Proceedings of
Conference on Values in Higher Education

Ethics and the College Curriculum:
Teaching and Moral Responsibility

April 11-13, 1996

University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN


This is the first of a series of three yearly conferences to be held on the campus of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The 1997 conference is titled Institutional Ethics: The Moral Dimension of University Policy; the 1998 conference, Stewardship and Selfishness: The Moral Roots of Accountability.

This conference addressed such questions as: Does and should the university, deliberately or otherwise, shape the values of its students? By what means and to what effect does it do so? Are there ethical values that the university is obliged to impart? What are the special challenges of a large state school in these regards?

The conference featured papers by five plenary speakers: David Miller, Watson-Ledden Professor of Religions, Syracuse University; Louis Ruprecht, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Emory University; Bruce Jennings, Executive Director, Hastings C enter for Society, Ethics, and the Law; John Guillory, Professor of English, John Hopkins University; and Vincent Harding, Professor of Religion, Iliff School of Theology. In addition 30 briefer papers were presented.

Below is a list of the presenters, their presentation titles and brief abstracts:

  • Jeffrey P. Aper
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Environmental Ethics and the Ethical Environment of the Curriculum

    The modern environmental movement emphasizes community, cooperation, and conservation over individualism, competition, and consumption. Undergraduate education clearly encompasses how society will answer such questions regarding the means and ends of human existence.

  • E. Grady Bogue
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Moral Outrage and Other Servants of Quality

    Effective quality assurance in universities is more than systems and technique--more than accreditation and program reviews, rankings and ratings, and total quality management. It is as much personal and ethical as systemic and technical. This presentation will reveal how the ethical posture--the caring, the character, the courage--of faculty and administrators can enhance and impede the call of quality in higher education.

  • Kathy Emmett Bohstedt
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Showing Up Sober Isn't Enough

    Academic freedom is a precious right grounded in a duty to grow intellectually, to mature as scholars, to pass on to students material that has been recently re-thought, re-researched, and revised.

  • Alvin G. Burstein
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Eros and the Classroom

    The ancient recognition of a link between erotic and educational relationships is contrasted to more contemporary views and reconstrued in the light of a psychoanalytic view of human nature.

  • David W. Carrithers
    University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

    Political Science and the Teaching of Values

    Freedom of inquiry is best supported when political science professors check their biases at the classroom door and refrain from values laden presentations and politicizations of the issues they cover.

  • Ray F. Carroll
    Dalhousie University

    Integrity-The Organizing Principle

    Developing the moral dimension is central to what it means to being an educated person. This paper argues that integrity is the organizing principle needed to guide both accounting education and accounting practice.

  • Richard M. Clewett, Jr.
    Eastern Kentucky University

    Flourishing Virtues--Intellectual and Other: A Consideration of the Proper Focus of Higher Education

    All teachers and educational institutions promulgate certain intellectual and moral values. These are best made explicit so that they can be more effectively built into the curriculum and transmitted and so that they are exposed to the safeguard of public discussion.

  • Jo Lynn Cunningham
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Conflict Management in Education: The Hidden Curriculum of the University

    Teaching about relationships in general and the management of conflict in particular is part of the hidden curriculum of the university and ways we do reflect values. Are they morally responsible ones?

  • Cleora J. D'Arcy
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Teaching Professional Ethics in Agriculture Curricula

    A course to convey professionalism to graduate students through factual information and discussions on topics often not found in graduate curricula, including ethics, is described. Use of scenarios is modeled.

  • Clark Ford
    Iowa State University

    Rationalist Values We Already Teach in the College Curriculum

    Rationalist values that we already heavily inject into the college curriculum affect students' perceptions of knowledge, truth, wisdom, and ultimately meaning and morality.

  • Glenn Graber
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    New Technologies of Learning vs. the Moral Center of Teaching

    To what extent, if at all, can the "moral center" of learning (i.e., the personal encounter between a teacher and a student) be preserved when interactions take place via email, audio-cassette, "smart classrooms," interactive computerized learning programs, etc.?

  • John Guillory
    Johns Hopkins University

    Graduate Education and the Job Market

    Against the once optimistic forecasts of a job-boom in the 90s for Ph.D.s in the humanities, the reality of the academic marketplace has been little short of disastrous. What are the responsibilities, political and ethical, for graduate programs to address the current crisis in hiring? What, in short, is to be done?

  • H. Phillips Hamlin
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    New Technologies of Learning vs. the Moral Center of Teaching

    See Glenn C. Graber, co-presenter, for summary.

