2019 Director's Message

As we advance into our second programmatic year, this Director's Message will outline what programs we have instituted over the past year and what hopes we have for the academic year 2019-2020.   First, however, let me introduce you to the new Coordinator for the Ethics Institute, Ms. Lisa Dieckman.  Lisa came to us in May after graduating from The Ohio State University, with an MA in Latin American Studies.  She has already made a dramatic difference in the work of the Institute, most notably in updating our public face, with a revamped website and in the creation of a newsletter. 

During the past year the Institute gave two Inspire awards to undergraduate students and an Undergraduate Research Award.  We conducted two summer workshops on Teaching Ethics, one to an interdisciplinary group of seven faculty from Social Work, Business, Mass Communications and Veterinary Medicine; the other to a group of twelve faculty from the School of Education.  We began a Film Series on ethical matters, conducting two campus showings and discussions; and we sponsored the 12th Annual Louisiana Philosophy Conference, with guest keynote speaker, Professor David Phillips of the University of Houston giving a public lecture on ethical decision making.  With the considerable assistance of LSU alumnus and Institute supporter, Ryan McConnell, we held the first Ethics Summit in the spring of 2019, with compliance executives from AT&T and Baker Hughs GE addressing an audience of Louisiana business executives and a University audience of faculty and administrators.  All of this was made possible by the efforts of the LSU Foundation team of Krista Allen Raney, Alexandra Landry, Jordan Jopling, Lori Pilley, and Madeline Devenney-Brown, as well as the generous support of those who contributed the resources necessary to support these programs. 

Our plans for the coming year are ambitious.  We will continue our search for a permanent director.  We are planning public lectures in the fall and spring, extending our teaching workshops and guest sessions on ethical theory to the physical sciences, and beginning two efforts at enhancing ethical discourse on our University campus.  The first of these will be a regular series of student-faculty lunch discussions on ethical matters; the second is an on-line forum on ethical questions, led by Department of Philosophy graduate students.  Finally, we will continue work on our major research initiative: the Moral Theory Project.

Last year, in a similar format, I wrote of the University as a place of discovery, where students come to learn about what they wish to do and who they wish to be.  I failed to include the University itself in this process.  What is it we wish to discover about who we wish to be?  Inevitably, such an inquiry will involve our commitment to high ethical standards.  It is incumbent upon all of us who inhabit this place of wonder, including this Institute itself, to create an atmosphere in which the ethical culture of our University is addressed, scrutinized, and strengthened.   In our programmatic efforts for this coming academic year, this will be our primary focus. 

Cecil L. Eubanks, Alumni Professor
Director, LSU Ethics Institute
Summer, 2019