PRST 5100 / 6100 / 7100

  3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course serves as an introduction to the discipline of ethics and values.  This class explores the various theories and practices that have led to, and continue to dominate the study of ethics and values in public service. Students will display their knowledge of ethics and values in various reading, writing and oratorical assignments throughout the semester.

Course Objectives:

At the end of this course the students will be able to:

  • Discuss the history and development of ethics and values as an academic discipline.
  • Create analytical reasoning techniques that the would apply to their professional career as an administrator in a public or non-profit agency professional career as an administrator in a public or non-profit agency.
  • Analyze emerging issues and trends impacting the ethics and values of public administrators.
Prerequisites and Corequisites:
There are no specific course prerequisites, as this course does not presuppose a background in ethics. This course is a core course in the Master of Professional Studies Degree Program. Enrollment in this course is limited to students who have been admitted into the MPS Program. Other students seeking to enroll in this course must have departmental permission.
Course Topics:

Topics covered within the course include:

  • Introduction to ethics and professional life issues; research and reference tools, professional codes and references, orientation to the course
  • Applied ethics: Ethics assessment, identification of issues, development of options; understanding contextual features of your profession
  • Ethics decision-making models (structured approaches to thinking through ethical dimensions of professional life)
  • The Nature of Professions and Professionalism
  • Role conflicts: professional vs. personal morality
  • Professionals and Clients
  • Deception
  • Informed consent
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Individual and collective responsibility of professionals
  • Compensation and Conflicts of Interest
  • Ethics, communication, and conflict management
  • Issues in global and international contexts
Specific Course Requirements:
Students should be skilled in using a web browser to connect to websites (such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.) and skilled in sending and receiving e-mails with attachments.
Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements
Required Textbooks:
Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:
Supplementary Materials:
A list of other published material the student is required to purchase for the course including lab manuals, lab kits, etc.
Hardware Requirements:
The minimum requirements can be found at Specific hardware requirements for this course include...
Software Requirements:
The minimum requirements can be found at Specific hardware requirements for this course include...(A list of software the student is required to purchase or download for the course, Real Player, Media Player, Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Office, etc).
Instructor Information
Please see the separate page inside the course to find instructor contact information as well as a statement of virtual office hours and other communication information.
Assessment and Grading
Testing Procedures:
This course will have one final exam.
Grading Procedure:
A rubric will be developed for each assignment with the total number of points available. Different assignments may carry different weights. These weights will be defined with each assignment.  
Grading Scale:
The course will consist of 1000 points total. The final grade will be a percentage of the total number of points available listed below:

90- 100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
60-69 = D (The grade of "D" may not be available at all universities.)
59 and Below = F
Assignments and Participation
Assignments and Projects:

Annotated Bibliography                                   100 points

Two Position Papers                                       200 points

Final Exam                                                      100 points

Weekly Assignments                                       100 points

Total                                                               500 points 

Final Grades will be premised on cumulative points as follows: A = 500- 450; B = 449 - 390; C = 389 - 320; D = 319 - 260; F = below 260.

Class Participation:
Students will be expected to participate in the asynchronous discussion forum through WebCT. All assignments must be submitted electronically.

All assignments will be assigned a due date when they are distributed. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a loss of five points from the original point value of the assignment for every 24 hour interval an assignment is late. Assignments must be submitted electronically and therefore will be date and time stamped.

Note: Following explicit directions is an important aspect of graduate school training.  Therefore, it is important that the student follow the stated guidelines in this syllabus, throughout the course of this class, because failure to do so will result in point reductions.  Furthermore, it will probably be to your best interest to submit papers to me before the due date (at least two weeks), so I can make suggestions on how you might want to change your work in order to receive a higher grade.

Late projects will automatically be reduced one letter grade for each day they are late (not class period or week).  If the papers are more than three days late they will not be accepted, period!

Course Ground Rules
Participation is required.  You are expected to communicate with other students and the instructor as part of the course assignments.  You are expected to be able to navigate in WebCT and to keep abreast of course announcements. Observe course netiquette at all times. The student is responsible for ensuring their programs and hardware are compatible with WebCT and acceptable to the instructor.
Guidelines for Communications
  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members
Discussion Groups:
  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of others' ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.
  • Introduce yourself to the other learners in the chat session.
  • Be polite. Choose your words carefully. Do not use derogatory statements.
  • Be concise in responding to others in the chat session.
  • Be prepared to open the chat session at the scheduled time.
  • Be constructive in your comments and suggestion
Web Resources:


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses. 

Students With Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.

Technical Support

Telephone Support:
If you are having problems logging into your course,
timing out of your course, using your course web site tools, or other technical problems, please contact the AskRODP Help Desk by calling

1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

or go to the AskRODP website at: