Grants for Course Development

The Center for Ethics will support planning and research during the summer for new ethics-related courses.  The initial grant will be for $4000 with an additional $4000 provided when the course is accepted as part of the relevant College’s scheduled classes.

Applications should provide a preliminary description of the course and the projected date for completion of the course design and its submission to the curriculum committee for approval.

The Center will provide the second payment when there is official notification that the course has been scheduled in the curriculum.

A committee of the Center will review applications and make recommendation for action.

Grants Awarded:

Course entitled "Airwar and Aftermath" (European Studies 237), taught by Gerald Figal (History) and Sara Figal (German) for Spring '09.

Course entitled "U.S. and Global Immigration," taught by Carol Swain (Political Science) with Beverly Moran (Law School) and Idit Dobbs-Weinstein (Philosophy) for Spring '09.

Course entitled "Writing as Political Resistance, " taught by Idit Dobbs-Weinstein (Philosophy) for Spring '09.

Course entitled "The Ethics of Race and Sexuality," co-taught by Ellen Armour (Graduate Department of Religion) and José Medina (Philosophy) for Fall '09.

Course entitled "Ethics and Animals," taught by Kelly Oliver (Philosophy) for Spring '10.

Course entitled "Human Rights and the Literary Imagination," taught by Sarah Passino (English). This course centers around collecting oral histories from the homeless population in Nashville in order to think critically about what human rights means. 


Grants for Interdisciplinary Courses

In the academic years, ’08-‘09 and ’09-’10, the Center for Ethics will support up to three cross-disciplinary courses for each year with these characteristics:

1. At least three faculty members from different disciplines involved in planning and teaching the class;
2. A topic that addresses an ethics-related issue or problem.  (“Ethics-related” means that the topic addresses issues that directly concern human well being and/or conduct, for example issues of health care delivery, justice, poverty, professional integrity, rights of stakeholders, uses and abuses of technology, etc.);
3. Approval by the chair of the department or departments of the faculty member (s) who will receive teaching credit for the class.

The Center’s support will take the form of a grant of up to $28,000 for each course.  These funds may be used to bring in visiting speakers whose work is assigned in the class or whose work is especially relevant for the assigned material.  Ordinarily the visitors would participate in one or more classes, meet with interested students, and give one public presentation.  The funds also may be used for summer grants of four thousand dollars for each faculty member who participates in planning and conducting the course.  In addition, summer grants would be available for participating faculty members for each year the course is offered.   Preference will be given to courses that would be taught more than one time and that include undergraduate students. Courses may be taught as Selected Topics.

Applications should include a short preliminary description of the course, the names of the faculty who have agreed to help plan and conduct the course, a list of proposed guest speakers, budget, and a note of agreement by the relevant chair (s) for the faculty member(s) who will receive teaching credit for the course.  A committee of the Center will review applications and make recommendations for action.

Applications for fall, ’08 are due on October 1, 2007; for spring, ’09, they are due on February 1, 2008. Faculty members may also submit applications during this academic year for courses proposed for ’09-’10.  They may be sent electronically to, or by campus mail to The Center for Ethics, 110 Alumni Hall.

For grants awarded see "Trans-disciplinary Courses" below.


Global Feminisms Project

The Center is sponsoring the Global Feminisms project, which is being forwarded by Brooke Ackerly. The purpose of this project is to develop an institutionalized expertise at Vanderbilt University in the trans-disciplinary field of Global Feminisms. The project is a research group that has service research, curriculum development, and activism components. The project’s curriculum development component will entail developing a new graduate and a new undergraduate course on Global Feminism.


Trans-disciplinary Courses:

Course entitled "Airwar and Aftermath" (European Studies 237) taught by Gerald Figal (History) and Sara Figal (German) for Spring '09.

Course entitled "U.S. and Global Immigration," taught by Carol Swain (Political Science) with Beverly Moran (Law School) and Idit Dobbs-Weinstein (Philosophy) for Spring '09.

Past Courses:
A year-long (Spring, Summer, Fall) international program, beginning in the Spring of '08, for students participating in the Vanderbilt Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement (VISAGE) program. This program was jointly-taught by faculty members from the College of Arts & Science (Marshall Eakin), Peabody (Brian Heuser) and the School of Engineering (Eugene LaBoeuf). While each faculty member taught a discrete course with a particular topic, and supervised summer student-abroad components to Nicaragua, South Africa, and Australia respectively, these three courses were also constructed around common themes: Global Citizenship, Social Justice and Sustainable Development. Students from the three courses had frequent opportunities during the spring and fall semesters to engage in large group discussions concerning these topics and to hear and discuss the work of specially selected visiting speakers. 

"Values and the Environment" (Fall '07). Co-directors: David Wood (Philosophy) and Beth Conklin (Anthropology); contributing faculty: Richard King (Religion), Florence Faucher-King (Sociology), Mike Vandenbergh (Law), Jonathan Gilligan (Earth & Environmental Sciences), Brooke Ackerly (Political Science), Gay Welch (Religious Studies).

"Global Justice and Responsibility" (Spring '08), John Goldberg (Law School), Rob Talisse (Philosophy)


Applied Ethics Three-Year Assistant Professorship

Joan G. Forry (Ph.D. Temple University, 2008) joined the VU philosophy faculty in September 2008. Her position, co-sponsored by the Center for Ethics and the Philosophy Department, is a three-year, non-tenure track position in Applied Ethics. Each year she will teach three courses in applied ethics as well as other courses in philosophy.  Fall semester ‘08 she is teaching Introduction to Ethics, Environmental Ethics, and a course in Gender and Sexuality. Besides ethics, her research areas include Social and Political Philosophy, Aesthetics, Feminist Theory, Women’s Studies, and Philosophy of Education.