In 2004 the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) instituted its national project A Matter of Ethics.
The purpose of this initiative is to promote honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, and ethical behavior in young adults, not only in the classroom but also in life. As a member of the ACHS, Psi Chi embraced this project
. The Psi Chi National Council incorporated the project's objectives in Psi Chi's national and regional activities. Psi Chi included sessions on teaching, practice, and research ethics in regional conference programs; published articles about research ethics in Eye on Psi Chi
(Prieto, 2005; 2006); and made the theme of the first Psi Chi National Leadership Conference Ethical and Socially Responsible Leaders in Psychology.
The Psi Chi National Council will continue to support and promote the objectives of A Matter of Ethics
in its future activities. Additionally, Council members encourage all Psi Chi chapters to participate in this national project.Why Promote A Matter of Ethics?
Ethical behavior is the foundation of education and society. Academic integrity fosters ethical behavior. The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI; 1999) defined academic integrity as a commitment to five core values: honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, respect, and responsibility. If our education system and the administrators, teachers, and students in the academe do not make a commitment to these core values, how can we trust the accuracy and value of what we learn in our schools? Only through adherence to these core values can we acquire real knowledge, skills, and the pride and self-esteem that come with honest achievement. People who violate these core values not only demean themselves and lessen the value of their accomplishments (and in the case of the academe, the value of the degrees awarded), but they also pose a potential threat to the integrity and well-being of our society. After all, would you want a doctor who cheated throughout his or her medical training to perform surgery on you? As members of an honor society and as campus leaders, Psi Chi members have an opportunity and a responsibility to be models of ethical behavior both in and out of the classroom. Psi Chi chapters can take the lead in promoting academic integrity and ethical behavior on campuses.How Can Psi Chi Chapters Promote Ethics?
The ACHS (see www.achsnatl.org/ethics
) and the CAI (see www.academicintegrity.org/resources_inst.asp
) provide many program ideas, activities, and resources for chapters seeking ways to participate in A Matter of Ethics. Here are a few examples of activities, some of which are variations on the ideas presented on the ACHS website.
- Sponsor a departmental program to discuss case studies that raise ethical issues in an academic context. Three sites that provide excellent case studies are listed below.
– CAI website: www.academicintegrity.org/casestudies.asp
– Kappa Omicron Nu website: www.kon.org/ethical_dilemmas.html
– Society of Physics Students website: www.spsnational.org/governance/ethics/resources.htm
- Sponsor a departmental program that focuses on research ethics. The program could include a panel discussion by students and faculty members doing different types of research. Invite the chairperson of the campus's Institutional Review Board to participate in the discussion.
- Devote a chapter meeting to discussing ethical issues that arise in leadership positions. Include issues or problems confronted by leaders in Psi Chi chapters and discuss how to address these issues or problems in an ethical manner.
- Collaborate with other honor societies on campus to sponsor a program on ethics in daily life. The program could include a panel discussion by people representing various professions in the community.
- Collaborate with other honor societies to sponsor a movie night featuring a movie in which characters must confront ethical issues. After the movie, discuss the ethical issues and ethical ways to deal with the situations portrayed in the movie. The perspectives offered by the various disciplines will add interest to this discussion.
- Collaborate with other honor societies to sponsor a program on professional ethics. Representatives from the various disciplines could discuss how the ethical codes from their disciplines are similar and how they are different.
The Psi Chi National Council encourages your chapter to devote some time at a chapter meeting to generating ideas for other programs that would promote ethics on your campus. The benefits of participating in these activities, for your chapter as a whole and for individual members, are well worth the effort invested in organizing and implementing the activities.
—ACHS Objectives for Honor Societies Participating in A Matter of Ethics
(quoted from ACHS, n.d.)
- Commit to a leadership role in increasing campus and community awareness of ethical standards.
- Engage in a dialogue between student groups regarding ethical issues.
- Promote, encourage, and strengthen commitment to ethical behaviors at all levels of the campus community.
- Serve as role models of ethical behavior.
- Pursue the art and practice of making ethical decisions and provide learning opportunities for ethical leadership among peers.
- Learn, share, and follow ACHS guidelines for resolving ethical dilemmas.
- Increase knowledge of and appreciation for professional codes of ethics within your discipline.
Association of College Honor Societies. (n.d.). A matter of ethics
. Retrieved March 20, 2007, from http://www.achsnatl.org/ethics/
Prieto, L. R. (2005, Spring). The IRB and psychological research: A primer for students. Eye on Psi Chi, 9
Prieto, L. R. (2006, Winter). Research ethics and the APA code. Eye on Psi Chi, 10
The Center for Academic Integrity. (1999). The fundamental values of academic integrity.
Retrieved March 20, 2007, from http://www.academicintegrity.org/fundamental.asp
Summer 2007 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 11, No. 4, p. 5), published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2007, Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.