  • Vincent Harding
    Iliff School of Theology

    Martin Luther King: The Future of America and Us

    Focusing on Dr. King's last years, Harding will attempt to suggest where King was going, where we seem to be going as a nation, and how all of us in this multiracial nation might join King's vector.

  • Karl Drew Hartzell
    State University of New York at Stony Brook

    Contexts for the Teaching of Values

    Universities influence student values by what is taught about values in the classroom, and by the values exhibited in the personal behavior of those on campus. Five principal contexts for this "teaching" are considered.

  • Otto J. Helwig
    University of Memphis

    Teaching Ethics: Are We Emphasizing the Right Thing?

    This paper argues that a theistic presupposition is a necessary, if not sufficient, condition to supply the existential motivation to act ethically; consequently, higher education should encourage rather than discourage students to integrate their theological positions with the appropriate ethical codes.

  • Thomas Hood
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Value Advocacy in American Higher Education and the Decline of the Norm of Disinterested in American Science, 1960-1995

    This paper explores the problems of taking a value neutral posture in one's teaching and research when that activity is funded by institutions that have particular aims. If the value stances that faculty take are controlled, is the University capable of its supposed traditional role of critic of the social order?

  • Larue Tone Hosmer
    University of Michigan

    Ethics and the Proper Function of a University

    A university should be dedicated to the improvement of the society of which it is a part. Ethics--what is "right," what is "just," and what is "fair"--are the only means we have to gauge social improvement. Therefore ethics have to become central to the university, not peripheral to the curriculum.

  • Daniel J. Hunter
    Arizona State University West

    The Jus Gentium Explains Cruelty and Its Cause

    This presentation explores the tension between an ahistorical concept of human nature stressing freedom ("jus gentium") and more contextualized alternatives.

  • Bruce Jennings
    Hastings Center for Society, Ethics, and the Law

    From Athens to Sparta: The Teaching of Ethics and Civic Education

    Values education is marked by a tension between "thin" liberal virtues (analytic, process-oriented modes of reasoning) and "thick" civic virtues (conceptions of responsibility, character, and community). The lecture discusses how this tension affects pedagogy and explores its roots in political theories of liberalism, civic republicanism, and democratic communitarianism.

  • Michael Johnson
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Valuing Tolerance for Ambiguity and Uncertainty

    Faced with a large number of competing values in a complex world, tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty unfortunately tends to be forgotten, or even blamed for a general decline in "values." This paper critically explores these issues.

  • Eileen A. Joy
    University of Tennessee

    Theses for a Philosophy of Teaching

    This paper discusses Simone Weil's ideas regarding social responsibility as such obligations might be conceived of within the teacher-student relationship at a public university.

  • Ellen R. Klein
    University of North Florida

    The Academy as Business

    Colleges and universities are notorious for allowing many of the unethical managerial behaviors which motivated the development of Business Ethics. This presentation will argue that there is need for an Academic (Business) Ethic.

  • Jeffrey Kovac
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Ethics in the Science Curriculum

    This presentation will explore the concepts of professionalism and professional ethics as they apply to science. The argument will be made that science is filled with moral choices and that it is necessary to integrate the teaching of professional ethics into science curricula. Examples will be given.

  • David L. Miller
    Syracuse University

    The Bricoleur in the Tennis Court: Pedagogy in Postmodern Context

    The presentation will inquire into a possible non-imperialist ethics for teaching in a contempo- rary context of global pluralism and in a post-literate civilization of the image.

    The Nose Knows Values: Character and the Daimonic in Education

    The presentation will address the problem of the "fragility of goodness" in the wake of a postmodern suspicion about the interminable repressiveness of consciousness (Kant and Freud) and in the face of the human experience of autonomous accident and surprise (Nussbaum and Caputo).

  • John Nolt
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Teaching Environmental Ethics as Meaningful Work in Local Community

    Musings on the relation of ethical theory to ethical practice and on the advantages and pitfalls of incorporating real work to benefit the local enrivonment into environmental ethics courses.

  • Barbara Paige
    Oregon State University

    The Ethics Question: An Elusive Quest for Equity and Diversity in American Higher Education

    Professors Paige and Roberts will discuss the Difference, Power, and Discrimination (DPD) baccalaureate core requirement at Oregon State University, and the greater extent to which ethical questions are raised in the development of comparative diversity courses. They will focus on the faculty development seminar which is a core component of the DPD Program, and one of the courses, Ethics and Diversity, which was developed in that context.

