Association of College Honor Societies


A Matter of Ethics


The Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) is spearheading this national ethics project in an effort to unite member societies to further one of our most important common goals: To lend support and encouragement to promising young adults as they strive to meet their full potential as future leaders in their respective fields.

Such potential is found not on the surface of a person, where the worthy goals of achievement and knowledge shine brightly for all to see. Instead, a person's full potential can only be reached by building upon the core of one's character, by encouraging honesty, trustworthiness, integrity... ethics.

Because these issues cross all academic lines, you can exercise your creativity to promote the project across professional boundaries. We hope you'll take advantage of this unique opportunity to collaborate with your ACHS honor society peers.


1. Commit to a leadership role in increasing campus and community awareness of ethical standards.

2. Engage in a dialogue between student groups regarding ethical issues.

3. Promote, encourage, and strengthen commitment to ethical behaviors at all levels of the campus community.

4. Serve as role models of ethical behavior.

5. Pursue the art and practice of making ethical decisions, and provide learning opportunities for ethical leadership among peers.

6. Learn, share, and follow ACHS guidelines for resolving ethical dilemmas.

7. Increase knowledge of and appreciation for professional codes of ethics within your discipline.


1. Sponsor a public forum on Ethics. Use panel format composed of prominent community leaders (e.g., business, industry, education, clergy, etc.).

2. Develop a Speakers Bureau of community leaders who will serve as guest lecturers for individual classes. Publicize the list and distribute throughout the academic community.

3. Select a film that depicts ethical and/or unethical behavior. Advertise free film, provide childcare, popcorn, etc. Following film, divide attendees into small groups and provide discussion questions about the ethics portrayed in the film. Honor Society members, sponsors, and interested faculty serve as facilitators of groups.

4. Sponsor a campus wide forum on Ethics. Various disciplines inform attendees about their respective professional code of ethics (e.g., nursing, psychology, business).

5. Sponsor a Commitment to Ethics Day/Week on campus. Secure administrative support for all disciplines to devote all or partial class period to discussing ethics. Examples: philosophy class holds debate on ethical choices, psychology classes discuss behavioral aspects of ethical choices, history classes role play key historical figures who showed moral and ethical courage, drama classes select film (e.g., Man for All Seasons, Chariots of Fire) depicting ethical dilemmas, government classes identify examples of ethical and unethical political figures.

6. Develop and provide a directory of web sites addressing ethical issues.

7. Sponsor a panel, forum, or guest speaker emphasizing the ethical conduct of scholarly research.

8. Cooperate and interface with Student Government Organization to sponsor Ethical Awareness Activities. Spearhead the adoption of an honor code for all student organizations on campus.

9. Locate a reformed violator of an ethical conduct who is willing to give testimony. Provide a forum for this individual to perform a community service. Possibly find this individual through a probation program. If not feasible, invite local law enforcement officials, probation officers, lawyers, etc to share their perceptions.

10. Sponsor an Ethics Hotline for campus inquiries.

11. Spearhead effort for all campus organizations to develop and/or post their code of ethics on selected web pages.

12. Develop, distribute, and analyze a questionnaire identifying ethical issues, concerns, and solutions to faculty. Publish results in school newspaper.

13. Identify a local business, professional, individual, industry, etc. that is recognized in the community for outstanding ethical behavior. Present recognition (i.e. certificate) in an awards ceremony, at an induction ceremony, or banquet. Establish as an annual event. Provide newspaper publicity.

14. Purchase inexpensive T-Shirts with catchy phrase touting ethical behaviors. At a predetermined date, all members wear T-Shirts to classes.

15. Sponsor essay contest on Ethics. Recognize winner at awards program, campus newspaper, local newspaper, and professional society newsletter. If funds are available, provide scholarship for winner.

16. Sponsor booth at Freshman Orientation programs that provide guidelines for ethical behavior on the campus and in the classroom.

