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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

  •  Global Ethics and American Law

    Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 3:15 PM

    Professor David Sloss, Santa Clara Law, asks the question: Has American constitutional law been influenced by ideas of law and ethics coming to these shores, so to speak, from abroad? Should it be shaped by such ideas? Of course, many argue against such influence, thinking that the U.S. Constitution is exceptional and neither has nor should be changed to conform to such ideas. Professor Sloss, an expert on international law, will offer a contrary argument and discuss the ways in which international standards of human rights have influenced the constitutional practice of this country.

    Join us for this dynamic and informative Ethics At Noon session.
    Location: Learning Commons and Library Media Room A

    Live Tweet with us! Follow @scuethics on Twitter #globalethics

  •  Ethics After Dark for Markkula Center Friends and Alumni

    Monday, Sep. 22, 2014 3:54 PM

    Join the staff and alumni of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics for wine and hors d'oeuvres, and a chance to reconnect during Santa Clara University's Grand Reunion. Enjoy a mini-lecture on heroism by Scott LaBarge, associate professor of philosophy and classics, and a brief update on the Ethics Center's current work. Professor LaBarge received the Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in 2004 in recognition of his accomplishments in the classroom, and was recognized with the Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence at SCU in 2012.

    Tweet about this event before, during, and after, with your SCU friends and colleagues!

    Follow @scuethics   use #ethicsafterdark

  •  Trust Project Haiku Twitter Contest

    Monday, Sep. 22, 2014 3:18 PM

    Fake or fact...what makes news trustworthy? How do you tell journalism from promotional content and public relations? How do you decide you can act on what you’ve seen, heard or read -- because you know it’s accurate, independent, complete and fair? Journalism makes a basic pledge to society: to serve public debate and involvement with a truthful, intelligent and comprehensive account of ideas and events. With fresh, exciting news enterprises and technologies now in play, journalism has a powerful opportunity to engage anew with its foundational principles.

    What is The Trust Project?

    The Trust Project explores how journalism can stand out from the media crowd and inspire trustworthiness, and is an initiative of the Executive Roundtable on Digital Journalism Ethics at the Ethics Center. The news executives, entrepreneurs, technology and digital media leaders who make up the roundtable share ideas, network and brainstorm solutions to some of journalism’s most pressing problems. We are examining models that suggest how to earn trust, such as Wikipedia and academic publishing. And we’re taking advantage of our location at the heart of Silicon Valley to imagine technology that can bake the evidence of trustworthy reporting –such as accuracy, transparency and inclusion –plainly into news practices, tools and platforms.

    How Do I Enter?

    Follow @journethics. Tweet a haiku by October 10 explaining the factors in a news story or news site that tell you it’s worth your trust, and you may win a $50 prize. A jury of editors will choose the best one.

    What Is a Haiku?

    A haiku poem traditionally is 3 lines, with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third, adding up to no more than 17 syllables in all. Typically, the haiku starts with an observation or situation, then ends with a revelation or moment of awareness. For this contest, we will interpret the form loosely! To read some examples of haiku written by traditional masters, see

    Who Can Enter?

    All are welcome to enter. Use slashes to indicate the ends of lines (/) and include #trustworthynews and @journethics to make sure your entry is considered. Reminder: your tweet must be no longer than 140 characters. Multiple entries are fine, but must be posted on separate days. Please tweet from one account only.

    Contact Info and Join our Facebook Group

    For more information, contact Sally Lehrman, senior fellow for Journalism Ethics at the Ethics Center, Attention all those interested in journalism ethics, please join our Facebook Group, "Digital Journalism Ethics Roundtable."

  •  Ethical Dimensions of the Vatican Synod on the Family

    Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014 3:00 PM

    Starting October 5, Catholic bishops from around the world will meet at the Vatican to scrutinize the Church’s pastoral approach to families. Pope Francis stirred up the Church when he called for the Synod to take place. Our panel will help us understand the energy behind what is happening in Rome and where this all might lead. Key ethical questions to be discussed include marriage, conscience, and natural law morality. Key theological issues will include God’s mercy; the relationship of pope and bishops; and the admittance to communion of divorced and remarried Catholics.

    A panel discussion by Santa Clara University faculty Paul Crowley, SJ, Lisa Fullam, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University,
    and Sally Vance-Trembath.

