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Institute of Government

Tennessee State University


Fall 2002


Course Number:                     PA 639


Title:                                       Ethics and Values In the Public Service


Course Credit:                        Three Credits


Instructor:                              Rodney E. Stanley, Ph.D.

Office: Avon Williams Campus, Suite F-13


Phone: (615) 963 – 7249: W

                                                            (615)746 - 4958: H

Office Hours:  Tuesday 12:00 – 5:00

                        Thursday 12:00 – 5:00


Course Description:            This seminar serves as an introduction to the discipline of ethics and values.  This class explores the various theories and practices that have led to, and continue to dominate the study of ethics and values in public service. Students will display their knowledge of ethics and values in various reading, writing and oratorical assignments throughout the semester.


Course Objectives:            At the end of this course the student will be able to:


·        Inform the student about the history and development of ethics and values as an academic discipline.


·        Create analytical reasoning techniques that the ethics and values student may apply to their professional career as an administrator in a public or non-profit agency.


·        Inform the student about emerging issues and trends impacting the ethics and values of public administrators.


Topical Outline:            The various topics discussed in this class will be normative in nature, dealing specifically with personal conduct and choices for administrators in public service.


Teaching Strategies:            Lecture, class discussion, position papers, final exam.



Required Texts:


Cooper, Terry L. 1998.  The Responsible Administrator: An Approach to Ethics for the Administrative Role, 4th ed.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Pub.


Gutmann, Amy, Dennis Thompson.  1997.  Ethics & Politics: Cases and Comments, 3rd ed.  California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.


Sommers, Christina, Fred Sommers.  2001.  Vice & Virtue In Everyday Life: Introductory readings in Ethics.  New York: Harcourt College Publishers.



Course Requirements


Final Exam                                                100 points

Position Paper                                                100 points

Two Class Presentations                         200 points

Participation/Attendance                         100 points

Total                                                            500 points


Grading Scale:  Final Grades will be premised on cumulative points as follows: A = 500- 440; B = 439 - 380; C = 379 - 300; D = 299 - 220; F = below 220.



Each student will be required to complete a final exam.  The exam will be take home and the student will have one week too complete the exam.  The student will be required to answer one question, in opinion paper format, for the take home exam.


Position Paper (from Gutman book):

Each student will be required to write one position paper as the written assignment for this class.  Your papers should have the following sections: a title page with the students name, date, class (PA 639) and the instructors name, an abstract at the bottom of the title page (approximately 150 words), an introduction section, literature section, position section, conclusion, and works cited section (minimum of three sources). All references used in writing your papers should be cited appropriately (excluding the title page and the reference section, your paper should be around 7 pages in length).


Section Contents of Position Paper:

Abstract or Executive Summary:

                        The problem, purpose, policy position, and conclusion of your paper.


The introduction section of the paper should tell me the problem and purpose of your paper.

Literature Review:

The literature review should discuss at least two opposing positions on a particular ethical dilemma in public administration.


Support one of the two positions you discussed in the literature review.  In stating your position you should identify why you believe the option you chose is adequate and why the other position to be inadequate for solving the issue at hand.  Furthermore, you should identify possible limitations of your position.


                        The conclusion is a brief summary of what your paper was about.


Technical Format:

All papers should use the following technical format: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1” margins from left to right and top to bottom, and double space each line in the paper. Furthermore, number all the pages in your paper. However, if direct quotes used in the paper are the equivalent of three lines or more, single space and separate them from the main text.   Submit two copies of your paper and I will return one copy with your grade.  Late projects will automatically be reduced one letter grade for each day they are late (not class period or week).


Grading Criteria for Papers:


1)      Analysis: A sufficient number of ethics and values concepts are used to analyze the situation discussed in the paper;

2)      References: A variety of pertinent and timely references were sought and obtained in preparing the paper;

3)      Organization: The main points are stated clearly and arranged in a logical sequence;

4)      Coherence: The development of ideas, arguments and discussion shows consistency and logical connection;

5)      Clarity: The ideas, arguments and discussion shows consistency and logical connection;

6)      Conciseness: The language is direct and to the point, using sufficient space to say exactly what is intended and be readily understood by the reader;

7)      Grammar: The written is in standard American English, with proper sentence structure, syntax, punctuation and spelling;

8)      Drafting: The writing shows evidence of being drafted and revised before submission of the final copy.


Class Presentations

Each student will be required to assist in the presentation of the reading material at least once, and maybe twice in the semester (depending on the size of the class).  Groups of two to four individuals will be assigned to present the basic arguments of the literature assigned for that week and facilitate discussions regarding the literature.  Your presentations will be critiqued on how thorough you present the material, how well you project to the class, the amount of class discussion that results from your presentation (in other words try to be controversial it makes for better discussions), and the amount of time you use in your presentations (please try not to exceed 60 minutes in your presentations).  The class usually finds it helpful if you distribute an outline of your material before you begin your presentation, however this is not required.


1)      Organization – There is a structured format in which the student displays throughout the presentation.

2)      Planning – There is evidence of rehearsing and the presentation flows well and is properly paced according to time.

3)      Visual Aids – Adequate use of visual aids to assist in explanations during the presentation.

