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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · Regional Educational Academy for Leadership

Ethical Decision Making in Education

  • Template 2020
  • Section SAMPLE
  • 3 Credits
  • 03/25/2020 to 07/29/2100
  • Modified 01/20/2021

Mission Statement

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. 


Studies ethical theory, ethical behavior and moral decision-making in order to prepare teachers and administrators to deal thoughtfully with the ethical challenges in their classrooms, schools, and professional relationships. Participants will learn how to teach ethical decision making to students and thus impact students’ individual character growth by helping them to develop the virtues of honesty, respect, fairness and compassion to enable them to take the needs of others into account when making moral decisions.  Case studies and moral dilemmas will be used in the course and taught as a method to use in teaching students to develop moral reasoning skills. Participants will learn techniques for teaching developmentally appropriate character traits.

Additional syllabus information for this new course will be added soon to include objectives,  overview of assignments, and required course materials. Official syllabi are provided in the Canvas learning environment on the first scheduled day of each course with additional sections for instructor contact information, course policies, and schedule, and references/resources.


Access to standards referenced in this section can be found HERE (student account required for access)

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental philosophical ethical ideas such as natural law, virtue ethics, utilitarianism, the Categorical Imperative, and the common good and be able to apply these ethical concepts to ethical questions, decisions, issues or actions demonstrating understanding and responsibility while responding with compassion and respect in the analysis and resolution of ethical issues found in schools and contemporary life. (IPTS 9I, 9S, 9T; SES 3A.3a, 4a, 5a; inTASC 9e; 9m, 9o, NBPTS VII, IX)
  2. Model professional behavior that shows that the teacher is an ethical and reflective practitioner who exhibits honesty, integrity, personal responsibility, confidentiality, altruism and respect; and the ethical use of digital information and technology. (IPTS 9I, 9S, SES 3A.3a; inTASC 9e; 9m, 9o; NBPTS VII)
  3. Understands the expectations of the profession including codes of ethics, professional standards of practice, and relevant law and policy in order to practice the profession in an ethical manner acting in accordance with ethical codes of conduct,  professional standards and all relevant laws. (IPTS 9, SES Goal 3, inTASC 9e; 9m, 9o; NBPTS VII, IX)
  4. Support colleagues in exploring and making ethical decisions and adhering to professional standards and in following the laws and policies related to learners’ rights and teachers’ responsibilities. (inTASC 9l)
  5. Understand and be able to teach the Illinois Social and Emotional Goal #3 to students in order for them to be able to develop virtues such as honesty, respect, fairness and compassion and demonstrate personal responsibility in making ethical decisions and apply ethical reasoning to evaluate societal practices. (SES 3A4a, 5a; NBPTS VI, VII, IX)


REQUIRED - Now What? Confronting and Resolving Ethical Questions: A Handbook for Teachers, 2010. by Sarah V. Mackenzie and G. Calvin Mackenzie, Corwin Press

Institutional Policies

Students should use the USF portal as the first resource for guidance and support on items such as student complaints, safety, security and transportation questions, contact information for various USF departments, student support services such as counseling and academic resources. Information on these resources can be found in the For Students section of the USF portal.

A complete listing of university policies and procedures can be found in the University of St. Francis Catalog and Student Handbooks. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Collaboration is only acceptable when it is explicitly acknowledged. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses. Since a lack of integrity hinders the student’s academic development, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Violations include but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information or material. See the University of St. Francis Catalog for further clarification and information on grievance procedures.

Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (ADA)

The University strives to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). A student who requires special accommodations or arrangements due to a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services. This contact preferably should occur no later than the first week of classes. Early contact before the semester starts is encouraged to allow sufficient time to provide accommodations. Extra time is needed for some types of accommodations such as sign language interpreters or special text formatting. Should a need arrive after the start of a semester; the student is encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible. Note that accommodations are not retroactive. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

USF is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, regardless of the course format. If you have a documented disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a course, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University’s programs or services, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Disability Services is in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and is located on the second floor of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library in room L214. Consultations are welcome, please contact the Office of Disability Services for an appointment.

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room L214 in the Library (815-740-5060) offers various types of academic services.  Online and distance learning students can contact ARC for appropriate resources.  ARC serves students who need tutoring in many areas of study including writing and math.  Library services include a number of online services and full text databases.  Call the Library at 815-740-5041 for additional information.  If you need academic-related resources or assistance, please contact the Academic Resource Center.

Notice of Copyright

This course may contain copyrighted materials that are intended to support the learning experiences of students currently enrolled in the course. No student may retain or further disseminate any copyrighted materials, in their entirety or any portion thereof, under penalty of law.

Technology Support

  1. The Department of Academic Technology (DAT) administers the learning management system Canvas. If you are experiencing any difficulty using Canvas or need technical assistance, you have several options to receive support, including:
  1. 24x7 Live Canvas Support. If you experience technical difficulties or have a question about Canvas, you can receive support 24 hours a day 7 days a week through the Canvas help menu. From the help menu, select Chat with Canvas Support for a “live” text-based click-to-chat session,
  2. select Report a Problem to send an email support request, or speak to someone directly by using the toll-free number listed under the Canvas Support Hotline.

NOTE: Responses to Canvas’ email-based Report a Problem request system will go to your USF email account, NOT your personal email.

2. Online Self-Service Help Resources. A student user guide and other resources for solving issues related to Canvas can be found at LearnItNow

3. Telephone Support from DAT. You can also phone the Department of Academic Technology for personal help at (815) 740-5080 or (866) 337-1497 (toll-free) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

For any technical support issues that are not related to Canvas, please contact the USF Technology Support Center (TSC). You can reach them via: