CASE STUDY #1:  Landing the Job

This document includes the following sections:

  • Overview (page 1)
  • Purpose of Assignment (page 1)
  • Learn About Core Values (page 1)
  • Creating a Personal Motto (page 1)
  • Short Essay Guidelines (page 2)
  • Case Studies and Prompts (pages 2-5)
  • Short Essay Format Requirements (page 5)
  • Grading Rubric (page 6)
  • Ethical Decision-Making App (page 7)

OVERVIEW:  Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we all have a set of personal values that influence our decision-making process. The ability to identify and examine our values and beliefs makes it possible for us to choose more effectively when confronted with decisions about the life we want to live. Your assignment is to create a personal motto based on your core values and beliefs. The purpose of the short essay is to examine how your personal motto holistically applies to decision-making in your academic, personal, and professional life. You will also determine possible consequences of choices made based on your personal values and beliefs.

PURPOSE OF ASSIGNMENT: The purpose of this assignment is to create a personal motto and apply it to ethical dilemmas. Specifically, you will:

  1. Examine your core values and their origin.
  2. Identify and explain your personal motto for life—your motto is your life-structured guidelines based on your core values (kindness, faith, integrity, fairness, perseverance, balance, respect, achievement, etc.) and core beliefs.
  3. State your position on an ethical issue and identify the consequences of the choice(s).

LEARN ABOUT CORE VALUES: Open and read the document titled “Values Inventory.”  Follow the guidelines given to determine your top five values. If you do not have enough groupings to have five top values, determine at least your top three values.

CREATING A PERSONAL MOTTO:  A personal motto is life-structure guidelines based on our core values and beliefs. We can use this to help us guide our words and actions.  After you have identified your top three to five core values, create a short sentence or phrase that symbolizes your beliefs and how you would like to live your life.

SHORT ESSAY GUIDELINES: Follow the steps below when composing your responses: 

  1. Read and complete the Values Inventory. Determine your top three to five core values.
  2. Please select ONE of the following ethical case studies below and respond to each question accompanying your selected dilemma in a paragraph format.
  3. Save responses in a Word document.

CASE STUDIES AND PROMPTS

CASE STUDY #1:  Landing the Job

Polishing resumes, completing applications, and waiting for invitations to be interviewed and offered jobs can be a stressful, yet exciting time.  For many college students, finding a job within a chosen career field after graduation can be an intimidating task—especially when competing with candidates that have years of experience. The National Career Development Association reported that college students sometimes embellish achievements on job applications to gain an edge over other applicants.

  1. Explain the ethical dilemma in this case study.
  2. If you were in this position, would you embellish on a resume and job application in order to have an edge over other applicants? In other words, is this a harmless “white lie” that people tell?
  3. Briefly list and explain your top three to five core values. Explain why these values are important to you and where you believe you learned them. Then, share your personal motto, your life-structured guidelines. 
  4. Does your decision regarding embellishing on a resume or job application honestly represent your personal motto?
  5. Identify some of the consequences that could occur if you follow or reject your personal values and beliefs.
  6. Now that you have examined your core values and beliefs, discuss what you have learned or relearned from this reflection.


CASE STUDY #2:  Freedom of Speech?

A college education requires students to examine a number of ideas from a variety of topics.  It is often the case that college students encounter novel and unfamiliar ideas that they may experience as surprising, uncomfortable, upsetting, or even offensive.  Many students push back against these ideas and insist that a college campus should be a “safe space” in which they are protected from ideas they consider to be damaging.  These students often favor restricting forms of speech which they consider harmful and argue that the learning environment is compromised by incorporating ideas that might be offensive or biased toward certain groups of people.  Other students advocate for an open exchange in which difficult or upsetting ideas are examined and debated, even if it means allowing speech that others consider biased or offensive.