17. Sponsor a forum during a national convention on ethics and ways to promote ethical conduct.

18. Publish an article on ethics in the national magazine or newsletter.

19. Provide links to web sites of other organizations that promote ethical conduct (see samples for collaboration below)

20. Include resource on ethical conduct and sample programming ideas to promote ethics in chapter fall mailing.

21. Elementary level. Develop a play (e.g., puppets) illustrating ethical behavior. Provide for elementary schools in community.

22. Sponsor poster contest depicting an ethical concern for elementary children.

23. Select several grade appropriate books that illustrate and emphasize ethical behavior for elementary age children. Volunteer as readers in the classrooms and/or school library.

24. Sponsor poster contest depicting an ethical concern for elementary school children. Follow up with certificates, plaque, newspaper recognition, etc.

25. Middle school. Develop an ‘Is It Cheating?’ checklist. Make liberal use of case studies to illustrate both ethical and unethical behaviors. Distribute to teachers or volunteer to lead a class discussion.

26. High school. Invite members of high school honor societies to roundtable discussion on ethical vs. unethical behaviors. Topics could include plagiarism, ethical vs. unethical use of the internet as a resource, etc.

Ethics Resources

Broken link: Ethics Project Recordings - Arthur Dobrin, Hofstra University

       If you are interested in some ethical dilemmas for discussion, access these recordings. Professor Dobrin would be pleased to have contributions. Contact: [[email protected]]

Resources from Public Information Committee Report 2007 -- Permission has been given for adaptation.

Center for Academic Integrity :
     Integrity Matters - May 2005
     Integrity Matters - September 2005

Institute for College Values:
     Journal of College and Character
The Institute for Business, Technology, and Ethics:

The Institute for Global Ethics:

Dr. Bruce Weinstein, The Ethics Guy - 2005 book, Life Principles: Feeling Good by Doing Good (Emmis Books)

National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good

Gripe and Glee Activity -

Ethical Dilemmas Activity - 

Ethics: 101 Activity - 

Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science:

Ethics Resource Center:

What We Talk About When We Talk About Ethics:

Creating a Code of Ethics -

Intersection of Ethics and the Law -

Business Ethics -

A Guide to Ethical Principles in Business -

United States Office of Government Ethics -

Maurice Young Center for Applied Ethics -

"What is Below the Water Line" by Robert Knowles

"Honor Above All" Anti-Cheating Resources -

The Josephson Institute has assembled a comprehensive suite of materials to help encourage academic integrity in young people, and now you can purchase them over a secure online connection at The centerpiece of a new campaign called "Honor Above All," the new anti-cheating resources include:

To order or get more information, visit or call (800) 711-2670.


A Matter of Ethics Order Form 

Ethics logo - Print quality


Each honor society could develop its own emphasis on this topic. For example,
Sigma Tau Delta - English - plagiarism
Kappa Delta Pi - Education - citizenship
Business honor societies - ethical conduct in business relations


Member societies and other university groups will be given recognition on this Web site. A supplement to the Annual Report will include a description of the program to publicize this ACHS National Project and the participation of members.

Sigma Pi Sigma Ethics Initiative
In October 2004, the physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma met to initiate the celebration of 2005 as the World Year of Physics, as declared by the major physics societies, the UN and both houses of the US Congress.

This kick-off event was a conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in conjunction with several other physics societies. Though many different presentations were given, one of the main themes for the conference was Ethics in Physics. Over the course of the conference, talks were given and workshops and discussions were facilitated covering topics such as Ethics in Physics and the Military, Ethics in Academia, and Ethics in Publication. The presenters were careful not to promote personal ethical views, but rather how to determine one's own ethical views and how to determine if the views of the person and organization fit well together.

The talks and discussions were very informative and raised some issues that may not have been immediately apparent. These in-depth examinations of both personal and organizational ethical stances will make the choices that the conference attendees have to make in the future much easier and better informed.

Some follow-up activities from the Congress include a set of 10 Ethics Recommendations that were approved by the voting delegates at the Congress , as well as the establishment of committee to implement these recommendations as feasible, and an initial group of on-line ethics resources to be expanded.

