Ethics in Union's Curriculum
The Ethics across the Curriculum program was introduced in 2006 with funding by Union College distinguished alumnus, Michael Rapaport ('59). Mr. Rapaport continues to fund the Ethics Across the Curriculum initiative to this day. Since 2006, Robert Baker, PhD, William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy, serves as the Chair and Director of the Ethics Across the Curriculum initiative. Anastasia Pease, served as the Associate Director from 2006 through the spring of 2009, Amy S. Bloom was Associate Director from 2009-2012.
The Ethics Across the Curriculum program was founded with the belief that ethics is essential for all Union students to prepare them to face the world of tough decisions and to empower them to exercise moral leadership. The Ethics Across the Curriculum initiative strives to provide extensive training in everyday ethics to faculty, staff and students at Union College. As a program, Ethics Across the Curriculum has three main goals: (1) to provide funding, through a grant proposal process, to faculty members to incorporate ethics teaching into their curricula, (2) to educate faculty and staff through regular lunch workshops and speaker series about ethics and innovative ways to incorporate ethics teaching into undergraduate courses, and (3) to promote ethics across the curricula through public lectures, symposia, workshops and conferences.
Rapaport grants also fund faculty to acquire teaching materials, travel to ethics-related conferences, organize campus activities, and bring outside speakers to Union. For professors who would like to incorporate new ethics segments into their courses, the initiative team acts as an on-campus resource for research and support, for example, by helping to select case studies and conducting discussions of everyday ethical issues related to a particular subject. The Rapaport grants typically provide an honorarium, plus funds for materials, research, travel, and guest speakers.
The lunch workshop and speaker series organized by the Ethics Across the Curriculum initiative invites experts in ethics and related fields to Union to engage undergraduate faculty and college staff in a dialogue that will increase the understanding and accessibility of ethics teaching. Once per term a member of the initiative's team (typically Dr. Baker) will discuss particular ethical issues or teaching techniques for introducing ethical concepts into curricula. In addition, at the end of each term, faculty who have received Ethics Across the Curriculum funding are invited to a "Report from the Trenches" session where they discuss their experience incorporating ethics segments into the classroom.