Integrating ethics into U.Va. life
By Carol Wood
honorably and with integrity is a complex undertaking today,
says Ruth Gaare Bernheim, executive director of the Universitys
Institute for Practical Ethics. Every day our students face
complex ethical dilemmas that their parents never dreamed about.
increasingly complex dilemmas sparked a conversation between President
John T. Casteen III and Patricia M. Lampkin, interim vice president
for student affairs, about how integrity and trust should touch
Integrity at U.Va. became the name of a University-wide
initiative, led by Lampkin and chaired by Darden
Professor Patricia H. Werhane, an international expert in ethics.
Their 30-member committee, drawn from all corners of the University
including the Institute for Practical Ethics initially
was charged with focusing on how living an honorable life, and
all that it implies, was playing out in the undergraduate experience.
goal was to help students realize that integrity and trust are
overlapping values that should be integrated into all aspects
of everyday life. But, it became clear at the committees
first meeting that a broader mission was needed if the group was
to have a lasting impact on student life.
the student experience hinges on multiple relationships formed
over four years, the committee decided that everyone students,
faculty, staff and administrators should understand the
values of honor, ethics and integrity and how those values underpin
all University life.
committee set out to see what could be done to enhance the lives
of U.Va. students, but their vision extended to enriching the
lives of everyone at the University, Lampkin says. The
plan they have created should be the beginning of a rich, University-wide
dialogue that embraces every member of the community of trust.
understand how different University groups viewed honor and integrity
and the roles they played in the student experience, six subcommittees
were formed to do research, uncover areas of weakness and find
solutions. The groups were divided into six categories: undergraduate
students; graduate students and teaching assistants; professional
students and postdoctoral fellows; faculty; administration and
staff; and alumni and parents.
June, the committee sent its final report to Casteen, along with
myriad recommendations and a five-year plan for rolling out their
implementation. A complete list of recommendations is online at
One recommendation meant to reach both students and alumni will
go into effect this fall. Working closely with faculty at the
Institute for Practical Ethics, the University will unveil a new,
one-hour course, Ethics and Integrity in Contemporary Life.
Guest lecturers will include leaders from business, law, medicine
and government, and will be led by several of the Universitys
conjunction with the course, alumni clubs around the country will
take part in a specially designed lecture series in which many
of the same faculty members who are delivering ethics lectures
in their Charlottesville classrooms will bring those discussions
course will serve as a springboard for numerous conversations
on ethics, says Bernheim, who also served on the alumni/parents
subcommittee. Our hope is that these discussions
beginning on Grounds and extending across the nation will
be a bridge between the generations of understanding of honor,
ethics and integrity.
reprinted from the fall 2002 issue of U.Va. Alumni News