- Compass for Uncharted Lives: A Model for Values Education
Compass for Uncharted Lives, by Donald Kirby, describes the development and implementation of a broadly applied program of values education at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. Kirby was the founder and the director of Le Moyne’s Center for the Advancement of Values Education (CAVE), the locus of a comprehensive program of values development, the Values Project.
The Values Project had three main components: the Working Group on Values, the Values Institutes, and the Academic Forum. The three components were connected by an annual theme, which provides a common focus for programs and activities. Themes during the early years of the Values Project included “Peace and War,” “Families and Public Policy,” and “Science, Technology, and Values.” At Le Moyne, the Values Project is seen as an evolving set of activities and programs, dynamic, and adjusting to changing circumstances and conditions—not static
The first component, Working Group on Values, began as a small group of faculty members who met to identify what they found necessary for values education in the classroom. They initially designed and coordinated the development of goals and direction for what became the CAVE model, then provided continuing evaluation and feedback as the model evolved.
The Values Institutes, the second component, were intended to gather the college community and engage its members on values development. These institutes were first intended to help students recognize and confront values issues; later they were extended into summer institutes for faculty. Their effect was to bridge gaps that might seem to be barriers to understanding or collaboration addressing gaps, for example, between disciplines, between senior administrators and faculty, or between students and the local community.
The activities of the Academic Forum, the third component, were intended to develop connections on values issues beyond the classroom. The forum sponsored a series of events to address specific values issues, using different formats to help students connect classroom material and activities to the real experiences of students. Forum activities were nicely student centered.
Kirby identifies several other common values education initiatives from the literature and compares them with the CAVE model (the Values Project). These alternate approaches include values clarification, learning communities, service learning, and ethics across the curriculum. He points out that values clarification activities and programs help students become sensitive to and aware of values issues. However, the Values Project has a broader approach and involves the application of values and their interaction with real world situations.
As Kirby discusses learning communities, he explains that their central function is the development of community and the elimination of barriers between disciplines. The Values Project programs, by contrast, support student learning of the values dimensions of issues with the associated second step of applying them in practical settings.
Kirby also evaluates service learning as having the learning objective of citizenship. He agrees that it adds an experiential component to learning. However, Kirby argues that service learning does not give the explicit attention to values aspects of social and community issues as the Values Project does.
His fourth and final comparison of values-related activity is ethics across the curriculum. He describes them as broad-based programs that are intended to promote ethical thinking by students by exploring ethical issues across many disciplines. Kirby distinguishes the Values Project from ethics across the curriculum by pointing out the annual college-wide theme, which gives focus to the year’s programs.
This book makes a very useful contribution to the literature of higher education. Many institutions, particularly those that are private and religiously affiliated, see their mission as influencing their students to develop particular values. Kirby provides a step-by-step description of how the program at Le Moyne was designed, implemented, and maintained; and his purpose is to show how others could replicate it. [End Page 430]
He makes the case for specific replications of the Value Project at a hypothetical medical college, a law school, and a...