Contemporary Ethical Issues Board

The Leeward CC Contemporary Ethical Issues Focus (E Focus) Board is responsible for reviewing and approving proposals for E Focus courses and proposals for the renewal of existing E Focus courses.

What is an E Focus Course?

The goal of E Focus courses, at least in part, is to equip students with some degree of proficiency in ethical deliberation. These courses should not be purely descriptive, merely characterizing, for example, the moral beliefs of a person or peoples. Nor is it intended that the pedagogy be value-free, using approaches that maintain an “arms-length” relationship with current ethical issues.

Different academic approaches and methodologies may be used to give students tools for the development of responsible ethical judgments. Approaches might include small group discussions, formal debates, round-table discussions, or Socratic questioning.

E-focus courses may be associated with particular disciplines, professions, and larger enterprises: the ethics of human and animal research, medical ethics, bioethics, biotechnology, business ethics, engineering ethics, ethics in government, or journalistic ethics. Still others might look at ethical issues that emerge at cultural interfaces, such as war, evangelism, colonialism or multicultural societies. Contemporary ethical issues must be fully integrated into the main course content and must be tied to activities that develop students’ proficiency in forming ethical judgments.

Suggested frameworks or approaches to teach your classes are:

•Code-based E-courses take as a central text for the course an explicit code of professional ethics. Successful courses of this type do not simply teach the rules but emphasize the complexities and hard decisions that emerge when the rules are applied in difficult situations.

•Community practice-based courses delineate the ethical concerns in a particular community that are not explicitly codified or are only partially codified. An example would be the ethics of scientific research. Here again, pitfalls and potential double-binds force the student to think ethically rather than just follow a rule.

Ethics-in-everyday-life focused courses may not identify a specific community but may point out ethical dimensions of ordinary practices that we all engage in. For example, participation as a consumer or audience member in economic, cultural performance, or political activities in the public sphere may involve ethical choices that are taken for granted.

Critical ethics courses tend to focus on the more intense issues that have become highly polarized and involve criticism of the status quo in economic, political, and cultural life. For example, current and historical practices that involve a strong sense of injustice, exploitation, and abuse have obvious ethical implications. When the ethical choice is obvious and it is clear that one choice is bad and another good, however, complex ethical decision making may not be involved. A good E-focus course will raise ethical awareness of the issue and challenge the student to confront his or her own certainty about the choices involved and create a class atmosphere in which diverse ideas are encouraged.


E1. Contemporary ethical issues will be presented and studied in a manner that is fully integrated into the main course content.

E2. The disciplinary approach(es) used in the class will give students tools for the development of responsible deliberation and ethical judgment.

E3. Students will achieve basic competency in analyzing and deliberating upon contemporary ethical issues, to help them make ethically determined judgments.

E4. The equivalent of one semester credit-hour, or 30% of a three-credit course, will be devoted to contemporary ethical issues.

E5. A minimum of 8 hours of class time will be spent in discussing contemporary ethical issues.**

E6. The class will be numbered at the 100 level or above.

**For Hallmark 5: there is a different requirement to fulfill the 8 hours of class time discussion between F2F and DE synchronous modalities and DE asynchronous modality. Please see the application form for details.

How do I apply for the E Focus Designation?


Instructor-based Focus Forms are submitted by individual instructors seeking an E-Focus designation for their course or section of a course. Thus, each person who is teaching a section of a course must submit his/her own proposal for approval. New courses satisfying the E-Focus requirements will receive a three (3) years approval period. Renewals will receive a five (5) year approval period.


Course-based Focus Forms are for disciplines with courses that inherently meet the E-Focus Hallmarks. These courses must fit the following criteria:

  1. Inherency of Focus* – All course syllabi demonstrate that the course meets the Hallmarks of the Focus designation requested, either because the Focus is inherently a part of the course content, or because the discipline has dictated that all sections of the course will meet the Focus Hallmarks.

  2. Focus Course Coordinator - The discipline must designate a Course Coordinator who will submit the application form to the Board. The Course Coordinator will ensure that all course instructors are aware of the E-Focus designation and teach the course in accordance with the Focus Hallmarks. The Course Coordinator will report to the Board with a list of instructors teaching each semester.

  3. All sections of the course will be offered as an E-Focus.

The course-based approval period is five (5) years.

•Notes on the "Inherency of Focus" criterion – (1) The course may meet the Hallmarks either because (a) course content dictates it or (b) discipline policy dictates it. (2) Courses that involve content relating to a Focus area but can be taught without meeting all of the Focus Hallmarks do not meet the inherency criterion. For example, a course may involve writing but provide little guided writing instruction. That course is not inherently Writing Intensive. (3) Courses for which one instructor has developed a syllabus that meets the Focus Hallmarks, but which other instructors can teach without meeting all of the Focus Hallmarks, do not meet the inherency criterion.

Existing Courses

If an existing course already addresses ethical issues within a specific field of study, the instructor should apply for an E-Focus designation. Or if instructors are interested in enriching their course content to include discussion over ethical issues in the field, they should consider applying as well.

Instructors should submit the appropriate application form and sample syllabus to the Leeward Community College E-Focus Board. The board accepts applications each semester; the designation will take effect the following term.

Courses Approved S22

Deadlines: Priority and General

The Board has two deadlines per semester: Priority and General.

Priority Deadline: All new applications must be submitted under the Priority deadline. These applications will receive an early review and opportunity to resubmit should it not meet E-Focus guidelines.

If the board determines a Priority application does not meet E-Focus guidelines, the application may be amended and resubmitted one time for reconsideration.

General Deadline: Renewal applications may be submitted under the General deadline. Under this deadline, all applications will not have the opportunity to resubmit should they not meet the E-Focus guidelines.

Terms and Restrictions

  • For first time designees, the E-Focus designation will be given only for a 3-year period. Thereafter, renewals of the previously approved courses will last 5 years at a time.

  • Once given an E-focus designation, the course cannot have a Foundations designation.

  • The course carrying the E-Focus designation must meet the hallmarks each time the course is taught.

Due Dates

For Fall 2022:

Priority Deadline: August 29, 2022

General Deadline: September 19, 2022

Board Members: 2022-2023

Lu‘ukia Archer, Chair
Arts and Humanities

Corey Adler
Social Sciences

Tina Lee

Michael Scully

Susan Waldman
Language Arts

Application Form

(The application forms are located at the bottom of this page.)

Note: The video is dated but includes key points on how to fill out the E Focus Application Form