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Department of Kinesiology
Please describe specifically how students will learn about what is involved in making real-life ethical choices.
More than 50% of the content in this course is related to the study of applied sport ethics. In the first half of the semester (when we are discussing the broader field of sport philosophy) students are introduced to three types of philosophical reasoning—inductive, intuitive and deductive. Paper One requires them to employ one of these reasoning methods in a self-analysis of their beliefs about sport and physical activity. This is an important first step, I believe, in learning to think systematically. In the second half of the semester—which is entirely dedicated to ethics, the students are introduced to the step-by step ethical analysis process recommended by both Scott Kretchmar (Director of the Sport Philosophy Program at Penn State) and Sharon Stoll and Jennifer Beller (Center for the Study of Sport and Ethics at U of Idaho). I use the chapter from Kretchmar’s text to cover this material and it is an excellent and very approachable method for teaching students to “Know-Value-and Act.” Kretchmar is especially good at helping students think about how to evaluate the competing values inherent in almost all ethical decisions. I then go further and also introduce students to the fundamentals of social contract theory (Hobbes), Deontology (Kant) Aristotelian Ethics, and Utilitarianism (Mill). In their third paper I require them to employ the ideas of at least one of these “classical philosophers” as recommended by the sport philosopher Earle Ziegler.
What are typical readings or other materials in the course or class related to Ethics and Leadership?
On Ethics: Simon, Robert, Fair Play: Sport, Values and Society, Second Edition. Westview Press, 2003. —We read this entire book.
On Leadership: Bill Bradley, Values of the Game, Broadway Books, 1998 —We read this entire book.
We also read the following chapters on ethical decision making: Paul DeVries, “Paradigms for Moral Reasoning,” in Ethics Applied, (Simon & Schuster, 1999.) Earle Ziegler, “A Three-Step Philosophic Approach to Ethical Decision Making,” in Who Knows What’s Right Anymore, (Trafford, 2002). Scott Kretchmar, “Making Sound Ethical Decisions,” in Practical Philosophy of Sport, (Human Kinetics, 1994) DeSensei & Rosenberg, “Major Ethical Theories” in Ethics in Sport Management, (Fitness Technology 1996). I also use a variety of articles from contemporary newspapers, Sports Illustrated, etc., which can be seen on the attached reading schedule for the class.
Describe typical assignments related to Ethics and Leadership.
Throughout the semester we use a case study approach and frequently break into groups to discuss real life ethical scenarios. These discussions are non-graded but very important to the evolution of the students’ thought processes. The two major ethics assignments each semester are the oral debates—done in groups, and the term paper on an ethics topic. For the debates, students are divided into groups of three, paired with another group, and asked to prepare an oral debate on a particular topic in the field of sports ethics. The group is evaluated on the argument they propose—their leadership at the podium—their oral presentations skills, etc. The debates are evaluated by me and by the entire class — who fill out an evaluation form for each debate and get to vote on who won. After the debate, each member turns in a brief report discussing what they did in preparation for the debate and what they think their teammates did. Papers: In this class students write three papers. The majority elects to tackle a problem in ethics for both papers 2 & 3. However, They are all required to write about a problem in ethics in Paper 3. The instructions for paper 3 are as follows: “Length: 2000 words. Identify an Ethical problem that exists in the world of sports or physical activity and analyze that problem using the ethical ideas of either Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, or Thomas Hobbes. Papers must have a minimum of (8) sources — must follow the APA style sheet—and must include an in‐depth philosophical/ethical discussion of the problem. You must have original sources for the philosophers used in the paper.” Papers are graded based on a rubric and students are given a chance to rewrite. The final assignment is the Essay Exam given over the readings in this half of the class.
Please explain how at least one-third of the course grade is based on content related to Ethics and Leadership.
50% of the graded material in this class relates to ethics.
1. Paper Three (Paper on Ethics) = 20% of final grade
2. Exam 2 (Over Readings in Ethics) = 20% of final grade
3. Debates on Ethical Topic = 10% of final grade.
In the spring semester of 2009, we spent 7 weeks on content related to sport ethics.
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