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Summer Challenge for Incoming Freshmen: Challenge Your Ethics IQ

Tuesday, Jul. 5, 2011

Starting July 5, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University will launch 10 weeks of online dialogue focusing on the major ethical issues in the life of a college freshman. 

It’s part of the Markkula Center’s “The Big Q”  project, in which weekly ethical dilemmas of all kinds are posed for a growing community that wants a friendly forum in which to discuss the kinds of day-to-day choices that form one’s ethical character. 

For the next 10 weeks, one question per week will be posed to freshmen on issues including alcohol, sex, and cheating. They will be related to a Top 10 list created by the Center, The Top Ten Ethical Issues for College Freshmen.

The Center has invited orientation leaders from all over the US to invite students to join the conversation. They will be tabling at SCU’s own new-student orientations starting July 7.

The Big Q blog was started in early April and now has about 201 Facebook fans from schools including American University, University of Oregon, Wooster Polytech, UC-San Diego, Stanford, Mission College, and University of Tennessee.

They’ve had 2100 active participants on their Facebook page, and about 11,000 page views on the Big Q blog.  Comments have come from students at Eastern Washington University, San Jose State, Indiana University, UC-Berkeley, Illinois Central College, UC-Irvine, and Santa Clara University.  An instructor at College of Southern Nevada has also chimed in.

Sample comments include:

SCU Parent: I have been following the Big Q blog.  I think it is a great approach to involve students in the process. 

After a question on whether to accept a prescription for Adderall, a respondent from India wrote:   I actually know many students who sell Adderall at my university. Since it's not available here (India), it goes for a VERY high price. Good article.

Another: Like steroids for students.  Great article 

Markkula Center Executive Director Kirk Hanson has said that students – like everyone -- make better ethical decisions when they’ve had a chance to think about the issues ahead of time. The Big Q is the place to try out different scenarios so that, if one day a peer offers a student an Adderall prescription arguing that the drug is a great study aid, the student will be empowered to make an informed, ethical choice. 

July 5, 2011

Tags: ethics, Markkula

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