     Join us to Live Tweet this event! Follow @scuethics #synod

  •  Conscience in Catholicism Conference

    Friday, Sep. 12, 2014 9:13 AM
    James Keenan, S.J. and Osamu Takeuchi, S.J.
    Scholars from eight different countries gathered this week at the Ethics Center for a conference on “Conscience in Catholicism: Rights, Responsibilities, and Institutional Policies.”
    Those global perspectives informed the opening session, which focused on foundational questions of conscience.  James Keenan, S.J., Canisius Professor and director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College, and Osamu Takeuchi, S.J., dean of the Graduate School of Theology and professor of theology at Sophia University in Tokyo, led off the discussion.
    Keenan argued that conscience is “hardwired” into humans, but “how that plays out” varies from culture to culture.  He compared the examination of conscience that followed World War II in Europe to the failure of American society to take responsibility for slavery, which he said has contributed to the continuing problem of race in the United States.  “We have never consciously taken responsibility as opposed to Germany, which has never forgotten its role in the Holocaust,” he said. 
    Takeuchi engaged Christian and Confucian ideas about conscience.  He looked at three essential human responsibilities—to ourselves, to the community, and to G-d—as modes of embodying conscience.  In that third responsibility, Takeuchi saw an encounter between ethics and spirituality.
    The group, most of whom were affiliated with Catholic institutions, explored the role of universities in the formation of conscience.  Keenan pointed out that there has been very little research on conscience as it relates to higher education and argued that moral theologians at universities must address such issues as race, gender, inequity, and the hegemony of American power.
    “There is no self-reflection at universities,” he said.  “If you go into a university library, you will find hundreds of books on business ethics, on medical ethics, on legal ethics—all written by faculty members.  You will not find one book on university ethics.  None will talk about the mission of a school and whether it's promoting equity, about athletics, about the way we hire adjuncts, the way we invest or admit students.  Conscience at universities is not even dormant; that would mean it was once awakened.”
    Linda Hogan, vice provost/chief academic officer and professor of ecumenics at Trinity College in Dublin, argued that universities don’t give much thought to their own institutional power.  “Generally, universities are broadly conformist and supportive of institutional biases about affluence or race,” she said.  “We need to be attentive to the fact that we inhabit and shape institutions which have enormous social power.  Instead we tend to focus on individual conscience formation.”
    Participants generally agreed that conscience is not only a matter of an individual’s principles; instead, it is informed by culture and community.  Bryan Massingale, S.T.D., professor of Theology at Marquette University, put it this way:  “The isolated conscience doesn’t really exist.  We have to pay attention to the cultural and social dimensions.”
    Papers from the conference will be published in 2015 by Orbis Books, edited by David DeCosse, director of campus ethics at the Markkula Ethics Center, and Kristin Heyer, professor of religious studies at SCU, the two conference organizers.  Other conference participants were:
    •  Carol Bayley, vice president for ethics and justice education, Dignity Health Care West
    • Julie Clague, lecturer of theology and religious studies, University of Glasgow, Scotland
    • Emilce Cuda, lecturer on the Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Catholic University, Argentina
    • Daniel Finn, Clemens Chair in Economics and the Liberal Arts, St. John’s University, Minnesota
    • Lisa Fullam, D.V.M., Th.D., associate professor of moral theology, Jesuit School of Theology, SCU
    • Eric Marcelo O. Genilo, S.J., S.T.D, associate professor of moral theology, Loyola School of Theology, Philippines
    • William O’Neill, S.J., associate professor of social ethics, Jesuit School of Theology, SCU
    • Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, S.J.,provincial of the Eastern African Province of the Society of Jesus and lecturer in theology and religious studies, Hekima College, Kenya
    • Stephen J. Pope, professor of theology, Boston College, Massachusetts
    • John Raphael Quinn, sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco
    • Eugine Sahana, religious sister belonging to the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, India


  •  What Is Compassion?

    Tuesday, Sep. 9, 2014 11:51 AM

    William Prior, professor emeritus, Santa Clara University Philosophy Department, explores Compassion. While many of us use the term "compassion," we often don't share an understanding of what it fully means. Prior will discuss the more precise meaning of "compassion" as it's understood in the Western philosophical tradition. His research and teaching interests include ancient philosophy, ethical theory, the history of skepticism, and the philosophy of Wittgenstein. His publications include Unity and Development in Plato's Metaphysics (Open Court, 1985), Virtue and Knowledge (Routledge, 1991) and numerous articles. He has edited Socrates: Critical Assessments (Routledge, 1996, 4 v.) He is working on a book on the problem of the historical Socrates.