Ethics Recommendations from the 2004 Sigma Pi Sigma Congress
1) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should issue a resolution stating that ethics education be integrated into the physics program. (70 yes, 15 no) 

2) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should create/disseminate a set of ethics resources including curricula, case studies, and speaker lists. (77 yes, 7 no) 

3) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should expand its efforts to involve alumni and industry in its initiatives to promote career diversity. (47yes, 34 no) 

4) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should assign a committee to investigate existing professional society and publisher statements and guidelines regarding ethics, with an eye to endorsing these or modifying them for our use. (68 yes, 14 no)

5) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS publications should have ethics-based guidelines, including those that recognize students' roles in publications. (72 yes, 7 no)

6) As an honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should have a disciplinary procedure for those who violate the standards of the society. (60 yes, 20 no)

7) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should issue a statement on the importance of achieving diversity in physics. (67 yes, 11 no) 

8) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should expand its general portfolio of programs and resources to include those targeted at groups under-represented in physics. (73 yes, 8 no) 

9) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should issue a statement recommending that the tenure and post-tenure review process consider more strongly the tenure candidate's impact on student development. (50 yes, 25 no) 

10) Sigma Pi Sigma/SPS should issue a request to chapters that chapters educate and inform students about the tenure process that physics faculty undergo. (57 yes, 22 no) 

Lambda Pi Eta
Simply Speaking featured an ethics article by the 2004-2005 National President Jean Marie Lutkenhouse. The National President and the National Office created an ethics activity guide for chapters to implement on their campuses. The guide will be presented at the 2005 NCA convention in November.

Phi Kappa Phi
The Spring 2003 Phi Kappa Phi Forum dealt with Professional Ethics.
Fall 2004 Phi Kappa Phi Forum - Where is the Honor? and Philosophical Limits: A Question of Ethics* - reprinted by permission of Phi Kappa Phi

Delta Mu Delta
The Delta Mu Delta Vision (Winter 2003) featured articles on Promoting Integrity in Business Decision-Making.

Sigma Beta Delta
The Sigma Beta Delta Aspirations (Fall 2002) featured an article, Questions of Ethics.

Alpha Chi
Alpha Chi's journal the Recorder (Vol. 46, No. 3) has two articles on ethics. One, detailing a campus conflict that made its way into the national press, including the Chronicle of Higher Ed, has a neat angle on how honor society students were instrumental in the resignation of a college president who had altered a student athlete's grade.

Alpha Chi has launched a two-year project to promote academic integrity on its member campuses. Alpha Chi posted information and ideas generated at its most recent national convention at (see links for speech by Dennis Organ, including a PowerPoint presentation).

Tau Beta Pi
Tau Beta Pi - Editorial (pdf)

Sullivan County Community College, Loch Sheldrake, NY
A Civility Steering Group was formed on campus during Fall 2004. The first project was the development of a Student Code of Civility. Consideration is being given to creating a contract that new students will sign in the beginning of their first semester.---Rose Hanofee.

Potomac State College, Keyser, WV
Character Counts materials (  are being used in the Academic Success Center.---Molly Alvaro-Smith.

Mortar Board
The national society has committed chapters to developing collaborative efforts on campus. Other honor societies are encouraged to participate.

Pi Sigma Alpha
Chapters are encouraged to participate in campus-wide honor society activities around the topic of ethics.

Kappa Omicron Nu
Chapters have been encouraged to use the ethics project as a choice in the "required program" initiative. The 2005 Conclave featured program planning for chapter activities that feature "A Matter of Ethics."
    A Matter of Ethics Resolution
    Ethics Powerpoint

Kappa Omicron Nu
Activities featuring "A Matter of Ethics" are available for student or professional use:

    Gripe and Glee Activity - 

    Ethical Dilemmas Activity - 

    Ethics: 101 Activity - 

Preprofessional/Graduate Student Section of the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences
A session at the national meeting in June, 2005 will feature planning for ethics programming on campus in connection with Kappa Omicron Nu and Phi Upsilon Omicron.


A Matter of Ethics - Brochure (pdf)

A Matter of Ethics - Poster (pdf)

Ethics logo - Print quality