History of the Center

The Center for Engaged Ethics traces its origins to 1990, when George and Arlene Foote established the George and Arlene Foote Endowment for Strengthening Ethical Values. Its goals were:

  • To integrate the study of ethical and value questions into the College's curriculum;To develop in students those intellectual and personal tools necessary to assess the ethical significance of situations and to make personal and societal choices tied to an ethical outlook on life;To insure that an examination of value questions and the development of skills needed for making ethical choices become an explicit part of what Hiram College does;To develop a values "across the curriculum" program as an integral part of a student's study within a discipline as a key component within the College's interdisciplinary, general education program; and
  • To become a model for other colleges and universities, and to establish specific mechanisms for sharing information and for outreach within American higher education.

In 2006, the Center for the Study of Ethics and Values was one of five centers recommended by the Academic Programming Committee.  With its creation, Ken Alpern, the first George and Arlene Foote Chair in Ethics and Professor of Philosophy, became the Center's Director, and the Ethics Center Steering Committee became its internal steering committee.  The Center initially drew upon Dr. Alpern's Ethics Across the Curriculum program, initially implemented between 2003-2005, as it developed its portfolio of distinctive programs and curriculum, including the Annual Ethics Theme, Ethics Symposia, and the interdisciplinary Ethics Teach-In.

In 2006, Jon Moody, Professor of Religious Studies and College Chaplain, became the second George and Arlene Foote Chair in Ethics and Director of the Center.  With Jon's leadership, in addition to continuing Ethics Across the Curriculum, the Center expanded its curricular and co-curricular programs, most notably with the approval by the faculty, in March 2007, of a Minor in Ethics, which graduated its first students in 2009.  This resulted in new and distinctive courses being created, including Ethical Thinking and Engaged Citizenship, which form the core of the new Minor.  Working with Development Officer Dave Bishoff and Hiram College Trustee Davis Young, the Center constituted its external Advisory Council and began to explore ways of integrating this body and its members into the Center's work and planning through, among other things, its Ethics@Work program.  Dr. Moody also significantly expanded the Center's connection to community service and service learning across the campus.  During the fall of 2009, the Center worked with students to field its first Ethics Bowl team.

In 2010, with the arrival of Doug Brattebo as Center Director, the Center embarked on a strategic planning process that will keep the Center attempting to reach new heights of distinctiveness.

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