Institute for Ethics in Public Life

Fellows Program

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Fellows' Evaluations of the Institute

The following quotes from the reports of former fellows typify fellow's characterizations of their experience at the Institute:

The Institute Is the Intellectual Dynamo of Campus

"I am an active participant in the Institute for Ethics in Public Life. As a founding fellow and now, thanks to the FIPSE grant, an active participant/discussant and occasional presenter in our weekly faculty seminars, I have benefited enormously from the high intellectual plane of our weekly meetings, our readings and the on-going work of the Institute. The Institute has become the intellectual dynamo of the campus, energizing not just the present fellows but all of us who have been fortunate to work there. This can be measured in scholarly activity, in interdisciplinary awareness, and especially in our teaching. In my case, it has helped me clarify and sharpen my focus in teaching the history of seminal periods and junctures when ethical decisions were (or, more often, were not) made. This has given my students' insights into responsible (and irresponsible) decision-making and the ensuing consequences. To my mind, historical study and analysis must center on the necessity for ethical choices. Indeed, that is the greatest lesson we can learn from the past. The Institute has become the platform from which I view, interpret and attempt to fulfill my professional responsibilities as an historian."

Dr. Douglas Skopp
University Distinguished Professor of History
Fellow, Fall 1999

Enlightening and Inspiring

"My participation in the Institute was enormously beneficial to me. The rich interchange of ideas and approaches to teaching and to intellectual discourse was both enlightening and inspiring. I enjoyed the weekly meetings and looked forward to hearing the very approaches to teaching and ethical issues provided by colleagues. I also had the opportunity, which is far too rare in our work, take the time to think about what I'm doing in the classroom and why... ... The Institute for Ethics in Public Life provides an extraordinary opportunity for faculty to engage with each other in a respectful, inspiring, interdisciplinary environment."

Dr. Jennifer Scanlon
Director, Women's Studies Program
And Professor of History
Fellow, Fall 2000

Like Water for a Thirsty Soul

"I must tell you that I have relished this experience like few others in my academic work! It has had an effect like that of pouring water on a thirsty soul that had not even known that it was thirsting. And I say soul instead of mind because this has not been a purely intellectual experience of discussion ethical theories, but a holistic one of challenging intellectual scope, reflective physical space and sanctuary, and emotional encouragement, camaraderie, and fellowship. It has been fierce and it has been fun. I could write this in a personal note to you, but I want it part of a more public record, this fellowship experience is certainly more than an introduction to ethics in public life...it is an example of ethical practice in institutional faculty development."

Ms. Holly Heller-Ross
Associate Librarian
Fellow, Fall 2003

Fascinating, Provocative, Stimulating, and Inspiring

"My experience as a Fellow has been fantastic. This fellowship afforded me a tremendous learning experience--I never would have had the time, motivation, and ability to tackle and absorb this material on my own! Equally if not more importantly, I felt like I was a part of a vibrant intellectual community. I consistently found our formal and informal discussions fascinating, provocative, stimulating, and inspiring. I also found our discussions of the joys and frustrations of teaching at Plattsburgh to be enormously enlightening and supportive... I'd just like to say a heartfelt "thanks" to everyone at the Institute for creating a wonderful opportunity for interested faculty to meet, bond, and discuss some of the most important yet too often neglected issues of our profession."

Dr. Robert Cabin
Assistant Professor of Biology
Fellow, Spring 2005

Development Opportunity Unlike Any Other

"It is the best faculty development opportunity I have ever encountered. The primary benefit, perhaps especially valuable to older colleagues, is the fundamental rethinking of what one has been engaged in as a teacher and a scholar....This is a special experience, one nearly unique to Plattsburgh and the basic concept and format is so sound that people who come here to learn and to change will not fail to do so."

Dr. Jon Gottschall
Professor of Political Science
Fellow, Fall 2005

Helped Me Reevaluate the Meaning of Scholarly Engagement

"My time at the Institute has been described (to numerous colleagues) as one of the most, if not the most, professionally rewarding experiences that I have had on this campus during my 22-year tenure. The quality of scholarly discussions was something that rarely has happened in our academic unit. Many times the level of intellectual engagement reached that of a professional conference but at much more supportive levels of collegiality and personal comfort due to the fact that it was not a transient community of scholars. The breadth of discussion topics, both at the formal seminars and informal discussion sessions on "the other two days" of the weekly schedule, was equally beneficial as it offered a scholarly exchange different from the ones that a faculty member normally experiences in one's own academic unit. Interdisciplinary in nature, the discussions provided much-needed stimuli for me to re-evaluate the meaning of scholarly engagement in my own department. It also made me realize that even at the college level, we do not have forums or lecture series that would seem to guarantee the same quality inter-disciplinary exchanges of ideas and interactions through which a mutual intellectual growth can be nurtured. It was indeed the most satisfying and unique experience I have had in my entire higher-education career."

Dr. Jin Kim
Professor of Communications
Fellow, Fall 2005

Priceless Experience

"The experience was outstanding. I deeply value the opportunity to reflect deeply on the complexity of ethical behavior. The opportunity to engage in philosophical discussion with thoughtful and idealistic faculty members was truly priceless."

Dr. Margaret Morrow
Mathematics Department
Fellow, Fall 2006

Fosters a Flourishing Intellectual Community

"My experience as a Fellow was simply wonderful: intellectually stimulating, academically productive, and personally fulfilling. Especially beneficial was the opportunity to meet so many other members of college community, across disciplines and programs. The Ethics Institute does an amazing job of fostering a flourishing intellectual community at SUNY Plattsburgh and it was truly delightful to become an active member of that community."

Dr. Jessamyn Neuhaus
History Department
Fellow, Spring 2007