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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Annual Report 2022-23


One Column
Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Ethics are timeless. As I’ve been reminded over the past year with the emergence of powerful AI-driven technologies, new ethical challenges are always just around the bend. Examples like artificial intelligence emphasize the importance of having access to a solid foundation of ethical principles, like those outlined in the Ethics Center’s Framework for Ethical Decision Making.

Many of the programs developed this past academic year were designed to help society address the ethical dilemmas of the day as well as those not yet in sight. The year closed out with the launch of our Institute for Technology, Ethics, and Culture (ITEC), a collaboration with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education, and its handbook, “Ethics in the Age of Disruptive Technologies: An Operational Roadmap.” The new resource offers a practical roadmap to help organizations address the ethical complexities associated with disruptive technologies such as AI.

Expanding the Ethics Center’s areas of focus this past year was the creation of the Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics and the hiring of its director, Tracy Barba. The institute is the first and only organization focused solely on the study and promotion of applied venture ethics.

I encourage you to explore further into this report to learn more about these and the many other projects we’ve developed this past year with the support of generous donors like you. And for those new to the Ethics Center, we look forward to getting to know you.


Don Heider

Executive Director

Ethics in Action

Highlights of the Ethics Center’s work from the 2022-23 academic year:


Institute for Technology, Ethics, and Culture

The Ethics Center has been focused on the potential ethical dilemmas associated with artificial intelligence (AI) for several years. However, the recent public launch of ChatGPT has accelerated these challenges. To help companies responsibly manage their development and use of disruptive technologies, the Ethics Center announced the formation of the Institute for Technology, Ethics, and Culture, in collaboration with the Vatican. The inaugural product is a handbook, "Ethics in the Age of Disruptive Technologies: An Operational Roadmap.” The resource offers guidance to help organizations address the ethical complexities associated with AI.

Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics

2021 was a record-breaking year for venture capital investment in technology, and 2022 proved to be a watershed year for tech breakthroughs (generative AI and cryptocurrency, among others) and challenges with broad societal impacts (FTX). These events highlighted the need to look at venture capital's governing principles and values. That’s why the Ethics Center launched the first and only institute focused solely on the study and promotion of applied venture ethics, the Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics.

Source Diversity Dashboard: Catchup feature to compute aggregate stats.
Navigate here to Source Diversity Dashboard

Every day we read the news and we read quotes from people in it -- “experts” or those within the communities being covered. But who is quoted, what are the proportions of people quoted by gender, race/community, etc.? These are questions annual diversity audits address for news organizations that can afford them. But for everyday reporters and editors who are part of large and small newsrooms, there is no “everyday system” to monitor their own quoting patterns. To enable more ethical reporting of diverse communities, the Ethics Center created the Source Diversity Dashboard and Audit Toolkit

Health Care Ethics Interns 2022-23 at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
Navigate here to Student Programs

Some of the Ethics Center’s most important work is done by our students – those participating in our various internships, and fellowships. These donor-funded programs allow our students to pursue interests in various areas of ethics, all which help them build a foundation of ethical decision making they’ll use for the rest of their careers. Student projects from our 2022-23 Environmental, Hackworth, Government, and Business Ethics programs are featured in our 2023 Student Project Showcase, and insights and analysis from our Health Care Ethics Internship can be found in our Ethics in Healthcare Blog.

Wild Beasts: A Podcast About Ethics
Navigate here to Wild Beasts Podcast

The Ethics Center’s new podcast series, "Wild Beasts," is inspired by a famous quote from modern philosopher, Albert Camus: "A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world." The show analyzes current events from the perspective of applied ethics. Who is responsible for creating a sustainable future for AI? Why are state legislators passing restrictive voting bills? What is woke capitalism? Who ought to have control over our bodies in virtual reality? What is the fate of social media? These are only a few of the questions addressed in the podcast.

