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University of Iowa News Release

May 3, 2005

Faculty, Students To Discuss Teaching Ethics May 12

A group of 30 University of Iowa faculty and graduate students from 20 different disciplines, will gather on Thursday, May 12, for a workshop on teaching ethics to learn how each disciplines' approach might stimulate critical thinking and discussion in others.

The Ethics Education Roundtable, sponsored by the Center for Teaching and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, will be held in the Gold Room at Oakdale Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is not open to the public, but interested faculty and graduate students may register online (click on "New & Noteworthy") or by phone at 319-335-6048.

The workshop will include faculty and students from disciplines as varied as art and anesthesiology, nursing and military science. Ethics education is required by many professional accrediting organizations including counseling and rehabilitation, education, medicine, social work and law. Since accreditors require programs to demonstrate through performance or competency-based assessments that students comprehend ethics, a regular, campus-wide conversation on this topic is useful.

"Last year, we provided a forum for faculty members and graduate students to wrestle with the challenges of ethics education: how to teach ethics, difficult classroom situations and whether ethics should be or even can be taught," said Wilfrid Nixon, director of the Center for Teaching and professor of civil and environmental engineering. "This year's roundtable will focus on story-based approaches to teaching ethics."

Cheryl Erwin, assistant professor of biomedical ethics in Medicine and the Humanities, will speak on using case studies to discuss ethics. Nancy Hauserman, associate dean in the Tippie College of Business, will speak using movies to help teach ethics and Susan Lawrence, professor of history, will speak on texts and contexts.

Jay Semel, director of the Obermann Center, noted that the teaching of ethics is central to the university's mission. "Knowledge carries with it extraordinary power," he said. "It is that power that requires professors and all other professionals to know how to act ethically."

The Center for Teaching promotes and supports instruction by workshops and consultations and assessments to University of Iowa faculty members and graduate students.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies supports interdisciplinary scholarly and pedagogical projects and seminars, often working in collaboration with UI departments and centers.  

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,