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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sharon E. Sutton
ARCH 577
Seattle Campus

Ethical Practice

Helps students develop ethical reasoning skills. Examines the sociology of professional practice leading to and understanding of the dilemmas associated with serving a diverse society. Reviews exemplary case studies in ethical practice. Communication skills developed through writing and dialogue, and creation of an exhibit exploring an ethical issue. Offered: W.

Class description

This seminar begins with two fundamental assumptions about place and placemaking:

1) Place has profound relevance for human well-being and for the attainment of a democratic society. 2) The ethical values of professional placemakers often reflect unrecognized biases in their disciplinary training.

The seminar asks you to unpack some of these biases so as to better advance sustainable, just conditions for all members of society. Its primary purpose is to help you hone your moral reasoning skills so you can develop a critical perspective on the ethical issues you will confront as a professional placemaker in an increasingly complex global society.

Student learning goals

(1)Learn about ethical theories related to the environment;

(2) Develop a critical awareness of the culture of professionalism and its grounding in (unsustainable) Western, scientific values;

(3)Have exposure to emerging strategies for making sustainable places;

(4)Begin to articulate your own ethical framework, especially through the student-generated discussions and a position paper; and

(5)Improve your communication skills, which are essential to exploring alternative ethical positions.

General method of instruction

This seminar is intended to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue across multiple ethical perspectives on the environment. It requires weekly completion of assignments and discussions among peers (half of the grade) that will help students successfully complete a position paper (the other half of the grade). To encourage multiple ethical perspectives, interactive lectures that expand on the readings are balanced with discussions of student-generated ethical delimmas. The interactive lectures last about 70 minutes, the discussions of dilemmas last about 40 minutes, with a 10-minute break in between. Students present a draft position paper at midterm, and a refined version at the end of the term. Because of the interactive nature of the seminar, only one absence is permitted.

Recommended preparation

Enrollment in a Masters or PhD degree program or by permission of the instructor

Class assignments and grading

50 PERCENT OF THE GRADE Participating in all seminar sessions, Completing—and basing discussions upon—assigned interdisciplinary readings, Posing several ethical dilemmas on place-related issues that interest you,

50 PERCENT OF THE GRADE Completing a short well-written position paper on one such dilemma.

Informed participation in class discussion Carrying out preparatory activities for completing the position paper Comnpleting of a well-written position paper.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Sharon E. Sutton
Date: 09/17/2007