In concert with our foundational fellowship program, the institute sponsors a variety of projects, programs and conversations.
Programs, Projects & Conversations
Recordings of many of the following programs and conversations may be found on our YouTube channel: Visit the Institute on Ethics in Public Life
We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook for information on current programming and conversations.
Regular guided inquiry seminars, which are at the heart of the fellows’ experience, focus on the interdisciplinary research that influences current conceptions of ethics based in social theory. Fellows study expansive, supplemental readings from the relevant literature that invites them to consider the foundations of ethical thought, further build moral competence, embrace ethical practice in their own public life and promote ethical reasoning among their students.
The guided inquiry curriculum generally covers the following topics:
- Justifying ethics: By what standards do we judge ethics?
- Virtue ethics
- Principled ethics
- The moral mind and the ethics of care
- Faith, morality and meaning
- Human rights and moral responsibility
- The social contract
- Balancing freedom, autonomy and community
- Norming the bad: accountability in word and deed
- Post-modern insights
For more than 20 years, each Wednesday of the fall and spring semester, the institute has held regular, weekly lunch-hour colloquies. Invited colloquy leaders guide an hour-long conversation centered on a particular theme. These gatherings draw a large number of past fellows, faculty, students, alumni, administrators and institute friends from the community at large. Colloquy topics vary widely and generally address subjects of relevance to ethics in contemporary society.
To learn about upcoming colloquies, visit the institute’s Facebook page or consult the college’s daily employee and student digests.
In Spring 2020, when the campus pivoted to a remote teaching and learning environment in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the ethics institute inaugurated a series of recorded capsule conversations. These 15–20 minute one-on-one dialogues with past and current fellows, senior scholars, friends of the institute, and other members of the campus community addressed topics dealing with a variety of ethical themes.
The ethics institute, in collaboration with the Redcay Honors Center, leads an annual critical issues forum in observance of the U.S.’s annual Constitution Day (September 17). SUNY Plattsburgh is mandated, as a public institution receiving federal funds, to mark Constitution Day as an educational event for members of the campus community. Constitution Day events are open to the entire campus community and community-at-large.