Institute for Practical Ethics

Courses of Study
Ethics Home About the Institute People Programs Courses Speakers/Conferences Calendar Ethics at UVa Contact Us

COURSES
Faculty associated with the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public  Life teach a wide array of courses throughout different schools and departments.  In addition, the Institute often coordinates interdisciplinary and interprofessional courses.  Following are some examples.

Each year the Institute sponsors Seminars in Professional Values that bring together students from two or more graduate or professional schools to reflect on ethical values and responsibilities across professional roles.  These seminars use works of literature, films, etc., to stimulate critical ethical reflection, under the guidance of two faculty members from different schools.

The Institute has also sponsored a number of interdisciplinary courses that feature ethics for students at different levels.  These include INST courses, such as

INST 200, Ethics and Integrity in Contemporary Life (offered on a more or less regular basis)
INST 210, American Values, American Identities (Steve Cushman as lead instructor)
INST 305, Genetics, Ethics and Society
INST 306, Global Health Policy and Ethics
INST 311, Public Health Ethics: Liberty and Coercion

For 2008-2009, the Institute is offering  INST 200 and INST 311. For offerings each semester, consult the Course Offering Directory on the UVA home page.

In a major and highly successful experiment, the Institute developed two pilot, interdisciplinary, “common courses” that featured ethics. These involved faculty from different departments and students could receive credit through any of three departments or schools.

In “21st Century Choices: War, Justice, Human Rights,” James F. Childress (Institute, and Department of Religious Studies) and Michael Smith (Political and Social Thought Program, and Department of Politics) engaged over three hundred students in a close examination of the ethical choices that arise in international and global contexts. Students could enroll through History, Politics, or Religious Studies.

line

HIST 290/ PLIR 210/ RELG 264 21st Century Choices: War, Justice, Human Rights
  For further information on this course, please see:
Anne Bromley, "Why study war in 21st century? College's new 'common course' tackles big issues," Inside UVA 32, Issue 26, Sept. 13, 2002
http://www.virginia.edu/insideuva/2002/26/war-course.html

Heather Ferngren Morton, "Common courses debut with questions of war," A&S Online, January 2003
http://magazine.clas.virginia.edu/x4811.xml


line

In “Environmental Choices in the 21st Century,” James F. Childress, Tom Smith (Department of Environmental Sciences), and Mark White (MacIntire School of Commerce) explored with over three hundred students the science, ethics, and policies surrounding environmental choices. Other faculty from English literature, engineering, law, architecture, and the like participated as guest lecturers.  Students could enroll through Environmental Sciences, Religious Studies, or the MacIntire School of Commerce (EVSC 263/RELG 263/COMM 380).

Other Institute-sponsored courses include graduate and undergraduate courses on environmental ethics, and public health ethics, such as “Confronting Plagues: Historical and Contemporary Responses to Epidemics,” and “Germs, Guns, and Lead.”  A major set of undergraduate courses, sponsored by the Institute, has focused on business, ethics, and society.  These were offered under a variety of rubrics over time before the Institute settled on RELG 263 Business, Ethics, and Society.  Advanced graduate students teach several sections of this undergraduate course each semester.