serve as the conceptual frame for The Madison Collaborative and are complemented by seven Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). The SLOs describe what JMU expects students to know, think, or do as a result of the MC. The first five are cognitive, intentionally scaffolded from simple to complex, to mirror the way we hypothesize students will learn this nuanced subject. The last two SLOs are attitudinal.
- Students will be able to state, from memory, all Eight Key Questions. Alternate assessment: From a list of ways of conceptualizing issues, students will correctly identify the Eight Key Questions.
- When given a specific decision and rationale on an ethical issue or dilemma, students will correctly identify the KQ most consistent with the decision and rationale.
- Given a specific scenario, students will identify appropriate considerations for each of the 8KQs. Alternate approach: Students will be able to provide the specific considerations raised or rationale implied when applying every KQ to an ethical situation or dilemma.
- For a specific ethical situation or dilemma, students will evaluate courses of action by applying (weighing and, if necessary, balancing) the considerations raised by KQs.
- Students will apply SLO 4 to their own personal, professional, and civic ethical cases. NOTE: Implied within this SLO is the students’ ability to identify an ethical situation, based on the belief that the process of ethical reasoning increases discriminatory capacities. This will be addressed via the assessment rubric.
- Students will report that they view ethical reasoning skills as important.
- Students will report increased confidence in their ability to use the ethical reasoning process.
The MC assessment protocol is unique and was developed by the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS) for The Madison Collaborative. Student Learning Outcomes will be assessed using custom-written instruments beginning in fall 2013 and are part of the regular Assessment Day plans. Additionally, we will have process checks to monitor and evaluate the complex processes of Madison Collaborative activities and programs.
The Madison Collaborative offers two grants to support new research and programming efforts focused on ethical reasoning as applied to personal, professional, and civic life. This support will encourage ongoing renewed engagement with ethical reasoning content and will broaden participation among JMU faculty and staff. Grant applications are due June 30th of every year, and awards are made in July.