2007 YEAR IN REVIEW

Programs and Projects
Sponsored Lectures

 Programs and Projects

The Collegium of Black Women Philosophers

The Collegium of Black Women Philosophers (CBWP) is a five-year pilot program with the purpose of encouraging and fostering a networking and mentoring relationship between the marginalized and underrepresented Black women in philosophy, including graduate students and assistant, associate, and full professors in the Academy. The objective of CBWP is to mentor and retain the Black women who are currently professors or graduate students in philosophy while simultaneously recruiting more Black women into the discipline. There will be an annual CBWP Conference with a keynote speaker, presentations of research, and professional development workshops for participants. In addition, each year the CBWP will support one panel of up to four participants at one of the major division meetings of the American Philosophical Association or another relevant major philosophy conference. See the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers website www.vanderbilt.edu/cbwp for list of presenters and more information.

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Conversations on Teaching

As in past years, the Center for Ethics and the Center for Teaching co-sponsored a program entitled Conversations on Teaching. This year, the topic was: Technology, Values and Teaching.

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Workshop 2: Laptops in the Classroom? Pedagogical Pros and Cons

Panelists: Duco Jansen, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt School of Engineering; Jim Lovensheimer, Assistant Professor of Musicology, Music Literature and History, Blair School of Music

When: 12:10-1:30pm, Wednesday, November 7, Alumni Hall 205

Description:
There are a variety of practical and pedagogical reasons for students to use laptops in our classrooms, from taking notes on the material presented, to viewing course related media, to complicated problem solving.  However, many students use laptops in our classrooms for other reasons, such as surfing, chatting and emailing.  When do these non-academic uses move from being pesky distractions to harmful disturbances that impair the learning environment?  Recently, in response to students’ misuse of laptops and other technologies in their classrooms, the Blair School of Music has instituted a policy banning the use of all electronic devices (laptops, cellphones, MP3 players, etc) from large lecture halls during class time.  Conversely, the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt issues each of its students a laptop upon entry into the program and requires them to use it in both the classroom and the laboratory. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such policies?

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Screening of the film A Dream in Doubt
Vanderbilt chapter of Amnesty International
Co-sponsored by the Center for Ethics
Monday, Nov. 12, from 6:00-8:00, in Wilson 103.

A Dream In Doubt is the story of Mr. Rana Singh Sodhi whose brother was the first victim of revenge killing, post 9/11. A panel discussion including the film's director (Tami Yeager) and producer (Preetmohan Singh) followed the screening.

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One Hour Speech by Ron Keine, representative of the Witness to Innocence Project
Vanderbilt chapter of Amnesty International
Co-sponsored by the Center for Ethics
Monday, Nov. 5th at 6:00.

Mr. Keine was sentenced to die for the murder, kidnapping, sodomy and rape of a University of New Mexico student and sentenced to die in the gas chamber. He spent 22 months on death row until the real killer was identified and he was acquitted and released. Mr. Keine, who has been on the Larry King show, various radio talk shows and in a PBS documentary, spoke of his experiences in prison and of the transition back into society, where he became a successful business and active in local politics.

 

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National Net Impact Conference

The Center funded 12 members of the student association Net Impact Undergraduate, to attend the national Net Impact conference, Nov. 1-3, hosted by Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management.

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Collegium of Black Women Philosophers, First Inaugural Conference

Kathryn T. Gines, Director and Conference Organizer
kathryn.t.gines@vanderbilt.edu

October 19-20, 2007, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center

Keynote Address: Anita L. Allen, Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and
Professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania

Esteemed Honoree: Joyce Mitchell Cook, First African American to earn
the Ph.D. in Philosophy in the U.S. (Yale University, 1965).

See the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers website www.vanderbilt.edu/cbwp for list of presenters and more information.

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Workshop on Pedagogy, Plagiarism and Computer Technologies
Thursday, October 4, 2007

Panelists: Melinda Brown, Instructional Coordinator, Vanderbilt University Libraries; Cindy Franco, OAK Manager; Michelle Sulikowski, Senior Lecturer, Chemistry and Director of Education for the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology

The internet has put vast amounts of information at student’s fingertips, making it easier than ever to locate resources for academic assignments.  There is rising concern, however, that this greater access to information is leading to increasing incidents of student plagiarism.  Plagiarism Detection Technologies, or PDTs (e.g., Turnitin.com), are tools that instructors can use to help detect and combat internet plagiarism by filtering assignments through some text-matching procedure.  Vanderbilt has recently adopted at PDT called Safe Assign, which is integrated into OAK, Vanderbilt’s Blackboard course management system. Yet these technologies are no substitute for good teaching, and many institutions have questioned the use of PDTs because of concerns about student privacy and copyright infringement. 

Do PDTs incite, what some scholars have called, “a culture of suspicion” on campus? How might this technology undermine the various aspects of learning that often take place around written assignments, including that of helping the student to distinguish his or her own ideas and words from those of others? Furthermore, what role do instructors play in informing students of the definitions of plagiarism and their use of this technology to check student assignments?  What is the proper role for these technologies?  This panel discussion explored the pedagogical uses and limitations of PDTs.    

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Symposium: Race, Culture, and the Ethics of Assimilation

Organized by Kathryn Gines: kathryn.t.gines@vanderbilt.edu
Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007

The aim of this symposium was to encourage informed discourse around questions of race and culture, racial and cultural assimilation (or non-assimilation), and motivations for assimilation versus non-assimilation.  Other related issues considered included questions about nationality, nationalism, the problem of assimilationism, and the possibility of creolization or additive acculturation as alternatives to assimilation.  The program participants also explored why these are not only social and/or political questions, but also ethical questions. Panelists were: Mariana Ortega (John Carroll University), David Kim (University of San Francisco), Howard McGary (Rutgers University), and Falguni A. Sheth (Hampshire College). Learn more about the panelists.

