Ohio State University Creates Ethics Circles

“People don’t always know how to talk about ethics,” said Piers Turner, the Director of the Center for Ethics and Human Values (CEHV) at Ohio State University. “But there is a hankering for ethics once they look at it with something that interests them.”

That is the foundation for Ethics Circle, a new CEHV initiative that began Spring, 2020. The program promises individual project mentoring and the creation of a small, focused group of Ohio State community members who meet monthly to talk ethics over dinner. Faculty, staff, post-docs, and graduate students were invited to apply. Turner was delighted to receive 45 applications for the nine fellowships. The applications spanned 12 of OSU’s 15 colleges and included a healthy mix of graduate students, staff members, faculty and a post-doc. Fellows receive a $500 award for successful completion of their projects. They may also earn a “Teaching Ethics and Human Values” endorsement.

Turner says that the success of the program can be measured by project completions and by fellows’ continued interest. His goal is to build a campus community of people “who are engaging ethics in some serious way in their own work.” That includes staff members. “You can’t build campus culture without them,” Turner said.

Do you know of an innovative ethics program deserving of the NEP Spotlight? Send your idea to Deni Elliott, elliott@mail.usf.edu.

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