UCF has launched a new Center for Ethics, the culmination of several years of work by dedicated faculty in the College of Arts and Humanities with the support of the Office of Research.
“Ethics is not simply compliance,” says Jonathan Beever, the center’s founder and director. “Ethics is a way of thinking that engages us with important questions about the values that connect and divide us. Our center aspires to create the kind of environment that will welcome that kind of scholarly approach to ethics and which will facilitate exploring emerging ethical questions across fields.”
To help get the UCF community in this frame of mind, the center hosted a fireside chat with Lisa Lee, a nationally recognized expert on bioethics and ethics education.
The free event on Wednesday, Sept. 25, drew more than 110 attendees.
Lee served as executive director of the Presidential Bioethics Commission during the Obama administration. After working with the White House, she returned to university life and is now the associate vice president of research and innovation, scholarly integrity and research compliance at Virginia Tech. She will talk about the state of ethics in the academic and research world and what the future may hold as technologies advance.
Lee shared thoughts on the state of ethics in academia and research and what kinds of questions institutions and individuals in scholarly pursuits should be asking. She and the founders of the center also answered questions from the audience.
“Being ethical is not about checking some training box, but about giving us time and tools to directly address these questions,” Beever said. “That’s the vision we have here.”
Beever, is an assistant professor of ethics and digital culture in philosophy and texts and technology. He joined UCF in 2015 as a specialist in ethics and reorganized the rapidly growing theoretical and applied ethics graduate certificate program. Beever then began planning the Center for Ethics with co-founder Stephen Kuebler, professor of chemistry and optics, with an award from Faculty Excellence and with support from the Office of Research.
“Ethics, like other disciplines, should be studied and best practices shared to enhance our enterprise,” said Elizabeth Klonoff, vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. “That’s why I’m pleased to house the center in our Office of Research and help share its mission with the entire campus.”
The center is guided by an advisory board made up of faculty experts from the Department of Philosophy and faculty representatives from multiple disciplines. The center will host more speaker events, interdisciplinary workshops, research projects and volunteer opportunities aimed at helping the UCF community gain a richer understanding of ethics and how it applies in the world.
“For more than a decade, faculty members in the Department of Philosophy have been laying the groundwork for an ethics center that could benefit the entire university and community,” says Nancy Stanlick, professor of philosophy and associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “We are all so pleased to have the support from the College of Arts and Humanities, the Office of Research, and Faculty Excellence and to see it come to fruition.”
For more information about the Center for Ethics click here.