Institute for Practical Ethics

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Since its beginning, the University of Virginia has reflected Thomas Jefferson's noble vision that as a public institution its education, based on the "illimitable freedom of the human mind," would prepare statesmen, professionals, and citizens for life in a democracy. The central mission of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life is to expand and deepen UVa's commitment to education that nurtures public responsibility, along with personal honor and integrity.

Through a wide array of courses, seminars, and public events that involve faculty and professionals with real-world experience, including alumni, the Institute fosters both the capacity for critical reflection about ethical issues as they arise in contemporary life and an understanding of various theoretical approaches to ethics, including virtue ethics and narrative ethics. The undergraduate course, "Ethics and Integrity in Contemporary Society," and the Professional Values Seminars for graduate and professional students provide examples of courses developed by faculty working groups.