The Donchian Seminars in Professional Values encourage professional
and graduate students both to recognize ethical conflicts that arise
in professional and public life and to engage in critical reflection
about their ethical responsibilities. By bringing together students
from two or more schools and disciplines, the seminars challenge
students to think from inside and outside of their professional
identities and provide a rich opportunity to explore ethical responsibilities
that cut across the professions in contemporary American life. Through
seminar discussion, students gain an enriched understanding of ethics,
not simply as a body of rules, but as part of the fabric of professional
and public life.
Each seminar is cross-listed in different schools and limited to
about 16 students. Very important for the success of these seminars
is the role of the faculty members. Each seminar is directed by
two faculty members, usually from different schools, and is held
in the homes of faculty members, thereby promoting closer relationships
between faculty and students. The seminars meet five to six times
for two to three hours, and students typically receive one hour
materials for these seminars are books and articles, both classic
and contemporary, selected because they raise issues of ethics,
broadly defined. Examples of books that are appropriate for these
new interdisciplinary seminars include A Man for All Seasons
by Robert Bolt, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The
Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, The Reader
by Bernhard Schlink, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. by John
Jeffries, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne
Fadiman, Wit: A Play by Margaret Edson, Elephant Man
by Bernard Pomerance, Our Town by Thornton Wilder, Mrs.
Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, The Cure at Troy: A Version of
Sophocles' Philoctetes by Seamus Heaney, Middlemarch
by George Eliot, Howard's End by E.M. Forster, and Pride
and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The faculty members teaching each
seminar select the readings after discussion with other faculty
about what they hope to accomplish in the seminars.
EXAMPLES OF RECENT SEMINARS
Humanities, Medical School and Law School. Faculty: Marcia Childress
(Co-Director, Humanities in Medicine Program, Medical School)
and Julia Mahoney, (Associate Professor, Law).
School of Arts and Sciences and Law School. Faculty: Stephen Cushman
(Robert C. Taylor Professor of English) and George Rutherglen
(O. M. Vicars Professor of Law).
Graduate School of Business Administration and Law. Faculty: R.
Edward Freeman (Olsson Professor of Business Administration and
Director of the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics at Darden) and
George Cohen (Professor, Law and Director of John M. Olin Program
at the Law School).
School and Law. Faculty: Dr. R. Ariel Gomez, (Vice-President for
Research and Public Service and Professor of Pediatrics), Ruth
Gaare Bernheim (Executive Director, Institute for Practical Ethics
and Public Life), and Walter Wadlington (James Madison Professor
of Law Emeritus).
School of Arts and Sciences and Law School. Faculty: David T.
Gies (Commonwealth Professor of Spanish) and Daniel R. Ortiz (Professor,
School, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, and
Law School. This seminar included students from the three
professional schools. Faculty: Dr. R. Ariel Gomez, (Vice-President
for Research and Public Service and Professor of Pediatrics),
Ruth Gaare Bernheim (Executive Director, Institute for Practical
Ethics and Public Life), and Andrew C. Wicks (Associate Professor
of Business Administration)