Book Reviews

Book by Stephanie L. Moore
Review by Jeffrey McClellan
Asst. Professor of Management
Frostburg State University


Generally speaking, today’s college students are tomorrow’s leaders. But, what kind of leaders will they be? In a society riddled with ethical, legal, and moral debacles, ethics instruction must be taken seriously. Consequently, this text examines how colleges and universities can contribute to the development of ethical students and organizations by providing a series of chapters/articles addressing ethical education and administration. These chapters offer valuable insights and practical suggestions for advising researchers, practitioners, and administrators. 

Chapter one provides a practical definition of ethics and an ethical outcomes framework. This framework was developed “by asking people almost worldwide to define, in measurable terms, the kind of world they would want to create for tomorrows children” (p. 11).  Although broad and general, these “outcome” statements provide interesting material for activities and discussions related to ethical responsibilities of individuals and organizations. Furthermore, the framework could be adapted to assist students in exploring their own values and how they wish to contribute to the world. 

Chapter two explores service learning as an expression of ethics. Here authors provide excellent insights regarding the pedagogy of service learning and suggest a model of service learning focused on fostering institutional sustainability. Since service learning provides excellent opportunities for experiential growth, enjoyment, and exploration for students that supports academic and career advising processes, this article should prove insightful to advisors. 

Establishing learning outcomes within ethics across curriculum programs is the subject of chapter three. Insightful and generally applicable outcomes are proposed and discussed. Those who embrace the current trend towards viewing advising as teaching and as a strategic partner in achieving learning outcomes will find the exploration and discussion of these outcomes valuable.

Chapter four provides an overview of common ethical principles and concepts derived from the examination of the ethical codes of multiple academic disciplines. These include professional competence, competent teaching, fairness, informed consent, relationships, confidentiality, and FERPA.  The author focuses on how these common concepts inform institutional processes, especially teaching. Though little discussion is provided relative to advising, there is much of value here that would inform ethical discussions on advising. The FERPA section is particularly insightful.

The next chapter chronicles an institution’s step-by-step development of a code of ethics. This may prove particularly insightful for administrators pondering the development of such a document for their centers or institutions. 

Chapter six and seven focus on teaching business ethics and the development of a professional ethics course in an instructional technology program. Though interesting, I doubt they hold much value for advising generally. 

The final chapter examines ethical issues surrounding college athletics. Challenges and issues are outlined and discussed and suggestions provided. A brief section directly suggests important implications for athletic advisors. This is a valuable read for advisors who interact with or advise student athletes. 

In conclusion, this text has much to offer advisors and administrators who want to explore the application of ethical decision making theories and concepts to higher education, and specifically to advising and advising administrators. That said, some nuggets of wisdom will require mining, nonetheless, this reviewer thinks it work the effort.

For those who wish to study more about ethics in relation to advising, the NACADA handbooks and the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources provide some excellent chapters, articles, and resources on ethical and legal issues in advising. Stand Your Ground, by Evan Offstein, is a great book on ethical leadership. Nel Noddings book, Caring, also has interesting insights regarding relational ethics that could be applied to advising.  

References:

Gordon, V. N. and Habley, W. R. (Eds). (2000).  Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.  

Gordon, V. N., Habley, W. R. and Grites, T. J. (Eds.). (2008) Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook (second edition).  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.  

NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. (2008).  Retrieved September 17, 2008 from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/index.htm .

Noddings, Nel. (2003). Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education (second edition). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Offstein, E. H. (2006). Stand Your Ground: Building Honorable Leaders the West Point Way. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. 


Practical approaches to ethics for colleges and universities. (2008) Book by Stephanie L. Moore (Ed.). Review by Jeffrey McClellan. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass  112 pp., $29, (paperback), ISBN # 978-0-470-41671-6
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