Indiana Daily Student

Poynter Center awards four IU professors for contribution to ethics courses

Four IU Bloomington faculty members have been awarded the first Jesse Fine Fellowships in Practical and Professional Ethics, according to the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions.

According to a press release, the fellowship allows these faculty members to create a new course or restructure an already existing ethics course in any field.

Richard Miller, director of the Poynter Center, said each applicant for the fellowship submitted an idea for a syllabus that raised an ethical question. Miller said each recipient’s course had a clear purpose.

“These were the ones that rose to the top,” he said. “They aim to really re-dimensionalize coursework in areas that these fellows are working in.”

He said he hopes these courses, and the ethical issues raised in them, will help students see their particular areas of study differently.

Fellows will receive funding made possible from a gift by the late Dorothy Fine in honor of her husband, Jesse, who graduated from IU with a bachelor’s degree in 1928 and a law degree in 1930. Miller said no formal ceremony will take place to honor the recipients.

The recipients are:

Ronald Day

Day is an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science. He will use the funding for a course called “S604: Information Ethics Across Technologies, Media, Institutions and Societies.” The press release said students wanted this ethics course in addition to courses about policies and intellectual freedom.

Shannon Gayk

Gayk is an associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences. She will develop a section of “L240: Literature and Public Life” with the special topic of “Representing the Poor.” In this course, students will examine the representation of the poor during three literary periods, and also go out into the Bloomington community and interact with residents, according to the release.

“We will explore the ethical questions surrounding the issue of poverty from a distinctly literary perspective, focusing on the power, responsibilities, and limitations of written representation in shaping public attitudes toward social ethics,” Gayk said in her course description on the English department’s website. “Over the course of the semester, students should expect to consider the relations between poverty, labor, politics, and visions of community.”

Joshua Perry

Perry is an assistant professor of business law and ethics at the Kelley School of Business. He said he will use the funding to aid his development of a new core course in the Kelley graduate accounting program, “L521: Critical Thought and Practical Wisdom.”

“I was thrilled and honored and definitely grateful to the family,” Perry said.

He said he hopes students taking his course gain important critical thinking, reasoning and analytical skills through an ethical lens.

“Such skills are essential for equipping one to persuade and lead others, and to guide decision making in business contexts often involving competing priorities, diverse values, and ethical conflicts between stakeholders,” Perry said in a business school statement.   

He said the course begins in fall 2013.

Laura Roush

Roush is a graduate student in the criminal justice department of the College of Arts and Sciences. She said she will use the funding to update an undergraduate course, “P330: Criminal Justice Ethics.”

She said she wanted to offer this course for the first time since fall 2005, when the previous instructor retired and the course wasn’t required for criminal justice majors.

“I’m just happy there’s an opportunity for it to be offered again,” she said.

Roush said she hopes students entering careers in law, law enforcement and corrections gain an understanding of the ethical responsibilities involved in those fields.

She said she plans to use some of the funding to bring guest speakers who have
experienced ethical dilemmas to her classes.

“Ethics are what stand in the way of abusive powers,” she said. “I’m hoping that it’s going to bring the class to life.”

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