Values and Ethics
Let’s take a
What do you believe in?
Who do you care about?
What motivates you?
Are you a spiritual person?
Why are you really in college?
How do you tell the
difference between right and wrong?
What are values?
They are the ideas and beliefs about life
that guide us to do what we do and be
what we are…
They can be about:
Being of service
And so on…
Different kinds of Values
• Values you hold for yourself but
don’t force on others such as right
vs. wrong, honesty vs. dishonesty,
being of service to others
• Personal standards of beauty as
seen in nature, art, music, personal
• Benchmarks you set for yourself
such as accuracy, speed, reward for
achievement, self-discipline and
Means & Ends Values
Instrumental Values (the means):
• Objectives used to reach goals such as
being responsible, obedient, loving,
ambitious, independent, honest
Intrinsic Values (the end):
• Personal happiness, a comfortable life,
personal freedom, true friendship, a
Having good friends
Having a positive relationship
Having self-respect & the
respect of others
Being financially secure
Making a meaningful
contribution to mankind
Being a moral person
Being a great athlete
Being physically attractive
Being personally responsible
Getting along well with people
Having freedom and
Being well educated
Having peace of mind
Getting recognition (being
Being a good citizen
Having strong family ties
Being honest & having
Being dedicated and
Values for College Success
Connecting your personal values to being
successful in college:
• Clarify your values to be sure you really understand
As strange as it may seem, many people operate on values
without thinking them through.
Truly understanding your values is key to applying them
successfully in college, in a career, or in life.
• Make a forthright self-evaluation
Are your values workable in college?
Do you need to change or re-figure them?
• If necessary, change your values to make them more
productive and effective…
The Eleventh Commandment
Thou shalt not
Challenges to your Values
At college, you are going to meet new people whose values
may be quite different, if not totally opposite, to your own.
• You may be politically liberal and find yourself
befriending a staunch conservative.
Are you going to pass judgment and walk away?
Or are you going to be tolerant and try to see the person in
a new way?
Tolerance is a very positive trait, but even it can be carried
If you see your new friend show a really self-destructive
tendency, like excessive drinking, it is probably best not to
aid and abet them in their weakness, but rather to tell them
what you really think.
Your challenge is to balance your personal welfare, your
tolerance for diversity and your freedom of choice.
Values in Conflict: Dualisms
Values of a society are often in conflict:
• Poverty vs. “Rugged Individualism”
• The Death Penalty vs. Deterrence of Major Crimes
• And so on…
An individual’s values can also be in conflict, often
personal values reflect the two-sided nature of our
culture’s unresolved contradictory values.
Who is right? Who is wrong? – These are a matter of
individual choice, based on both conscience and
careful critical thinking.
Think on this duality:
• Earning excellent grades in college is critical to
success in life.
• The most important decision you make in college
is about the kind of person you want to be.
“Grades?” Or “Who do you want to be?” How do you
resolve this enigma?
Changing Society, Changing Values
American values are changing, caused by:
• Demographic changes caused by much immigration from
• Globalization of the world economy
• Growing environmental concerns
• Political polarization
• Breakup of the family
• Computer technology and the Internet
• The Feminist movement
• Federal intervention in state’s rights
• And on and on…
All of these, and many more, will greatly affect the values
of the individual.
Think about your legacy…
In order to aid you to understand if you are truly
living up to your values, Stephen Covey, author
of the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Successful
People, suggests you ask yourself this question:
• Imagine that you are attending your own funeral,
looking down at yourself in the casket.
• After you sit down, four people:
A family member
Someone from your church or community organization
give a eulogy for you.
• What would you want them to say about you?
Value Assessment Web Resources
College Success Factors Index
Steps to Successful Career Planning
Journal of College and Character
Rutgers Value Assessment
Ohio Learning Network: Values Assessment
Values & Ethics
In the preceding presentation about values, the
words morals and morality came up regularly.
Is there a connection between morality and
Generally, the words are used interchangeably.
There is, however, a difference:
• Morality is usually more theoretical; it is a philosophical
• Ethics are the practical application of morality in daily
The difference is that of theory and practice.
If a person has a moral character, he or she will
generally deal with other people in an ethical
A 28 Day Project
In order to determine what you believe is the most
important personal value of all, here is a method originally
developed by the ancient Greeks for determining something
At the same time every day (for instance, upon rising in the
morning or at bedtime) for 28 days, keep a journal and
write down: “The personal value I consider most important
is ______” Try to keep it to as few items as possible. One
thing is best, but if you have several items, write them
down. Limit yourself to no more than three.
At about the 25th or 26th day of the procedure, one
particular value should emerge as the predominant one.
Enjoy, learn and grow!