BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


BGSU among 18 U.S. institutions chosen to further programs in ethics, integrity

BGSU is among 18 institutions chosen by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to participate in the Core Commitments Leadership Consortium, the organization announced Jan. 18.

These schools will lead the first phase of a national initiative, Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility. The initiative seeks to embed personal and social responsibility objectives pervasively across the institution as key educational outcomes for students, and to measure the impact of campus efforts to foster such learning.  

The other 17 institutions chosen to participate in Core Commitments include Miami University and: Babson College, Mass.; California State University-Northridge; Concordia College, Minn.; Michigan State University;
Middlesex Community College, Mass.; Oakland Community College, Mich.; Rollins College, Fla.; 
Saint Mary's College of California; St. Lawrence University, N.Y.;
Tulane University, La.; U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.; University of Alabama-Birmingham; University of Central Florida; University of the Pacific, Calif.;
Wagner College, N.Y., and
Winthrop University, S.C.

The 18 participating institutions were selected both on the basis of work already accomplished in the spirit of Core Commitments and on an articulated plan to deepen and extend that work on campus. They are each working to implement in their own ways one of the key recommendations articulated in AAC&U’s recent report from its initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise. The report, College Learning for the New Global Century, recommends in part that every college or university “foster civic, intercultural and ethical learning” and “emphasize personal and social responsibility” for all students and in every field of study.

BGSU’s BGeXperience, a first-year values-exploration program, was cited in the report as one of the programs nationwide that is implementing a new set of principles of excellence in education.

“Being selected to participate in the AAC&U's Core Commitments initiative reflects well on the many BGSU faculty members who have been willing to undertake the challenging task of teaching critical thinking about values across the curriculum," commented Dr. Donald Nieman, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. "Not only is recognition from such an influential organization as AAC&U very gratifying, but the grant will help us build on past successes and extend our focus on values and civic responsibility beyond the first year."

The 18 consortium members will receive a $25,000 award and commit $25,000 in institutional matching funds over two years to significantly advance new models that provide students with purposeful and progressively challenging educational experiences. They will also administer a new Personal and Social Responsibility Institutional Inventory to students, faculty, student affairs administrators and academic administrators. The results will be used to inform ongoing efforts. Future events planned for the initiative include institutes and workshops, campus dialogues and symposia.

In addition to BGeXperience, BGSU offers other programs that were included in the report’s recommendations for higher-education practices, such as service- and community-based learning, learning communities and undergraduate research.

“The faculty, staff and administration at BGSU have worked together for several years to build the BGeXperience program, as well as other innovative approaches to undergraduate education,” added Dr. Mark Gromko, interim provost. “Often, people so close to a big effort such as this do not fully appreciate the size or significance of their accomplishments. Here, AAC&U has taken a look from a national perspective. From that vantage point, our accomplishments are clear and our progress stands out among institutions of higher education in the United States.”

“The selected colleges and universities are already promising leaders in encouraging and incorporating personal and social responsibility into the undergraduate curriculum,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “Too often there is a disconnect between student life on campus and students’ academic studies, isolating values, ethics and civic responsibilities from what is learned in the classroom. Core Commitments and the Leadership Consortium will strive to create an encompassing vision of how to integrate these vital principles into the core of the undergraduate experience for all students.”

Project Director Caryn McTighe Musil, senior vice president at AAC&U, explains that to focus the work that will happen on campuses, AAC&U has identified five key dimensions of personal and social responsibility that form the core of the initiative:
• Striving for excellence: developing a strong work ethic and consciously doing one’s very best in all aspects of college;
• Cultivating personal and academic integrity: recognizing and acting on a sense of honor ranging from honesty in relationships to principled engagement with a formal academic honors code;
• Contributing to a larger community: recognizing and acting on one’s responsibility to the educational community (the classroom and campus life), the local community and the wider society, both national and global;
• Taking seriously the perspectives of others: recognizing and acting on the obligation to inform one’s own judgment; engaging diverse and competing perspectives as a resource for learning, for citizenship, and for work;
• Developing competence in ethical and moral reasoning: developing ethical and moral reasoning in ways that incorporate the other four responsibilities; using such reasoning in learning and in life.

Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

January 22, 2007