  • James C. Peterson
    Wingate University

    The Pedagogical Dilemma of Ethical Dilemma Cases

    Ninety-eight percent of the cases in the ten most used bioethics textbooks can be described as moral dilemmas. Dilemma cases have many pedagogical advantages, but also some insidious side effects when they are that predominant.

  • Robin Powers
    University of Tennessee-Martin

    Whose Values?

    Because the university does impart values, the question becomes whose values. Do we continue to embrace solely patriarchal values or do we also embrace feminist values which include a multicultural perspective?

  • Bennett H. Ramsey
    University of North Carolina-Greensboro

    Towards an Ethic of Academic Discourse, or, Why Do Professors Talk the Way They Do?

    A student states the focus of the presentation: "You all speak and write so that you can't be understood. Is that fair? Is it ethical communication?" The presentation will try to respond to this student's questions. Participants are invited to discuss their own responses.

  • Charles Reynolds
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Implicit and Explicit Values in the Curriculum: Leadership and Responsibility

    This paper will examine how the culture of an institution tends to shape the implicit and explicit values in the curriculum. It will then suggest ways that several different leadership styles relate to different value orientations. Finally, this paper will argue that the leader of a campus, a college, or a department has a primary responsibility for the concrete value orientation of her or his unit.

  • Lani Roberts
    Oregon State University

    Curriculum Development, Ethics, and Diversity

    See Barbara Paige, co-presenter, for summary.

  • Louis Ruprecht, Jr.
    Emory University

    Ethics and the Dilemma of Moral Failure

    This paper offers an alternative to the long-standing, and now largely exhausted, debate over universalism and relativism in contemporary moral theory. I offer an alternative account of moral inquiry, grounded in the Classical tradition of Plato, etc.

    The Ethos of Olympism: The Moral Meaning of the Modern Olympic Movement

    This paper explores the convpluted story of religiosity in the past 150 years highlighting the fascinating double-mindedness about religion in public life that seems to characterize our country, a double-mindedness that is exempli fied in the modern Olympic ritual.

  • J. Eric Schonblom

    University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

    Required Ethics: Accreditation for the Engineering Curriculum

    Universities teach "engineering ethics" using idiosyncratic codes with their roots in the profession's accrediting agency. Who's in charge here? Does it matter?

  • Un-Chol Shin
    Eastern Kentucky University

    Teaching Literature for Ethical Intelligence

    The presentation is written based on the belief that it is the duty and right of the university to lead all of its students toward the good life. The good life, according to Aristotle, is what ethics deals with. It is a cultural ideal that can be taught to all students through reading good stories in English and other humanities courses.

  • Cecilia Silva
    Texas Christian University

    Valuing Diversity: A Metaphysical and Moral Imperative

    See Becky Cox White, co-presenter, for summary.

  • H. Peter Steeves
    California State University-Fresno

    A Communitarian Foundation for Schools: Phenomenology and the Ends of Education

    Applying a phenomenological theory of intersubjectivity as a foundation for communitarian ethics, this presentation will focus on the relationship between schools and community, and the way in which a communitarian social ethic might shape the curriculum and values of the institutions of education.

  • Patricia A. Ward
    Vanderbilt University

    Can One Form Character in the Classroom?

    An examination of recent theories of the ethics of reading (Booth, Miller, Harpham) and the tradition of character formation (Aristotle, Plutarch). How do such theories affect classroom teaching? Classroom experience is then contrasted with the reading experience to determine the nature of character-formation in the two spheres.

  • Becky Cox White
    California State University-Fresno

    Valuing Diversity: A Metaphysical and Moral Imperative

    Preparing students to function in a world of pluralistic metaphysical and moral assumptions obligates us to teach appreciation of diversity. One pedagogical approach will be demonstrated.


    Sponsored by:

    Chancellor's Teacher Scholars
    University Studies Program
    Center for Applied and Professional Ethics


    Conference Planning Committee:

    Fran Ansley Paul Ashdown
    Grady Bogue Glenn Graber
    Carolyn Hodges Ronald Hopson
    Marcia Katz Donald Klinefelter
    Robert Levy Ralph Norman
    Charles Reynolds Robert Stillman
    Richard Wisniewski
    Alvin G. Burstein, Conference Convenor

    Audrey Tinkham, Conference Coordinator


    Talk to the Conference Participants


    Questions and comments may be directed to the conference convenor, Alvin G. Burstein or individual authors by clicking on his/her name.

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