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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.

  •  Big Data, Small Politics: Algorithmic Regulation and Its Pitfalls

    Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2014 11:31 AM

    7 PM

    The advent of Big Data, enabled in part by the proliferation of cheap sensors and data-storing devices, presents us with new forms of tackling social problems, from obesity to climate change. While some celebrate the virtues of self-tracking, others laud the benefits of automating certain parts of the political process through "algorithmic regulation." Evgeny Morozov will discuss some of the ethical implications of these new problem-solving mechanisms, situating them within a much longer history of using cybernetic technologies for the purposes of self-regulation.

    Morozov is a contributing editor at The New Republic and the author of two books: "The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom," and "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism." A recent New York Times article describes him as the “most prominent, most multiplatformed critic of the utopian promises coming from Silicon Valley.”

    From 2010 through 2012, Morozov was a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. He had previously been a fellow at Georgetown University and at the Open Society Foundations. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, the London Review of Books, and numerous other publications; in addition, his monthly column for the online magazine Slate is syndicated in El Pais, Corriere della Sera, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Folha de S.Paulo and several other newspapers. Morozov is currently pursuing a PhD in the history of science.

    Co-Sponsored by Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and Commonwealth Club of California, Silicon Valley Chapter.

    Reception to follow.

    Live Tweet this event with us! Follow @mcaenews #ethicsmorozov

  •  Ethics: There’s an App for That

    Friday, Mar. 21, 2014 10:35 AM


    Facing a difficult decision—one where you don’t know the right thing to do?  Well, get out your phone because the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University has just released the iPhone app, “Ethical Decision Making: A Practical Tool for Thinking Through Tough Choices.”

    The free app guides users through a step-by-step process, which begins by getting the facts and identifying the stakeholders in the situation.  Then it takes users through five classic ethical approaches—Utility, Rights, Justice, Common Good, and Virtue—posing questions such as “Does this action produce the most good and do the least harm for all who are affected?” and “Does this action treat people equally or proportionally?”  Finally, users weight the different approaches and get a score that indicates whether their thinking is on the right track or whether they should evaluate another option.

    The app draws on the Ethics Center’s popular “Framework for Ethical Decision Making,” which has been online for almost 20 years  and viewed more than a million times.  Apple co-founder A.C. “Mike” Markkula Jr., who chaired the Center’s Advisory Board when the Framework was developed, commented, "It's like magic! The new "Ethical Decision Making" app turns the center's classic ‘Framework’ into an interactive assistant right in your hand—amazing!"

    As Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson explains, “The Center has always believed that we need a deliberate method to make good ethical decisions.  We’ve used the Framework for many years, and we’re delighted to offer it in a new medium that may be particularly attractive to a new generation.”

    A party celebrating the app launch will take place April 15, 5:30-6:30 p.m., in the Arts & Sciences Building on the Santa Clara University campus.  Markkula and Hanson will offer comments.  Join us for refreshments and a demo of “Ethical Decision Making.”

     Follow us on Twitter: #ethicsapp

  •  Can A Business Have A Conscience?

    Wednesday, Mar. 19, 2014 1:29 PM

    An exploration of the moral responsibilities of corporations and corporate conscience, by Manuel Velasquez, Charles J. Dirksen Professor of Management, Santa Clara University.

    We are fortunate to present this program in part through the generosity of the Project on Conscience in Roman Catholic Thought, funded by Phyllis and Mike Shea.

    Join us on Twitter for live tweeting of the event as well! @mcaenews
    Event hashtags: #ethicscorp, #conscienceproject

  •  Creating an Ethical Corporate Culture

    Thursday, Mar. 13, 2014 12:59 PM

    You are responsible for the ethical culture of your business organization.

    That’s the message of a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in business ethics taught by Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. “Yes,” Hanson says, “the C-suite executives and the Board of Directors may set the ethical tone of a company, but every person in an organization, particularly managers and supervisors, has a role in strengthening the ethical culture. How managers and supervisors fulfill this responsibility is the subject of this course.”

    The free MOOC, Creating an Ethical Corporate Culture, offers:

    • four key approaches to building an ethical organization
    • 10 tools for shaping the culture and keeping it strong
    • how to anticipate and manage unavoidable challenges to an ethical culture
    • the proven link between ethics, corporate culture, and business performance

    Hanson, a pioneer in the business ethics field, taught for 23 years at the Stanford Graduate School of Business before taking on the directorship of the Markkula Ethics Center. He designed this MOOC for working businesspeople so that they can take the course at their own pace. It deals with the responsibilities of line managers, executives, and directors.

    Students can enter the course any time before June 30. It is organized to take no more than 2-3 hours per week, and to be completed in four weeks. Those who do all of the assignments receive a letter of completion from the Ethics Center.