White pillars representing a government building.
Navigate here to Government Ethics Fellowship

New to the Ethics Center’s student programs is the Government Ethics Fellowship. Fellows work on projects at the intersection of policy and ethics with Professor John Pelissero, director of government ethics. Each fellow develops a proposal to conduct research on a practical ethics issue in government, is engaged with Markkula Center projects at the intersection of public policy and government/political ethics, and is placed in a government office for an internship experience for part of the year. Look for new important activities coming from the Government Ethics Program this year as the emergence of AI and a presidential election clash as never before.

By the numbers graph

The Ethics Center broadened its reach in 2022-23 and reached its constituents in new ways.


A summary of revenues and expenses from 2022-23.

Our Donors

The important work done by the Ethics Center is, in part, made possible by the generous financial support of its donors.

Advisory Board

We are guided by an Advisory Board comprised of representatives of major Silicon Valley companies, law firms, and nonprofit organizations.

Program Areas

Ethics is crucial to every professional field, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics develops programs, resources, and insights in many disciplines.


Graphic of a heart and test tubes
Navigate here to Bioethics

seeks to resolve moral dilemmas that arise in health care and biotechnology.

graphic of a pie chart with different symbols and a handshake
Navigate here to Business Ethics

is the study of standards of behavior that promote human welfare and the common good within businesses.

two female students studying
Navigate here to Campus Ethics

welcomes Santa Clara University students, faculty, and staff into a conversation about applying ethics to the critical issues of our time.

computer, airplane, wrench, and engineering-related graphics
Navigate here to Engineering Ethics

help engineers identify and respond to dilemmas they face.

Recycling bin, globe, and lightbulb graphics
Navigate here to Environmental Ethics

applies moral thinking to the natural world and the relationship between humans and the earth.

Government building graphic
Navigate here to Government Ethics

encompasses the duties and obligations one assumes when he or she enters public service, as well as the personal pursuit of running for office.

graphic of statue of liberty and suitcase
Navigate here to Immigration Ethics

explores the moral issues that arise from the movement of individuals across borders.

social media icons and a smart phone
Navigate here to Internet Ethics

explores topics including online privacy, cybersecurity, social media, data ethics, the digital divide, internet access, AI ethics, and corporate tech ethics development.

Graphic of a news reporter on TV
Navigate here to Journalism and Media Ethics

offers journalists a framework for ethical journalism and uses ethical principles to frame the design and delivery of news, social media, and search products.

three people in disucssion at a table
Navigate here to Leadership Ethics

looks at the issues faced by those in formal leadership roles, as well as personal leadership, which is central to the way they are able to have an impact as leaders.

graphic of praying hands and various religious symbols
Navigate here to Religious and Catholic Ethics

program seeks to illuminate and comment on the influence of religious and Catholic thought on the ethical dimension of the key issues of our time.

graphics of hands reaching towards each other
Navigate here to Social Sector Ethics

works with both donors and nonprofit organizations themselves in the areas of finance and operations, leadership, fundraising, and engagement with the public.

planets and rocket ship
Navigate here to Space Ethics

explores the human impact of our space obsession and the effects it may have on our own planet.

Graphics of cybersecurity, internet web
Navigate here to Technology Ethics

addresses issues arising from transhumanism and human enhancement ethics, catastrophic risk and ethics, religion and technology ethics, and space ethics.

Venture Ethics Program area
Navigate here to Venture Ethics

focuses solely on studying and promoting applied ethics in venture capital. The Institute is the first and only of its kind and is made possible through a grant from the Lucas Brothers Foundation.

A Santa Clara University Center of Distinction

When Fr. Locatelli formed the Centers of Distinction, he imagined three centers deeply resonant with Santa Clara University’s Jesuit heritage and its practice of forming leaders for a better future for all.

Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
table variant table variant table variant
activates the Jesuit, Catholic character of Santa Clara University by encouraging students, faculty, staff, and community to embrace the Ignatian worldview in reflection, discernment, and action. brings the traditions of ethical thinking to bear on real-world problems to make choices that respect and care for others. combines the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley with the Jesuit heritage of serving the poor and protecting the planet to accelerate social enterprises around the world.

Engage with the Ethics Center by following us on social media on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X, and YouTube; subscribing to one of our newsletters or blogs; or becoming a donor.