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Ethical Reasoning, Personal and Social Responsibility | The Teaching & Learning Centre | Seneca College

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Ethical Reasoning, Personal and Social Responsibility

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Ethical reasoning involves respecting other individuals and their rights, and making informed choices that benefit other individuals, society as a whole, and the environment, in a manner that requires the individual to be aware of and process the principles of right and wrong as they relate to human conduct. Individuals demonstrate personal and social responsibility by being dependable and accountable, while being sensitive and responsive to the well-being of others and aware of the possible consequences of their actions.

Benchmark for Achievement
The application of ethical reasoning to resolve situations or solve problems that may arise from a conflict of beliefs. This is done in a manner that ensures sensitivity and responsiveness to the well-being of others and is consistent with the expectations and requirements of the contexts and the societies in which they operate.

The graduate:

  • Recognizes ethical issues when presented and identifies conflicting positions that may arise in some situations
  • Discusses objections to, assumptions about, and implications of differing ethical perspectives
  • Demonstrates responsibility and ownership for their own actions, decisions, beliefs, and any consequences resulting from these
  • Interacts with others in groups and teams in ways that successfully contribute to working relationships and the achievement of stated goals
  • Manages the use of time and resources to successfully complete projects and tasks according to given timelines and expectations
  • Applies ethical reasoning to situations demanding ethical choices

At the Program Level
There are opportunities across the program for students to recognize ethical issues and discuss the complexities or interrelationships between the issues. Within the context of their program of study, students describe and analyze positions on ethical issues and practice ethical decision-making skills. Students practice skills related to personal and social responsibility including: relationship management; conflict resolution; leadership; teamwork; self-management; and personal responsibility.

Questions to Guide Mapping

  • Are ethical principles and behaviours specifically discussed in the course?
  • Do students explore their own values, ethical principles and beliefs?
  • Do students engage in discussions about moral problems?
  • Are examples of moral awareness, decision-making, intent, and action embedded in activities and assignments?
  • Are situations and decision-making explored from the perspective of ethical conduct?


  • AAC&U Ethical Reasoning VALUE Rubric
    The Ethical Reasoning VALUE Rubric contains AAC&U’s definition of ethical reasoning and lists the essential criteria with four levels of performance for each criterion.
  • Ethical Behaviour and Social Responsibility Toolkit from Griffith University
    Griffith University’s Ethical Behaviour and Social Responsibility Toolkit explains the importance of ethics and social responsibility, offers some teaching tips so you can help your students be ethically aware and socially responsible, provides some guidelines for assessments and suggests additional resources.
  • Ethics Unwrapped from the University of Texas at Austin - a series of 50 videos
    Here is a series of ethics educational videos produced by The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Giving Voice to Values from the University of Texas at Austin
    This is a series of eight videos to introduce the seven principles of value-driven leadership (as identified and explain in Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right by Mary Gentile).
  • Opposing Viewpoints from Gale – Access this resource via Seneca Libraries
    Opposing Viewpoints is a collection of online resources covering social issues. The resources explore the issues from all perspectives.
  • Right and Wrong in the Real World from Greater Good, the Science of a Meaningful Life, University of California, Berkeley
    Joshua Halberstam looks at how we deal with and process the ethical dilemmas we face, the everyday ethics that call for our own resolutions.

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