    The course is the second MOOC on business ethics offered by the Center. The first, Business Ethics for the Real World, provides an introduction to ethical decision making. More than 1,700 people registered for that course, which remains open until June 30.

    “One of the most exciting things about MOOCs,” Hanson says, “is the incredible diversity of voices among those who participate. In our first MOOC, we had registrants from 133 different countries including Congo, Vietnam, the Maldives, and Yemen. People come from a wide variety of different industries and they bring these perspectives to course discussions.”

    The courses are meeting the needs of people who might not otherwise have been able to take such a class. As one graduate of Business Ethics for the Real World said, “I took the first course and really enjoyed it, and so I enrolled in the next course. I hope to learn as I did in the first class, especially developing new perspectives on how to approach situations in the world of business and ethics.”


  •  Kirk Hanson Co-Chairs Ethics Summit

    Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014 4:43 PM

    Kirk O. Hanson, executive director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, co-chaired "Key Challenges for Ethics Centers: Seasoned Ethics Center Directors Share Lessons Learned," at the February 28th Ethics Colloquium in Jacksonville, Florida, organized by the Institute for Global Ethics (IGE). Hanson also led a panel on "Online Strategies of Ethics Centers."

    Pictured left to right: Kirk O. Hanson, Executive Director,  Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University; Judith Young, Executive Director,  Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership; Panel Chair, Gretchen A. Winter, Executive Director,  Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society at the University of Illinois; Patricia Werhane, Managing Director, DePaul Institute for Business and Professional Ethics; and Anthony J. Gray, President and CEO,  Institute for Global Ethics

  •  Historic Dalai Lama Visit Enthralls Audiences

    Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2014 1:08 PM

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Santa Clara University on Feb 24 to deliver a message of compassion and empathy in business to an audience of more than 4,000. The Dalai Lama was joined by the CEO of Dignity Health, Lloyd Dean, for "Business, Ethics, and Compassion: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama." The event was cosponsored by two of the country’s premier institutes for the study of ethics and compassion—SCU’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Wide press coverage and extensive social media sharing made this a historic event.

    Read Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson’s article on what the Dalai Lama
    Teaches Silicon Valley

    View the video

  •  Fostering Conscience and Moral Character Through Classroom Teaching

    Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 10:42 AM

    Darcia Narvaez will speak on Wednesday, March 12, 5 pm, Williman Room, Benson Center. Narvaez is Professor of Psychology at University of Notre Dame, and one of the leading scholars in the country on moral education. Her research explores questions of moral cognition, moral development and moral character education. She is author or editor of four award winning books: "Postconventional Moral Thinking"; "Moral Development, Self and Identity"; "Handbook of Moral and Character Education;" and "Personality, Self and Identity." She is also editor of the Journal of Moral Education.

    We are fortunate to present this program in part through the generosity of the Project on Conscience in Roman Catholic Thought, funded by Phyllis and Mike Shea.

    Join us on Twitter for live tweeting of the event as well!

    @mcaenews Event hashtag: #ethicsclass #conscienceproject



  •  Glowing Plants and DIY Biotech

    Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 4:01 PM

    A panel discussion on the scientific, business, legal, and ethical promise and peril of do-it-yourself biotech, on February 27th, 12 noon.
    LOCATION: Bannan Hall, Room 142

    *Antony Evans, MBA, Co-founder and CEO, Glowing Plant
    *Drew Endy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, Stanford University
    *Linda Kahl, PhD/JD, Legal Program Director, The BioBricks Foundation, Stanford University
    *Brian Green, PhD, Assistant Director of Campus Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and School of Engineering, Santa Clara University

    This event is co-sponsored by the Biotech Law Group at SCU Law and Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

    LIVE TWEET WITH US! Follow @mcaenews #ethicsglow

  •  Confessions of a Recovering Data Broker

    Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 3:08 PM

    noon-1 pm
    Wiegand Room, Arts & Sciences Bldg

    Jim Adler speaks and writes about the intersection of technology and policy -- specifically privacy, big data, social media, consumer protections, and voting. Adler is Vice President of Products at Metanautix and previously worked at Inome. He also serves on the Department of Homeland Security's Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.

    Sponsored by The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

    Live tweet this event with us! Follow @MCAENews #ethicsadler

  •  Meet New Executive Assistant Amy Hansen

    Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 11:17 AM

    As Executive Assistant, Amy Hansen provides administrative support to the Ethics Center's executive and associate directors. She has held fundraising, outreach, and executive positions at several local nonprofit organizations, particularly in the performing arts. Hansen received her B.A. in music from Stanford University, and most recently worked for Santa Clara University's Office of Development. "I'm delighted to be working with such a wonderful group of thoughtful and friendly people," Hansen states, adding that after only a month, she already feels at home.