4)      Speaker Enthusiasm – Displayed adequate knowledge of the subject, and exhibited sufficient self-confidence during the presentation.

5)      Voice Projection – Good articulation, proper delivery rate, no distracting gestures (e.g., chewing gum, too many “uhs”, etc).



Students are expected to be present in order to participate in class discussions.  For every absence the instructor will deduct 10 points from the students participation and attendance grade. Excessive absences will lead to a substantial lowering of a student’s grade. General criteria used to assess class participation include:


1)      Content Mastery: Students must display an understanding of facts, concepts, and theories presented in the assigned readings and lectures.  This ability is the basis for all higher-level skills and must be made evident by classroom comments and/or response to questions.

2)      Communication Skills: Students must be able to inform others in an intelligent manner what she/he knows.  Ideas must be communicated clearly and persuasively.  Communication skills include listening to others and understanding what they have said, responding appropriately, asking questions in a clear manner, avoiding rambling discourses or class domination, using proper vocabulary pertinent to the discussion, building on the ideas of others, etc.

3)      Synthesis/Integration: Students must illuminate the connections between the material under consideration and other bodies of knowledge.  For example, one could take several ideas from the reading or class discussions and combine them to produce a new perspective on an issue, or one could take outside materials and combine them to create new insights.  Students who probe the interdisciplinary roots of the theories presented or who are able to view the author or the materials from several viewpoints demonstrate this skill.

4)      Creativity: Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the basic material and have gone on to produce their own insights.  A simple repetition of ideas from the articles will not suffice, nor will simply commenting on what others have said.  Students must go beyond the obvious by bringing their own beliefs and imagination to bear.  Creativity may be displayed by showing further implications of the material, by applying it to a new field, or by finding new ways of articulating the materials, which produce significant insights.

5)      Valuing: Students should be able to identify the value inherent in the material studied.  The underlying assumptions of the author should be identified.  Furthermore, students should be able to articulate their own positions by reference to basic underlying values.  Students must not simply feel something is wrong or incorrect; they must be able to state why, based on some hierarchy of values.  In either accepting or rejecting a position, the operative values must become explicit.

6)      General Enthusiasm and Interest in the Class: This can be shown by regularity of attendance and thoughtful insights given throughout the semester in class discussions.


Additional Readings:

Additional readings will be assigned throughout the semester to accompany chapters in the required texts for this class.  The instructor will provide these additional articles to the students approximately one week before the readings are due in class.


Note: Following explicit directions are an important aspect of graduate school training.  Therefore, it is important that the student follow the stated guidelines in this syllabus, throughout the course of this class, because failure to do so will result in point reductions.  Furthermore, it will probably be to your best interest to submit papers to me before the due date (at least two weeks), so I can make suggestions on how you might want to change your work in order to receive a higher grade.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Any students who feel the need for academic accommodations due to a recognized disability by the TSU Handbook, will be given such adjustments only after the student goes through the proper channels at the university to receive such accommodations.  The TSU Handbook is a good place to start if you are unaware of the “proper procedures.”


*** Note this syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


Course Outline

Class One

            Class Introduction

            Class Requirements


I. Theoretical Development of Ethical Decision-Making


Class Two

                        Chapter One: Good and Evil, Sommers and Sommers

Class Three

Chapter Two: Moral Doctrines and Moral Theories, Sommers and Sommers

Class Four

                        Chapter Three: Is It All Relative? Sommers and Sommers

Class Five

                        Chapter Four: Virtue, Sommers and Sommers         

Class Six

                        Chapter 5: Vice, Sommers and Sommers

Class Seven

                        Chapter 6: Morality and Self-Interest, Sommers and Sommers

Class Eight

                        Chapter 7: Character, Dignity, and Self-Respect, Sommers and Sommers

Class Nine

                        Chapter 8: Moral Education, Sommers and Sommers

Class Ten

                        Chapter 9: Morality and the Family, Sommers and Sommers         

Class Eleven

                        Chapter 10: Morality and Social Policy, Sommers and Sommers


II. Practical Applications of Ethical Decision-Making


Class Twelve

                        The Responsible Administrator, Chapters 1-4

Class Thirteen

                        The Responsible Administrator, Chapters 5-8

Class Fourteen

                        Class Presentations from Gutmann & Thompson book 

Class Fifteen

                        Class Presentations from Gutmann & Thompson book 



Gutman and Thompson:  For class presentations and policy option papers



Student Presentation Evaluation Forms


100            Superior, outstanding                            75            Not quite what was expected

95        Very Good                                       70            Less than expected

90        Much Better Than Expected                      65            Much less than expected

85        Better Than Expected                         60            Considerably less than expected

80        What was expected                           59 - 0            Pure charity


Name: ________________________________________________________________


Topic: ________________________________________________________________________


Factor                                      Strong                                                 Weak

                                                            Comments:                                           Comments:


1) Organization (20)                              _______________________________________


2) Planning (20)                              _______________________________________


3) Visual Aids            (20)                              _______________________________________


4) Speaker Enthusiasm (20)                  _______________________________________


5) Voice Projection (20)             _______________________________________



Overall Grade: _____________ (100/Perfect Score)