The fellows program is at the heart of the institute’s efforts. The fellows program has made the ethics institute home for almost 100 of our faculty since 1999. Today, slightly more than 50 past fellows continue to teach classes in many departments across campus. Drawing faculty from a broad range of academic disciplines, the fellows program has inspired, directly enabled or facilitated the creation of dozens of book projects, hundreds of academic papers and public presentations and numerous additions to our curriculum — either in the form of new course development, introduction of ethics modules into the classroom, or revision of course syllabi to include expanded content dealing with ethical issues and moral reasoning.
Thanks to generous gifts made to the Plattsburgh College Foundation, these fellowships provide release time from one course, a private office in the institute’s well-appointed space in Hawkins Hall, and most especially, the opportunity to become a member of a growing community of scholars engaged in common commitments. Typically, there are two faculty members in residence during semesters when the fellowship program is offered. The institute, in partnership with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), now designates one fellow as a pedagogy fellow, who focuses on helping the CTE to advance its mission and promote its work.
During the residency experience, fellows pursue a unique faculty development program based on a guided inquiry model. Fellows also are expected to spend their time exploring significant issues of ethics and civic responsibility by working on scholarly projects of their own interest that are germane to their fields. The residency also includes a series of seminars for the fellows as well as luncheon colloquies that are open to the entire campus community.
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...
Holly Heller-Ross, former fellow
In addition to pursuing their professional projects while in residence, as well as leading and attending colloquies, the institute’s faculty fellows take part in a semester-long series of guided inquiry seminars about ethics. As a result of such intense and broad-ranging work, our institute fellows grow acutely aware that students who graduate from SUNY Plattsburgh should know the answers to two crucial questions: “What does it mean to be a good person?” and “How can I lead a fulfilling life?”
The institute is also home to six senior scholars — members of the institute who have been recognized for their substantial and enduring service to the institute. The senior scholars are:
- Stuart Brody, Esq., attorney, political adviser and author
- Dr. Raymond Johnson, climate scientist
- Dr. James Liszka, past provost, SUNY Plattsburgh and past coordinator, SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Independent and Area Studies, author
- Dr. Jan Maher, independent scholar, author and playwright
- Dr. Donald Maier, professor of philosophy, SUNY Plattsburgh
- Dr. Henry Milner, research fellow at the chair in electoral studies, Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal
- Dr. Doug Selwyn, professor emeritus of education, SUNY Plattsburgh, author