Educating Leaders of Tomorrow: The Development of Moral Character in Students

Educating Leaders of Tomorrow: The Development of Moral Character in Students

Authors

Published

Fostering Sustainability by Management Education, pp. 75-102, December 2017

Abstract

This chapter examines an undergraduate ethics course where students reflect on past personal actions, creating an individualized set of ten precepts culminating in ‘Ten Commandments of Character.’ In a semester long, iterative process, students define and refine tenets to guide their moral behavior during and after the course concludes. Motivation for course creation arose as a call for enhancing ethical decision-making and integrity in an undergraduate population. Provided are the design and outcomes of this course, taught five semesters, focusing on character development for socially and ethically responsible behavior. Through a simultaneous research design for examining character development in the classroom, assignments became data that could be examined for changed attitudes and behavior about integrity. Individuals who took the course moved from a position of egocentrism to interconnectedness and interdependence. Exploring students’ learning reflections and ten ethical precepts, undergraduates generated rules suggesting more inclusive and intentional behavior like accountability, open-mindedness, and to be more honest with themselves and others. Outcomes documented heightened consciousness about right and wrong behavior, confidence, courage, and increased candor to speak up and speak out resulting in more morally responsible actions.