Core Values

Lori Carter


Student Materials



Ethics background required: None

This lab is designed to help students identify their values and how choices may reflect those values.

Subject matter referred to in this lab: None

Placement in overall ethics curriculum:

Time required:

Learning objectives:

Ethical dilemma or issue considered

This is an introductory lab. The lab is designed for students to reflect on their values, articulate what might influence a choice and introduce the awareness that others may hold different values. The discussion centers on how a future workplace is chosen (while not really an ethical dilemma- this gives practice identifying the connection between choice and personal values).



Adaptations for using outside of class

Side note on student interactions

In this lab, students are asked to openly discuss their personal values. To encourage authentic engagement with the material and each other, you may need to state some guidelines on expectations of peer-to-peer interaction. Here are two suggestions from “Guidelines For Classroom Interactions”, the Center for Research on Learning & Teaching, University of Michigan,

  1. Understand that your words have effects on others. Speak with care. If you learn that something you have said was experienced as disrespectful or marginalizing, listen carefully and try to understand that perspective. Learn how you can do better in the future.

  2. Understand that others will come to these discussions with different experiences from yours. Be careful about assumptions and generalizations you make based only on your experience. Be open to hearing and learning from other perspectives.

Instructors Guide

Lesson plan

Introduction (to be read or summarized to class)

Your experience in college should help prepare you for your next steps in life. That means that you will increase in knowledge. At this university, we also are concerned that you learn to apply that knowledge in a way that is beneficial to society. Sometimes it is hard to decide what will be beneficial and what will not. To that end you will be presented with opportunities to learn about ways to approach decision making when faced with an ethical dilemma and to practice using those approaches. This short exercise will ask us to think about what we value and apply that knowledge to decision-making. In later labs, we will learn about different frameworks for understanding societal values (aka ethics) and practice using them in making ethical decisions.


Reflection (to be completed in class)

Ask each group to report to what degree answers differed within the group. (2-5 minutes)

Ask several students to share with the class an answer provided by a groupmate that surprised them or caused them to reconsider what values might be important in choosing a future workplace. (2-5 minutes)

Ask students if they can think of an example where it would be important to understand the values of others. One example might be if a person on a team valued punctuality and the team meetings always started late. That could cause irritation on the part of the punctual team member. (2-5 minutes)


Addendum if using the outside of class

Some additional questions

These questions can be added to the ones on the worksheet. (Question 4 is a replacement for question 4 on the worksheet.) Use of an electonic discussion board can facilitate students seeing and responding to other students' responses.

  1. Post two of the values you placed a W by and write two sentences about how those values would influence a job choice for you.

  2. Read the posts from other students in the class. Find a post that is similar to your values. Find a second post that is different from your values. State how they are different and similar. Does either post surprise you? Why or why not?

  3. Consider the two posts you cited in question 5. If you worked with an individual with a post similar to yours, what might be the benefits of working with this person? What could be the deficits?

    If you worked with the individual with the post different to yours, what might be the benefits of working with this person? What could be the deficits?

If your course is a blended format, you could follow up in class with question 6 as a small group discussion.