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Institute for Ethics Welcomes Two New Fellows for Fall 2017

Two new faculty fellows will join the SUNY Plattsburgh Institute for Ethics in Public Life in the fall.

Dr. Elizabeth Onasch , assistant professor of sociology, and Dr. Joel Parker, associate professor of biology, will participate in the semester-long program, which includes a series of guided inquiry seminars, weekly colloquies, and  the opportunity to pursue individual curricular and scholarly projects directly related to ethics in public life.

Free Speech and Persecuted Groups

Onasch will examine the tensions between free speech and the protection of persecuted groups. Among Onasch’s aims is to “develop guidelines for classroom discussion I hope will help students think about the nature and effects of different forms of speech in and outside of the classroom.”

Discovery Process in Higher Education

Parker’s work, rooted in the belief that one’s teaching philosophy is at its core an ethical philosophy, will focus on the role of the discovery process in higher education. Parker said that he believes “that discovery is the highest aim of higher education. I hope my efforts in part will lead to useful ideas that institutions of higher learning can apply at the administrative and departmental levels and even among individual faculty members.”

The guided inquiry seminars, the heart of the institute experience, according to Institute for Ethics in Public Life Director Jonathan Slater, addresses interdisciplinary conceptions of ethics based in social theory and focuses on building civic engagement, engendering moral competence and promoting diversity. Led by many of the institute’s past fellows, weekly lunch-hour colloquies deal with topics of relevance to ethics in contemporary public life.

Public Good

Established in 1999 by Dr. E. Thomas Moran, the institute was founded on the idea that citizens should make sound choices based on free speech and that those in public life should lead in humility and govern for the public good. Guided by a belief in education’s role of fostering informed discourse, the institute has provided fellowship experiences to 84 faculty members from among 28 college departments. It is also the intellectual home of four current senior scholars, the most recent being Dr. James Liszka, former provost and vice president for academics, who will remain in residence at the institute for the upcoming academic year.

For more information on the institute, the fellows program, and the institute’s activities, contact Slater at 518-564-3018 or email [email protected]

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