Graduate Academic Learning Compacts

Year: 2007-2008
College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Philosophy & Religious Studies
Major: Practical Phi & Applied Ethics

Mission Statement:

UNF's M.A. in Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics seeks to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to apply ethical and philosophical reasoning to issues of pressing concern in social, political, and cultural life. This primary objective is pursued through the advanced academic study of applied ethics and moral, social, political, and cultural philosophy so as to develop essential capabilities in ethical decision-making, cultural understanding, and analytic reasoning. The program's aim is excellence in general comprehension of the relation between normative issues and institutional, social, cultural, and political contexts, while equally leading students toward independent and original scholarship. Its philosophical focus consists in (i) applying ethical reflection to specific dilemmas encountered in public and professional life; (ii) understanding the normative and philosophical assumptions that inform our experience of cultural, political, and social phenomena; and (iii) appreciating the complex interconnections between applied and theoretical considerations with regard to social, cultural, and political contexts. The particular relevance of the MA is claimed by addressing issues of immediate social importance, such as health care reform, cloning, stem cell research, the environment, effects of economic globalization, the reach of universal human rights, global terrorism, multiculturalism, race and gender, and the conditions of intercultural and cross-religious dialogue, among others. The department is committed to regular and ongoing self-scrutiny of all its efforts, including its pedagogy, curriculum, recruitment and retention practices, as well as its ability to place its graduates in relevant professions and/or to prepare them for further graduate study.
Student Learning Outcomes:


A [Content/Disciplinary Knowledge and Skills] (1) To achieve a comprehensive, sophisticated, and critical understanding of the major developments and historical traditions in practical philosophy and applied ethics, including relevant ethical, social, political, or cultural theories that define the field. (2) To display mastery in the ability to apply theoretical insights to concrete issues of ethical, social, and professional concern, as addressed in areas such as bioethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, government and legal ethics, multiculturalism theory, race and gender theory, globalization theory.


B [Critical Thinking Skills] (1) To display superior critical reasoning and philosophical argumentation skills with regard to conceptual and normative analysis. (2) To be able to understand and critically assess the specific expectations in diverse professional fields and social contexts with regard to effective moral reasoning and problem solving, and to apply ethical knowledge to concrete economic, medical, legal, pedagogical, cultural, or governmental issues and contexts.


C [Written Communication Skills] (1) To master the methods and argumentative procedures needed to develop a sustained, thesis-driven, well-argued and convincing argument with relevant evidence and examples as well as possible objections and argumentative alternatives to one?s thesis. (2) To be able to support a thesis in practical philosophy and applied ethics that provides an in-depth analysis of some concrete problem or problems in economic, medical, legal, pedagogical, cultural, or governmental contexts.

Curriculum Map:

Assessment Approaches:

Graduate Assessment proceeded by reviewing the research papers for the two Proseminars that are required in the first year of our two-year program: - Fall 07: Proseminar 1: Practical Philosophy in Culture & Society; - Spring 08: Proseminar 2: Methods in Applied Ethics. All papers written for each Proseminar (6 for PS1, 4 for PS2) were independently reviewed by two colleagues. Different faculty reviewed each course. All reviewers are members of the Graduate Committee. Faculty reviewers were not involved in teaching the course. The GLOs used were revised in Fall 07 based on previous findings. They proved valuable assessment tools. Minor additional revisions were suggested and will be taken up in Fall Graduate Committee meeting. The analyses undertaken (specifically detailed in the outcome section) led to the following two intervention measures: (1) Require of students to provide an abstract or short argumentative draft of the research paper. (2) Provide students with a clarification of philosophical research expectations. The interventions are intended to kick in for 08/09, beginning in fall 08 with the next installment of the Proseminar 1 and be continued for Proseminar 2 in spring 09. They will be assessed throughout the year for each course.