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Workshop on Public Health Literacy

In July, along with the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, the Ethics Center sponsored a three-week workshop on public health literacy. The workshop’s three goals were: to complete a co-authored article defining public health literacy; to develop a survey to measure public health literacy; and to design a course that would teach public health from an interdisciplinary perspective. This workshop is part of a larger MHS project on public health literacy that aims to develop a survey instrument that can be used on a broad scale to assess public health literacy among undergraduates.

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Standards for Academic Misconduct: “Toward a Normative Structure for Graduate Teaching and Mentoring”
This study is designed by John Braxton (Professor of Education, Dept. of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, Peabody College) to empirically derive a normative structure for doctoral education in the academic disciplines of biology, chemistry, history, and sociology in research universities with very high and high levels of research activity. It thus extends the study begun in Faculty Misconduct in Collegiate Teaching (Braxton and Bayer, 1999) that describes an empirically derived normative structure for undergraduate college teaching. This study also seeks to determine the influence of various characteristics of graduate faculty members (e.g. gender, tenure status, professorial rank, disciplinary affiliation, publication productivity) wield on their espousal of the identified norms. (Completed Spring 2007; results to be published with Johns Hopkins University Press.)

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Effects of Economic Factors on Teaching

On March 19, The Center for Ethics, together with The Center for Teaching, co-sponsored the following lunch-time seminar as part of an ongoing “Conversations on Teaching” (and “Ethics of Teaching”) series: “Effects of Economic Factors on Teaching,” featuring Prof. and Associate Dean Kate Daniels (English) and Prof. and Assistant Dean Richard Pitt (Sociology). These presenters discussed the impact of a variety of economic factors on University teaching at Vanderbilt and elsewhere.

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Pedagogy of the Difficult: Exploring the Hard Stuff

May 14-18 and May 21-25. Seminar for Graduate Students, Sponsored by the Center for Ethics, Mark Schoenfield, director. 

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Teaching the Hard Stuff

May 1-3 and May 7-9: “Teaching the Hard Stuff,” for Faculty, Sponsored by the Center for Ethics, directed by Brooke Ackerly (Political Science). The seminar was geared primarily for faculty in the humanities and social sciences, with an emphasis on addressing problems that faculty encounter as they attempt to encourage learning regarding controversial or sensitive issues.

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Values at Work in Teaching

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007: “Values at Work in Teaching,” featuring Prof. Carol Swain (Political Science) and Prof. Richard Haglund (Physics and Astronomy). These presenters discussed the values that they bring to their teaching, and the ways in which these values enter into their pedagogy.

 

 Sponsored Lectures

Roger Scruton of the Institute for the Psychological Sciencesl presented the fourth lecture in the Democracy and Moral Conviction series (co-sponsored by the Center) on Monday, April 16th at noon in the Renaissance Room of Vanderbilt Law School.  The title of his talk was:  “Freedom of Religion.” 

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Vanderbilt Amnesty International, the Vanderbilt Center for Ethics, and the Kurdistan Cultural Institute of Nashville presented "Kurdish Genocide in Iraq: Remembering the Anfal Campaign" on Saturday, April 14, 2:00pm-3:30pm, Furman Hall 114.

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Seyla Benhabib of Yale University presented the third lecture in the Democracy and Moral Conviction series (co-sponsored by the Center) on Monday April 9th at noon in the Renaissance Room of Vanderbilt Law School.  The title of her talk was: "The Great Divide: Muslim Women and the Public Sphere in the New Europe."

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April 6th at 3:15 p.m. in Furman Hall, Room 109, Charles Scott, Department of Philosophy and Director of the Vanderbilt University Center for Ethics presented a paper on: "Sensibility and Democratic Space.”

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Conference: “On the Lip(s) of Miriam’s Well: Jews/Women/Cultures,” March 19-20, 2007. Co-sponsored with Jewish Studies and the Provost’s Office.

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Linda Hirschman, a discussion of her book, “Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World,” March 15, 2007, co-sponsored with Women’s and Gender Studies.

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Together with the Muslim Law Students Association and The South Asian Law Student Association, the Center for Ethics hosted Professor Neal K. Katyal to speak at the Vanderbilt Law School on Februrary 26 at noon in Flynn Auditorium. Click here for a speaker bio and more details on the presentation.

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Bina D’Costa (click here for bio): “NGO’s and Civil Society: Strategies on Truth and Reconciliation in Asia,” Thurs., Feb. 22, 12:00-2:00 in the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center seminar room.

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Program for Black History Month entitled Soul Food and Soul Searching. Residence Life Staff to raise awareness and knowledge about the significant contributions made by African Americans and those of the Diaspora on February 22, 2007 at 7PM in the Divinity School Refectory.

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Joanna Kerr (click here for bio): “State of Global Feminisms and Women’s Movement,” Thurs., February 15, 12:10-2:00, at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.   

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Joanna Kerr (click here for bio): “Young Women in the Women’s Movement Today,” February 14, 2007 in the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center auditorium.

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William Colins Donahue, Associate Prof. of German and member of the Jewish Studies Executive Committee, Duke University, “Fantasies of Africa: Ethics as Literature in Leian Canetti’s The Voices of Marrakesh.” Thurs., Feb. 8, 2007. Co-sponsored with the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies, The department of Germanic and Slavic Languages. Professor Donahue also discussed his work in progress, “Holocaust Light: The Novels of Bernhard Schlink,” on Friday, Feb. 9, 2007 as part of the German colloquium Series.

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Dr. Rebekah Gee, “Plan B, Reproductive Rights, and Physican Activism,” Jan. 23, 2007, co-sponsored with Women’s and Gender Studies

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