5 Ethical Practices To Keep In Mind
When I first started university, I recalled completing an online compulsory module about the university’s regulations and code of ethics for students. Another time ethics has appeared was when I was tested in my exams on ethical scenarios that could occur in the workplace.
There are various codes of ethics and boards regulating professionals to adhere to these rules. Ethics in this context will not necessarily only refer to these rules, but reference will be made to virtue ethics as well.
So, what does ethics look like for students or anyone who will eventually go off into the working world?
Remember that compulsory module I mentioned earlier? One of the main practices emphasized in this module was academic integrity. In short, academic integrity involves being honest and avoiding plagiarism when undertaking assignments. The rationale presented is that ‘cheating’ your way through the system not only does a disservice to your lecturers but also to you as a student. By practicing academic dishonesty, students will miss out on the opportunity to improve on their learning styles and skills.
Integrity also applies to life outside one’s academics. According to Ethics Unwrapped, acting with integrity refers to “understanding, accepting, and choosing to live by one’s principles, which will include honesty, fairness, and decency.” Integrity will bring us far, as we will become more aware of our actions and the impact they can have. Additionally, there will be consequences (the severity depending on the action) when we do not act with integrity.
Going to university is often seen as a step towards becoming independent. This may be the first time some of us are living away from home and we will take the responsibility in making our own choices. Gaining autonomy involves getting to know ourselves and standing up for what we believe in. During this process, we will get to explore more about who we are and develop our own identity through this process. As students develop their sense of self, their confidence and self-direction will increase.
Do good, be kind
“Beneficence” is an ethical principle that involves taking action while keeping the welfare and best interests of others in mind. Though it is mostly cited as an ethical principle in a professional work context, beneficence can also be applied in our day-to-day.
Kindness is a form of virtue ethic, an important trait, and principle to live by. This journal article advocated for ‘kindness ethics’: caring for the well-being and happiness of both the individual and others. Being kind not only involves moral obligations, but also the moral feelings and the emotional motivations of virtues. In short: be a decent human being and help one another out!
What does responsibility mean in this context? It can refer to taking responsibility for our actions towards our peers, our bosses/those in authority, or a duty owed to ourselves to do our best. We will also be responsible for our expenses, well-being, tasks, assignments — and managing all that with our expectations, time to rest, and spending quality time with our loved ones.
Being responsible will also help us to make time to meet our own needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a five-tier model of human needs, which consists of: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
When we get to university, this is the time where we will meet a lot of people and learn how to work (or co-exist) with each other.
Aside from being responsible for our individual work, we will also have to work with our peers, collaborate, and learn to respect each other’s views. The cohesion between the members and the team leader will contribute to the overall team dynamic and effectiveness of the group. Who knows — the process of working together could also be an opportunity for you to make new friends!
A quote by Hellen Keller says, Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. Working together is also an opportunity to form more and greater connections with our peers. Being a team player is an essential skill not just in university, but also in our future workplace and personal lives as well.
These are some of the recommended ethical practices for students to practice. These principles can be applied not just during university, but also in our daily lives. University is a time of growth for many of us, and I hope that these 5 ethical principles can inspire you to be the best version of yourself!
The ethical practices above were adapted from these links: