Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Come Watch the APPE Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl!

Come join us and watch the 4th annual APPE Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl at Northwestern Illinois University on Saturday, November 21, from 10-7. Teams from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan will answer questions about ethics cases on a wide range of topicsm such as the classroom (e.g. cheating or plagiarism), personal relationships (e.g. dating or friendship), professional ethics (e.g. engineering, law, medicine), or social and political ethics (e.g. free speech, gun control, etc.). The three top-scoring teams will proceed to the final competition, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics in March of next year.

The competition will be held in the Student Union on Northwestern Illinois University's main campus, at 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. You can download a copy of the cases, and also learn more about the history of the Ethics Bowl. For information about how to participate in future Ethics Bowl competitions, please visit APPE's Ethics Bowl page.

Best of luck to all of the participating teams, and we hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Hours

The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions Library will be closed from Thursday, November 26 to Sunday, November 29th for the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend. We will resume normal hours on Monday, November 30th.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Developed an ethics case study? Share it with us!

Have you developed a case study that you use in your ethics course?

Have you and a group of friends acted out a case study looking at ethical issues in scientific research?

Do you think you could write a case based on recent stories in the media?

We are looking to collect ethics case studies that have been developed by faculty, students, and instructors to be included in the Case Study Collection of the Ethics Education Library. This collection -which already includes over three hundred cases- is meant to be a clearinghouse for students, instructors, and researchers interested in finding ethics cases to use in workshops, presentations, or in the classroom.

We are interest in cases from all areas of professional ethic including the sciences, social sciences, medicine, arts, and the humanities.

Please email Kelly Laas, the librarian of CSEP, with any cases or questions you may have.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ethics Bowl Reginal Cases

The regional cases for the APPE Ethics Bowl have now been posted!

The Ethics Bowl combines the excitement and fun of a competitive tournament with a valuable educational experience for undergraduate students. In the fall of 2009, ten regional ethics bowls will take place throughout the United States. In February 2010, the top scoring teams in the ten regional ethics bowls (32 total) will compete at the national championship of the IEB in Cincinnati, Ohio at the nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE).

For more information on how to participate in a regional ethics bowl competition,and information about the locations and dates of these competitions,please visit APPE's Ethics Bowl page.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ethics Education Library

CSEP is pleased to announce a new resource for educators interested in incorporating professional ethics in their courses and grant proposals. The Ethics Education Library is a collection of resources for scholars and university administrators interested in developing ethics training and instruction programs for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. It includes seminal articles on how to go about teaching ethics, examples of what other educators and universities have done in the past, evaluation and assessment techniques, and an ever-expanding Case Study Collection searchable by topic, discipline, and author.

We are currently in the beginning stages of developing this resource, so please let us know of materials and cases you think should be included in the Ethics Education Library, or ways in which we can improve the site!

This project has been made possible through a generous grant from the National Science Foundation. Please also take a look at the beta version of the new and improved Online Ethics Center,that is also being developed through this grant project.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome to Our New Web Site!

CSEP has a new web site! The site includes all of the resources found on our old site, with a number of new additions, including an expanded Ethics Across the Curriculum section, updated Resource Guides, and access to the full text of many publications by CSEP faculty and fellows.

We are still working on perfecting the site, so please contact us at if you run into any bugs, or have any suggestions!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Case Study Video

Asked to prepare a presentation on some of the ethical issues faced in adviser/student relationships, Dylan Erb and Hector Baez, participants in an Illinois Institute of Technology's Research Experience for Undergraduates, created the following video case study. The video elicited a lively discussion among students and faculty, and also has a great sound track (especially if you are a fan of Johnny Cash).

The Graduate Student Laborer

This NSF REU at Illinois Institute for Technology is a 10 week program for undergraduate students the multidisciplinary field of hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The objectives of the program are to train undergraduate students in basic research through challenging HEV/PHEV-related engineering projects performed with research mentors from IIT, expose them to the broader impacts of their research with lectures from experts and tours of facilities and integrate ethics discussions and training into all aspects of the student experience. CSEP has been participating in a weekly meeting on ethical issues in research.

Thanks to Dylan and Hector for sharing their video!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Participate in our Survey!

You are invited to assist in developing an online resource for Principal Investigators and university administrators looking to incorporate an ethics component in National Science Foundation grant proposals. This resource would focus on ethics education in the areas of engineering, science, technology, and the social sciences. Your thoughts and suggestions are crucial in helping us develop this web site.

This web resource is in part a response to a new mandate in the America COMPETES Act passed by Congress in 2007 which requires,

“…each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.” (42 U.S.C 1962o-1, Section 7009)

This proposed web site would assist Principal Investigators and university administrators in responding to this new mandate.

The following questions focus on the types of resources you may have used in the past to develop ethics instruction methods and programs, and the types of information you would like to find in a web site of this kind.

This project is a collaborative effort between the Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society at the National Academy of Engineering and the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology. For more information about the project, please contact Kelly Laas at

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Click Here to take survey

CSEP to Develop New Resource on Ethics Education

The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions is collaborating with the National Academy of Engineering in a grant proposal to develop a web resource for Principle Investigators (PIs) and university administrators looking to incorporate an ethics component in NSF proposals. This web resource is in part a response to a new mandate put out in the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C 1962o-1) which requires, in Section 7009 that “each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.

Results from this project will make good practices and materials widely available and accessible and help the development of a broad-based, knowledgeable social network in ethics education in science and engineering. Special attention will be paid to resources by and for populations that are underrepresented in science and engineering, and to issues that arise for them and from the increasingly globalized and interdisciplinary nature of research. Publicity about the project will be disseminated broadly, through National Academies’ press releases, websites, and publications, and at relevant meetings of professional societies and academic organizations, including those of special relevance to underrepresented populations.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day

The CSEP Library will be closed May 25 in recognition of Memorial Day. We will be open normal hours on Tuesday, May 26th.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Call for Papers: International Conference on Applied Ethics, Nov. 13-15, 2009 in Sapporo, Japan

Nov 13-15, 2009
Fourth International Conference on Applied Ethics - Call for Papers
13-15 November 2009
Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy (CAEP) Hokkaido University,
Sapporo, Japan

We are delighted to announce the Fourth International Conference on Applied Ethics on 13-15 November 2009 at Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.

We invite the submission of papers on the following topics (not exclusive): Meta-Normative Ethics, Bio/Medical Ethics, Engineering Ethics, Ethics of Science and Technology, Information Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Business Ethics, and International/Global Ethics, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Confirmed keynote speakers include: Ruth Chadwick (Cardiff), Kristin Shrader-Frechette (Notre Dame), Michael Davis (Illinois Institute of Technology), Seumas Miller (ANU), Randall Curren (Rochester), Howard Adelman (Griffith), Peter Schaber (Zurich), Lee Shui Chuen (National Central, ROC), and Mari Yoshihara (Hawaii)

Those participants who wish to present papers are requested to submit a 300-500 word abstract by 13th of August to CAEP (

All accepted papers are considered for publication in the printed and electronic formats.

Up to ten Hokkaido University Young Scientists Travel Awards between 20,000-50,000 JPY (equivalent to approx. 200-500 USD) are available for graduate students and non-tenured scholars. Priority is given to overseas students/non-tenured scholars who present papers.

For further details, visit our website:

Conference Chair: Takahiko Nitta (Director, CAEP) Program Chair:
Shunzo Mjima (Deputy Director, CAEP)

The First International Conference Applied Ethics series was held in February 2007, the second in November 2007, and the third in November 2008.At the last November’s conference, we hosted more than 80 participants from 11 countries. Keynote speakers for the previous three conferences have included Asa Kasher, Tom Campbell, Peter Danielson, Andrew Light, Wu Guoshen, Holger Burckhart, and Michael Seigel

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ethics in Action

Published a few months ago, Ethics in Action: A Case Based Approach is a collection of over forty case studies dealing with "real-life" ethical dilemmas in fields as diverse as health care, politics, and personal relationships. The cases are intended to help readers to develop critical abilities in the area of ethical decision making, and are ideally suited for use in class discussions. Each case is followed by an analysis made from three different perspectives: one commentator argues for a particular solution; the second argues against this solution and presents an alternative, and the third commentator shows why neither of these solutions are complete and provides an expanded analysis toward the morally preferable solution. As stated in the abstract of the book, "Through this, the reader is guided through a process of deliberation that leads to ethically defensible resolutions of moral dilemmas across a wide range of disciplines."

The approach taken in this book is modeled on the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, a academic competition that originated at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1993 and has grown into a nation-wide event that involves teams from around the country. You can find out more information about the Ethics Bowl, as well as how to participate in the 2009-2010 competition at our web site.

Ethics in Action: A Case-Based Approach by
Peggy Connolly, Becky Cox White, David R. Keller, and Martin C. Leever. Malden: MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

Please stop by the CSEP Library if you would like to take a look at this new addition to our collection!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Books at CSEP

We are busy doing some moving around at CSEP in order to accommodate our growing collection of materials. What follows is a list of some of the new books now available to the IIT Community:

The Economy of the Earth by Mark Sagoff. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

An Ethics Trajectory: Visions of Media Past, Present, and Yet to Come by Thomas W. Cooper, Clifford G. Christians, Anantha S. Babbili. Urbana, IL: Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.

On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

(Frankfurt, a moral philosopher, here tries to spell out a theory of bullshit . When first encountering this book, I too wondered about its place in an ethics library However, this amusing and rather insightful book draws a distinction between bullshit and its close cousin lying, and how bullshit functions in our society.)

Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved by Frans de Waal. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006

Review of the Federal Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research. National Research Council Committee for Review of the Federal Strategy to Address Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials,Washington, D.C. National Academy Press, 2009.

Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy by Thomas A. Mappes and Jane S. Zembaty. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2007.

Please come in a check out these new books, and leave us recommendations of materials you would like us to purchase for the library.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

NanoEthicsBank Update - Launch of the Nanotech Companies Resource Page

In connection with the NanoEthicsBank, CSEP has developed a web resource for members of the nanotech industry. This resource shall include major databases covering current research on environmental, health, and safety aspects of manufactured nanomaterials, major reports and projects looking at national and international governance of nanomaterials, and risk assessment tools and best practices that have already been developed by standard-setting organizations and other companies for the handling of nanomaterials in the workplace. This page shall be updated weekly, highlighting news stories, reports, and recent editions to the NanoEthicsBank.

Please let us know about the kinds of materials you would like to see included on this page!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Engineering Ethics Resource Guide

CSEP Library has developed a new resource guide for Engineering Ethics. The guide includes special sections on finding case studies, as well as a small guide for instructors interested in integrating ethics into their technical courses. We will be adding more resources as the guide and CSEP's new web site continues to develop, so please feel free to recommend any resources you think should be included in the guide.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Resource Guide for Scientific Resarch Ethics

A new research guide on the ethics of scientific research and the responsible conduct of research has just been published by CSEP. The guide is available off of IIT's Galvin Library web site. It includes resources on animal research subjects, authorship and peer review, conflict of interest, human research participants, research misconduct, and links to cases studies. Please let us know if you have any suggestions of materials to add to the guide, or if you would like us to add a section on a different topic.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A new image for CSEP

For the past few months we have been working extremely hard on redesigning our web site. The new site is going to blend in with the overall design for the Illinois Institute of Technology, include a number of much-needed updates in our site navigation, a complete overhaul of the Codes of Ethics Collection, and a number of other tweaks to our electronic collections and resource guides. So far, everything is going relatively smoothly, except for picking out a new image for the site.

With the help of Galvin, we have designed a new icon for CSEP. The question is, what color should it be? Our first one seemed to be a bit too dark for the web site...

So, we went for a more blue look, that seemed a bit easier to read...

Any thoughts? Please post your comments, ideas for a new color, etc. This image is going to be on this page, so let us know what you think! (This is a test version of the CSEP site, so beware of bugs).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Break Hours

The Center and the Center Library will be open over spring break during our normal hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

EthicShare - a Virtual Community for Ethics Research and Exchange

During this past weekend, I had the pleasure to attend a session about the web resource "EthicShare" at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Developed by the University of Minnesota with support from the Andrew W.Mellon Foundation and other partner universities, this virtual community is for scholars working in the field of ethics. The first version of this site will focus specifically on bioethics. The site includes a database of literature on all aspects of bioethics (including quite a bit about the ethics of nanotechnology) and the ability to link directly to the full-text of an article through your university library. The site also includes the ability to tag articles, upload your own papers to the database, and to participate in online discussions about a wide range of ethics issues. At the moment, the number of individuals using the site is rather small, but as the community grows, this could become an extremely rich resource for scholars and students of applied ethics.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Limited hours for CSEP Library - March 5-6th

Due to senior staff attending the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Competition on March 5-6th, the CSEP Library will be open from 9:30-4 on Thursday, and from 9-4 on Friday. We will resume our normal hours of 9-5 on Monday, March 9th. If you have any reference queries, please direct them to Galvin Library's reference desk or if it is not urgent, email your question to us at

Best of luck to all the participating Ethics Bowl Teams!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mapping Study of Regulation and Governance of Nanotechnologies

Last week, the European FramingNano project released the major report "Mapping Study on Regulation and Governance of Nanotechnologies. This publication gives a full picture of the regulatory activities, public engagement projects, and other research projects countries and regulatory/standard-setting agencies around the world are taking to address the human health, safety and environmental impacts of nanotechnologies. The report looks at the debate about the risks and concerns related to nanotechnology research and development, and also examines the different regulatory measures being considered and adopted by countries (using existing regulatory frameworks, voluntary measures, standardization, etc). The final section of the report includes a detailed summary by country of the proposed and existing strategies and action plans for nanotechnology, ongoing research projects worldwide, and a snapshot of the activities of standards organizations in regard to nanotechnology.

