Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) Core42 competency of VALUING

Valuing

Valuing is the ability to understand the moral and ethical values of a diverse society, and to understand that many courses of action are guided by value judgments about the way things ought to be. Students should recognize how values develop, how value judgments influence actions, and how informed decision-making can be improved through the consideration of personal values as well as the values of others. They should be able to make informed decisions through the identification of personal values and the values of others and through an understanding how such values develop. They should be able to analyze the ethical implications of choices made on the basis of these values.

After completing the CORE 42, students shall demonstrate the ability to

  • develop an understand the moral and ethical values of a diverse society;
  • develop the ability to analyze the ethical implications of actions and decisions;
  • compare and contrast historical and cultural ethical perspectives and belief systems.
  • utilize cultural, behavioral, and historical knowledge to clarify and articulate a personal value system.
  • recognize the ramifications of one’s value decisions on self and others.
  • recognize conflicts within and between value systems and recognize and analyze ethical issues as they arise in a variety of contexts.
  • consider multiple perspectives, recognize biases, deal with ambiguity, and take a reasonable position.

Community colleges are socially responsible entities that are connected to community, build relationships, involve themselves in activities and include others in those activities.  College members see themselves as responsible citizens and members of society and care about the welfare of students and how they become good members of society.  Therefore, colleges must acknowledge that they do play a role in today’s social climate and must address issues in equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In order to take a pro-active stance on these issues, it is important to understand the meaning behind these words.  Equity is fairness or justice in the way people are treated (Merriam-Webster dictionary online).  In terms of education, equity means “the creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion” (Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California).  Furthermore, institutions must understand that treating everyone equally doesn’t necessarily mean treating everyone in exactly the same way.  As individual needs are met in different ways, some individuals may need more help to get the same chances.  By applying universal strategies presumed to work for all people, colleges are taking an ineffective color-blind approach.

Diversity is the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization (Merriam-Webster dictionary online).  As it relates to education, diversity means “Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).” (Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California).  Throughout history individuals have been persecuted for these differences and still today individuals are discriminated against for the very same reasons.  Colleges must support the efforts of groups working on diversity issues and look at diversity as an important organizational consideration.

Inclusion is the act of including or the state of being included. (Merriam-Webster dictionary online).  Looking at this from the perspective of education, inclusion means “The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.” (Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California).  Colleges have a responsibility to make individuals feel welcome despite difference in values, attitudes, beliefs, and abilities.

At the core of each and every institution, exists the values for which it chooses to represent itself in the course of doing business.  In order to stand strong in an ever changing social climate, it is imperative that each college look at the foundation it is built upon.  What message is being formally communicated through the institution’s mission, vision, core values, and strategic initiatives?  What commitments are the colleges making and are they being upheld?

Without consideration and promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion–many institutional values cannot be upheld.  Colleges must be cautious that they are not simply portraying an image for sake of reputation, but have taken action as evidenced in the ways they have addressed various social issues. In reviewing several community college mission statements, it is clear to see that similar values exist at the top of the list for many institutions.  It is also apparent that an institutions approach to addressing social change can have an impact on the implementation of these commitments.

  • Accessibility. Individuals have the right to a public education and the right to use public facilities as guaranteed civil rights. How does the college ensure that students can obtain an education when they are ready to pursue this endeavor and can do so in an environment where they feel welcome and see no socially related barriers that keep them from entering college?
  • Quality. Many definitions of quality in education exist, testifying to the complex nature of the concept. Many terms have been used synonymously with quality such as efficiency, effectiveness, and equity. Again, reiterating the importance of equity in education. Quality education includes but is not limited to: learners who are supported by their families and communities; environments that are healthy, safe, protective, and provide adequate resources and facilities; content that includes basic life skills; processes through which instructors can facilitate learning and reduce disparities; and outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and positive participation in society. (UNICEF, 2000)  Quality is not only associated with instructors who are knowledgeable in their field of expertise and degree attainment, but with development of well-rounded citizens who can make good choices for themselves and meaningful contributions to their community and society in general.
  • Opportunity. Learning opportunities give individuals the chance to better themselves and have a greater chance for success in life. How do colleges ensure that this opportunity exists for all without asking difficult questions and working to remove perceived and actual barriers?