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Ethics center marks 25th year with trio of events

Nov. 11, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A rich history of exploring thorny ethical issues will be illuminated with a talk, panel discussion and reception Monday, Nov. 15, when the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Events marking the milestone all take place in the Bernhard Center and begin with a talk titled "Teaching Ethics: The Hastings Center Goals After 30 Years" by Dr. Michael Pritchard, professor of philosophy, the center's founding director and current co-director. Pritchard will speak at 4 p.m. in Room 211.

A reception will follow Pritchard's talk at 5 p.m. in Room 210 before a panel discussion examines "Reflections on the Role of the Ethics Center at WMU" at 6 p.m. in Room 211. Panelists include Drs. Shirley Bach and Joseph Ellin, both professors emeritus of philosophy, and Dr. James Jaksa, professor emeritus of communication. Bach serves as the ethics center's associate director, while Jaksa is a former associate director. Ellin is the center's publications editor.

It was August 1985 when nearly 20 WMU faculty from across the curriculum met to discuss their common interests in studying and teaching ethics. After three days of sharing ideas, the faculty agreed to form the center.

Originally sponsored by WMU's Graduate College, the center is now housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. Over the years, the center has worked closely with the medical community in sponsoring programs in biomedical ethics. It has also sponsored study groups on topics of general interest, while other focus areas include research ethics, communication ethics and engineering ethics.

Each academic year, the center sponsors 15-20 public presentations addressing a wide range of ethical issues. It also publishes a few of these presentations in its "in-house" publication series.

In addition to Pritchard, Dr. Sandra Borden, professor of communication, also serves as the center's co-director. For more information, go to wmich.edu/ethics.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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