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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

2020-21 Annual Report

The Ethics Center spent the 2020-21 academic year reflecting on the challenges faced during those 12 months, helping us recover, and re-imagining how society’s future will look.

Read our Annual Report to look back at the Ethics Center's work in the 2020-21 academic year.

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Get Vaccinated Webinar Series

Event Replay: Navigating COVID-19 This Holiday Season with Professors, Craig Stephens and David Hess, College of Arts and Sciences, Santa Clara University.

Missed an event? Watch past webinar speakers on the Get Vaccinated YouTube Playlist.



View the Get Vaccinated Project Website

Featured Ethics Spotlights

Laura Sanchez, right, holds her 2-month-old son, Lizandro, while receiving a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from a registered nurse, Noleen Nobleza at a vaccine clinic set up in the parking lot of CalOptima in Orange, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021 that more than 80% of the people eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine in CA

While vaccines provide protection for individuals and communities against severe disease and death, this fight is far from over as we see infection rates climb, especially among children who cannot be vaccinated. Ethics Center staff and scholars analyze the critical questions in this Ethics Spotlight.

Racism and hate are not new to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, but the onset and spread of COVID-19 has led to massive increases in both. Ethics Center staff and scholars unpack some of the many related ethical dilemmas in this Ethics Spotlight.

Medical professional holding a syringe and a vile of covid-19 vaccine

While advancements in vaccines for the novel coronavirus are pointing to a light at the end of the tunnel, numerous ethical dilemmas lie ahead. Ethics Center staff, scholars, and students analyze these critical issues in this Ethics Spotlight.

    A Guide for Nonprofit Organizations

    Nonprofit organizations rely on charitable gifts, but often lack guidance on how to navigate gifts from controversial donors. This guide offers practical and ethical considerations for nonprofit organizations that face increasing scrutiny for gift acceptance decisions.

    Read the Guide

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    Ethical Giving Guide

    Materials to Support Donors with Gifting Decisions

    Designed to help individual donors and family foundations think through their nonprofit giving decisions and to do it ethically, this guide outlines the steps to take with related ethical considerations and helps donors define their personal mission.

    Find Your Personal Mission

    All About Ethics: Perspectives From Across the Center

    In a comparison of the summer 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and riots and the January 6, 2021 protests and insurrection, there are important similarities and distinct differences.

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    Sometimes, it’s the user who’s been trained by the algorithm—not the other way around.


    Content moderation considers consent and context.

      Center News

      Cathy Benko and Jim Cowie join the Ethics Center Advisory Board.

      Dan Cooperman

      Silicon Valley Corporate Ethics Leader Dan Cooperman serves the Ethics Center as Advisory Board Chair.

      When Blair Libby set out in 2018 to hike the Pacific Northwest Trail, he had no way of knowing the impact it would have on him. Now, years later, we check back in with the former Environmental Ethics Fellow to see how the experience changed him and where he is now. 

        Teaching Note: Interview of Theranos Whistleblower, Tyler Shultz

        This teaching module for business ethics, leadership and management courses includes two videos, homework assignments, and class discussion, all designed to spark conversation about ethical issues associated with whistleblowers and corporate governance.

        View the Teaching Module

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        Evaluating Culture for Ethics

        Our Culture Self-Assessment Practice recommends approaches to evaluating culture for ethics within companies and other types of organizations. The materials are primarily for members of an organization’s leadership team, including human resources and legal, but designed to engage a cross-section of leaders from various disciplines.

        Get Started

        Media Commentary

        aee_werawan/Getty Images via Canva

        John Pelissero, senior scholar, quoted by Salt Lake City Weekly.

        Image from Pixabay

        Don Heider, executive director, quoted by Venture Beat.

        Jimmy Fallon poses on the red carpet at the honors gala for the 44th Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Washington. (Kevin Wolf/AP Photo)

        Don Heider, executive director, quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

          Like Birds, Ethical Issues Are Everywhere...

          ...often difficult to spot, but noticed by those in search of them.

          The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University exists to help people see, understand, and work through ethical problems.

          As an introduction to thinking ethically, we have created a framework for ethical decision making.

          Learn About Our Framework

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