The basic public speaking course is often taught from a standpoint of effectiveness. That approach can be problematic due to the dangers of technique. The use of ethics as a foundation for public speaking can overcome this drawback and has other advantages. Included in these advantages are its fidelity to the subject matter, promoting more responsible use of power, improved fit with the liberal arts mission of higher education, and better meeting student needs.

Issues in implementing an ethics-based course are discussed, such as identifying ethical issues and engaging in dialogue. The model is illustrated through a description of one introductory public speaking course that was recently restructured to meet this philosophy.