This report is one of the best publications currently available on the current regulatory activities of countries around the world, especially in Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia. In the next few weeks, we will be going through the report, and adding links to the references not before included in the NanoEthicsBank.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Engineering Ethics Resources

Every few months, I try and make time to do a review of our online resource guides to add material, take down broken links, and see what kinds of new resources are available. In the field of engineering and science ethics, the Online Ethics Center (OEC) at the National Academy of Engineering has consistently been one of the top resources available to students and scholars in this subject area. Covering a wide array of topics from responsible research to environmental ethics, the OEC is an extremely good place for students to begin their research, for practitioners to gain an introduction to what is meant by professional ethics, or for instructors looking to integrate ethics into their professional courses. This is also an especially good place to look for or discuss ethics cases.

I am always looking for new resources in this and other areas of professional ethics, so please feel free to suggest other web sites, articles or books you have come across!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

“Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession”

CSEP would like to announce the availability of “Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession” by Dr. Michael Davis.

In 1993, the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) and the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) formed a joint committee to help organize software developers and engineers into a profession. As part of this project, a sub-committee of professionals, academics, and members of ACM and IEEE-CS began work drafting a code of ethics for software engineers through electronic mail. After four years of online discussion and revision, version 5.2 of the Software Engineer’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice was adopted by IEEE-CS and ACM in 1998. Since then, the code has been adopted by software engineering and computer societies worldwide.
Members of the subcommittee drafting the code of ethics did so via an email discussion list, and from the beginning members of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions were participant observers in the project. The entire discussion is documented in an online archive that was launched in late 2007. Dr. Michael Davis, CSEP’s associate fellow, has written an account of how the code was developed based on his own participation in the project and his interviews with key participants and committee members. “Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession” gives insight in how the two professional societies went about establishing software engineering as a profession and drafting a code of ethics, and also looks at this project as a case study to see how other organizations can better go about writing and revising their own codes of ethics in the future. The full text of this account is now available for download off the CSEP Web site.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Library Closed for Martin Luther King Day

The library will be closed January 19th in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. We will resume normal hours on January 20th.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Voluntary Reporting Schemes and Nanotechnology

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its interim report on the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program, a voluntary reporting scheme that was launched in January of last year. According to the report, twenty-nine companies or associations submitted information to the EPA on 123 nanoscale materials by December 8, 2008. In the In-depth Program, only four companies agreed to work with the EPA and others on a plan for the development of data on representative nanoscale materials over a longer time frame. In the report, the EPA considers the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program a success, but recognizes that gaps in environmental health and safety information still exist that the Agency had hoped to fill through the program. The agency is considering how to best use testing and information gathering authorities granted under the Toxic Substances Control Act to help address these gaps.

The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA also ran a pilot voluntary reporting scheme from September of 2006 to September of 2008. According to the Seventh Quarterly Report of the program, they received eleven submissions to the program, nine from industry and two from academia during this period. DEFRA has yet to release a final review of the success of this program.

For reactions to the interim report, see the Environmental Defense Fund’s recent blog entry, "Nano Confessions: EPA all but concedes mandatory reporting and testing are needed." In 2005, the EDF and other stakeholders recommended that the EPA adopt a mandatory reporting scheme during a public meeting held by the EPA on the potential for developing a voluntary pilot program for reporting information about engineered nanoscale materials.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ethics Bowl mentioned in special issue of the U.S. News & World Report

The Ethics Bowl was mentioned in a special end of the year issue of the U.S. World & News report, in an article entitled “50 Ways to Improve Your Life-Learn Philosophy.” Founded by IIT’s Dr. Robert Ladenson in 1993, the Ethics Bowl has grown to include over 93 colleges nationwide, and a number of professional organizations and high schools have started holding their own competitions. The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Championship will be held on March 5, 2009 in Cincinnati, at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Best of luck to all participating teams!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Codes of Ethics Resources

Many of the reference questions we receive at the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions are from individuals who are in the process of either writing or revising their organization’s codes of ethics. The Codes of Ethics Collection is a very good starting place to see the types of codes that have been developed by other, similar organizations. Alternately, we have just updated and revised our Bibliography on codes of ethics. This includes sections about codes of ethics in general (their purpose, authority, and use), articles and online resources for writing or revision a code of ethics, as well as a list of books that include case studies to help you become familiar with how to use your profession’s code of ethics. If you have any comments or suggestions on materials you think should be added to this list, please let us know.

Monday, January 5, 2009

IIT Intersession Hours

During Intersession, CSEP Library will be open our normal hours, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m to 5 p.m.