    Event and Live tweeting on Twitter: #compassion

  •  At Our Best: Creating a Positive School Culture

    Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 8:37 AM
    Creating a school climate that is conducive to learning, safety, and community was the focus of a presentation by Dotty McCrea, principal of Mercy High School, at the Center’s Ethics Camp for Catholic School Educators, held August 12-15, at Santa Clara University.  The four-day workshop provided an orientation for new teachers in the diocese. 
    McCrea explained that the school’s culture is formed by its core values and beliefs, which drive actions and influence behaviors.  It’s the “subtle spirit” visitors sense when they walk through the door, reflected in the way they are greeted by the office staff, the vitality of the staff, and the engagement of students. 
    McCrea took teachers through a series of exercises to flesh out ways to create a supportive culture in their schools and classrooms.  She talked about rituals and traditions that set up a positive environment, including moments of prayer and reflection.  High expectations were also cited as key to a strong school culture.
    She and the participants brainstormed ways to acknowledge students, parents, and school personnel as heroes for being positive role models of kindness and respect.  They also discussed ways to celebrate and to inject humor into the classroom.

    McCrea urged the teachers to tap into the gifts of all their students for curiosity, imagination, sensitivity, wonder, and joy. 

  •  Business Ethics MOOCS Launch August 18

    Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 2:12 PM

    On August 18th, the Ethics Center is relaunching two free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to the public. Already, over 3,000 executives, professors and students have enrolled, and we invite you to join them. The MOOCs are hosted on the platform and are taught by Kirk O. Hanson, longtime professor of business ethics at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Santa Clara University.
    Registration is now open


    Explores the nature of ethics, its role in a business career, and how to make practical ethical decisions.

    Examines how managers and executives can create and sustain an ethical culture.

    3 Hours of Business Ethics Training Each Week for 4 Weeks:
    Each course is organized to take no more than 2-3 hours per week, and the course is designed to be completed in 4 weeks. You can take the courses anytime during the period they are open.

    Online Activities on Business Ethics:
    Each week you will have 2 or 3 short lectures to watch. Afterwards, you will have 3 related activities: a case discussion on a real business scenario, a short exercise, and a quiz. The final project for each course is an ethical analysis, and peer reviews of other students' analyses.

    New! Incentives for Course Finishers

    • Letter of Completion: Letter of completion from the Ethics Center
    • Badge: Official "badge" to highlight your success, for display on websites, socia media, LinkedIn Profiles, etc.
    • VIP LinkedIn Group: A special invitate to join our closed MOOC Alumni Group on LinkedIn, featuring networking opportunities, discussions, and more.
    • Opportunity to participate in our SMAP (social media ambassadors program). If you're on Twitter, first Follow the Ethics Center (@mcaenews), and tweet about the course as you go through it, using the hashtag #MarkkulaMOOC. The most frequent tweeter by November 7 will win a $50 Amazon gift card. 
      Stay tuned for more details!

    Contact Patrick Coutermarsh at for questions or further information.



  •  2014 Hackworth Fellows in Engineering Ethics

    Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 2:58 PM

    The incoming Hackworth Engineering Ethics Fellows will develop case studies on engineering ethics based on the experience of Santa Clara University alumni in the engineering field. Their work will be a similar model to the business ethics case studies here. The fellowships are made possible by a gift from Joan and late Michael Hackworth.

    Clare Bartlett

    Clare Bartlett is a bioengineering major from Centennial, CO. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, concerts, and Irish Dancing.

    Nabilah Deen

    Nabilah Deen is a Civil Engineering Senior from Santa Clara. She lived in the city for most of her life. Nabilah participates in several engineering clubs, and she enjoys writing, reading, and modular origami.

    Jocelyn Tan

    Jocelyn Tan, from San Jose, California, studies Electrical Engineering. In her spare time, she loves to sing, dance and play the piano. She also loves to laugh and meet new friends.

  •  Tom Reese on Pope Francis and First 500 Days

    Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014 11:52 AM

    Father Thomas Reese, S.J., visiting scholar for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, will present on the first 500 days of Pope Francis during the Ethics Center's "Ethics At Noon" lecture on August 14, 12-noon, New location as of 8/13

    Register Here

    Reese is senior analyst for National Catholic Reporter. He entered the Jesuits in 1962, and was ordained in 1974. He was educated at St. Louis University, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and at the University of California Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in political science. He worked in Washington as a writer and lobbyist for tax reform from 1975 to 1978. He was an associate editor of America magazine, where he wrote on politics, economics and the Catholic church, from 1978 to 1985 and editor-in-chief from 1998 to 2005. He was a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center from 1985 to 1998 and 2006 to 2013.

    While at Woodstock, he wrote the trilogy on the organization and politics of the church: Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church (1989), A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1992), and Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (1996). He also edited The Universal Catechism Reader (1990), an analysis of the first draft of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Episcopal Conferences: Historical, Canonical and Theological Studies (1989).

    On May 14, 2014, Father Reese was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. His writings for the NCR do not necessarily reflect the views of the commission.

    Father Reese is based in Washington, DC.

    Follow Reese on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ .

    Event hashtag: @mcaenews  #reesepope Tweet with us!