Co-Director, The WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society
Faculty Sponsor, WMU Ethics Bowl Team
Member of the advisory board for WMU's Research Ethics Resource Center
325 Sprau Tower
Education: Ph.D., Indiana University
Areas of Expertise: Communication ethics, Media theory
Sandra L. Borden, Ph.D., Professor of Communication, specializes in media ethics. She teaches ethics, media criticism and freedom of expression. Her work has been published in several scholarly books and journals, including The Handbook of Mass Media Ethics, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics and Communication Monographs. Her book, Journalism as Practice: MacIntyre, Virtue Ethics and the Press, won the2008 Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award and the National Communication Association’s 2008 top book award in applied ethics. Her other books are Ethics and Entertainment: Essays on Media Culture and Media Morality (co-edited with Howard Good, 2010, McFarland) and Making Hard Choices in Journalism Ethics (with David Boeyink, 2010, Routledge). Borden is on the executive board of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and is active in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is co-director of WMU’s Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, faculty sponsor of WMU’s Ethics Bowl team, and associate editor of the journal Teaching Ethics. She has a Ph.D. in mass communications from Indiana University and an M.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University.
Short-term faculty exchange, University of Passau (Germany). Summer 2010. Given annually by the WMU Haenicke Institute for Global Education. Awarded housing and access to the university for one month to lecture and to develop collaborative relationships for future scholarship.
Winner, 2008 Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award, given annually by the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research in recognition of scholarship highlighting important theoretical issues in the areas of ethics. For her book Journalism as practice.
Winner, 2008 Award for Top Book in Applied Ethics, given annually by the National Communication Association’s Communication Ethics Division. For her book Journalism as practice.
Top Three Finalist, 2008 Tankard Book Award, given annually by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Standing Committee on Research to the best book written by an AEJMC member. For her book Journalism as practice.
2006 Media Ethics Colloquium Fellowship to participate in colloquium hosted by the University of St. Thomas, the seventh in a series of colloquia aimed at enhancing scholarship in applied media ethics.
Western Michigan University's Faculty Research and Creative Activities Support Fund, $2,672, 1999. For research project entitled "Argument patterns in the ethical discourse of journalists."
Five years as an award-winning education reporter and editorial page editor at a small community daily in Missouri and at The Jackson (TN) Sun, a 40,000-circulation daily newspaper owned by Gannett.
Her husband is the forensics and debate coach at Portage Central High School and teaches part time in the Communication School at WMU. They have a daughter, Katie, and a son, Zach.
In her teaching, she emphasizes critical thinking about communication practices and encourages students to imagine better ways to fulfill their professional and personal responsibilities. Her style is one of guided self-discovery: She is a coach as well as a teacher, helping students to ask good questions in order to come up with answers that are meaningful to them in their own lives. She fosters and evaluates critical thinking through a discussion format, writing assignments, and active learning activities, such as role playing and group work.
Examines the various functions and writings of contemporary media critics and establishes criteria for evaluating media content and critical methods. Students will read, view and listen to a variety of media content, including television and radio programs, newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements, films, documentaries and Web pages.
Ethical theories and justification models are studied and related to ethical decision making in a variety of communication contexts, including mass communication, organizational communication, and interpersonal communication. The course will examine the components of good ethical decision making in communication, as well as obstacles that can stand in the way of responsible choices
Her research focuses on journalism ethics. Her most recent work focuses on the application of virtue theory and communitarian theory to the practice of journalism. She is the author of three books. Her research on journalism ethics has also been published in several books and journals, including The handbook of mass media ethics, A philosophical approach to journalism ethics, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and Communication Monographs. She is the associate editor of the journal Teaching Ethics and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. She also has developed instructional materials for the teaching of research ethics and academic ethics.
Boeyink, D.E, & Borden, S.L. (2010). Making hard choices in journalism ethics: Cases
and practice. New York: Routledge.
Good, H., & Borden, S.L. (Eds.). (2010). Ethics and entertainment: Essays on media
culture and media morality. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
Borden, S.L. (2010). The moral justification for journalism. In Meyers, C. (Ed.), A
philosophical approach to journalism ethics (pp. 53-68). New York: Oxford
Borden, S.L. (2010). Documentary tradition and the ethics of Michael Moore’s SiCKO.
In H. Good & S.L. Borden (Eds.), Ethics and entertainment: Essays on media culture
and media morality (pp. 177-194). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.
Borden, S.L. (2009). Journalism as practice: MacIntyre, virtue ethics and the press.
Paperback edition. New York: Routledge (paperback edition).
Borden, S.L. (2009). Is citizen engagement a moral responsibility? In C. Edwards & A.E.
Lyons (Eds.), Communication and community engagement (pp. 11-16). Kendall
Hunt Publishing. Workbook for use in COM 1000, the School of Communication’s
basic course of the same title.
Borden, S.L. & Bowers, P. (2008). Ethical tensions in journalism: What the press has in
common with other professions. In Wilkins, L., & Christians, C.G. (Eds.), The Handbook of
Mass Media Ethics (pp. 353-365). New York: Routledge.
Borden, S.L. (2007). Journalism as practice: MacIntyre, virtue ethics and the press,
Ashgate Studies in Applied Ethics series (M. Davis, ed.). Hampshire, England:
Ashgate Publishing (hardcover edition).
Borden, S.L. & Tew, C. (2007). The role of journalist and the performance of
journalism: Ethical lessons from “fake” news (seriously). Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 22 (4),
Borden, S.L. (2007). Mapping ethical arguments in journalism: An exploratory study.
Mass Communication & Society, 10 (3), 275-297.
Borden. S.L. (2007). Responsible journalistic inquiry: The Paper. In Good, H. (Ed.),
Journalism ethics goes to the movies (pp. 9-18). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.