[Adapted from survey results conducted via telephone interviews from Feb. 29 – March 15, 2016: Gallup. (2016). Gallup Free Expression on Campus: A Survey of U.S. College Students and U.S. Adults]  

  1. Explain the ethical dilemma in this case study.
  2. If you had to choose, would you support creating a positive learning environment by prohibiting forms of speech or expression of viewpoints that are offensive or biased toward certain groups?  Or, would you support creating an open Learning environment in which students are exposed to all types of viewpoints, even if it means allowing expression that others consider offensive or biased toward certain groups?
  3. Briefly list and explain your top three to five core values. Explain why these values are important to you and where you believe you learned them. Then, share your personal motto, your life-structured guidelines. 
  4. Does your position align with your personal motto or contradict it?
  5. Identify some of the consequences that could occur if you follow or reject your personal values and beliefs.
  6. Now that you have examined your core values and beliefs, discuss what you have learned or relearned from this reflection.

CASE STUDY #3:  Social Media Use

College students are often away from home, family, and the communities in which they spent their youth for the first time.  In this way, college offers many students the opportunity to recreate their sense of self and how they portray that self to the world. Social media complicates this natural maturing process by offering students the ability to create an online persona that does not accurately represent their true experience and self.  Moreover, we know that almost all college students are social media users. 

Within identity management, it is important to recognize that each person has both a public self (shared with others) and a private self (hidden from others). In effort to create the “face” we desire in public—we often seek to create socially approved images. However, disinhibition, the tendency to transmit messages without considering their consequences (Adler, 2015) happens more often in mediated channels, such as emails, text messages, and website postings than face-to-face. According to a January 2018 Pew Research Center report, 88% of adults ages 18 – 29 use social media.  Social media allows students to highlight only the best, or even false, parts of their lives and to keep other, less desirable, qualities hidden.

  1. Explain the ethical dilemma in this case study.
  2. Do you believe you have a responsibility to censor what you post, like, and share on social media? If so, to what extent? If not, explain your position. When using social media is it important to maintain an authentic representation of your real life or is there no harm in embellishing your life to make it seem the best it possibly can? 
  3. Briefly list and explain your top three to five core values. Explain why these values are important to you and where you believe you learned them. Then, share your personal motto, your life-structured guidelines. 
  4. Does your online persona accurately represent your personal motto? Explain.
  5. Identify some of the consequences that could occur if you follow or reject your personal values and beliefs.
  6. Now that you have examined your core values and beliefs, discuss what you have learned or relearned from this reflection.


CASE STUDY #4:  Do I have to conform to others’ expectations? 

It’s human nature—everyone wants to fit in. We want to feel comfortable, accepted, and loved.  We want to experience our college years to fullest and make lasting friendships and great memories.  However, we are confronted with a picture of campus life that gives the impression that typical evenings for college students involve keg stands, sweaty, packed basements, endless supplies of potent drinks, and relationships that start and end with casual sex.

During freshman year, many students must ask themselves how far they are willing to go in order to achieve popularity and fit in with the crowd.  What if the “party and hook-up” culture doesn’t suit you?  How much of yourself are you willing to forfeit in pursuit of “the college experience”? 

[Adapted from: Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. (2014, October 7). Five Ethical Dilemmas Freshmen Face]

  1. Explain the ethical dilemma in this case study.
  2. Do you have to conform to others’ expectations in the pursuit of “the college experience?”
  3. Briefly list and explain your top three to five core values. Explain why these values are important to you and where you believe you learned them. Then, share your personal motto, your life-structured guidelines. 
  4. How does your personal motto affect your decision in the kind of situations discussed in this case study?
  5. Identify some of the consequences that could occur if you follow or reject your personal values and beliefs.
  6. Now that you have examined your core values and beliefs, discuss what you have learned or relearned from this reflection.

SHORT ESSAY FORMAT REQUIREMENTS

  • Include your chosen case study number and name in the title of your essay.
  • Do not include each original question; simply respond to each prompt in a paragraph format using Word document.
  • Be sure to examine the case study and write in 1st person (“I”) perspective.
  • An appropriate length is 300-400 words (approximately two to three paragraphs); Double-spaced using 12-point Times New Roman or Calibri font.
  • Use grammatically correct sentences.
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