Ethics@Illinois Past Events

2014 Program

Monday, March 3

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Dr. Linda L. Layne, Program Director, Ethics Education in Science and Engineering, NSF
Cultivating Cultures of Integrity: A New Approach to Ethics Education at NSF

Why do students cheat? Are these the same reasons that STEM researchers sometimes engage in research misconduct? How large a problem is this? Why do college honor codes apply to students but not post docs, or faculty, or staff? Why are academic and research integrity treated differently? Are there other ethical dimensions to STEM learning and practice? What kinds of environments promote integrity? Can the lessons of social psychology and anthropology be of use here? Which social norms are communicated to students, faculty and staff about integrity and how? Are there ways they might be communicated more effectively?

After funding research and curricular development in ethics education in science and engineering from 2007-2013, the EESE program is changing the focus from funding projects that try to change individual behavior to changing the environment in which STEM education and practice take place.  During this presentation Layne will discuss the context for this change and NSF’s plans for this new cross-directorate initiative.

Thursday, March 6

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Dale Jamieson, Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy, Affiliated Professor of Law and Director of the Animal Studies Initiative New York University
Grass fed environmentalism: Living responsibly in the Anhropocene

A critical modern assumption is that humans are the only species to possess moral value. Is this morally defensible? We’ll explore the considerable differences between animal-welfare and ecological modes of thought, while paying attention generally to the many ways we benefit from other life forms and how we might best think about them. As we’ll see, our varied reasons for wanting to conserve other life forms can lead to widely differing policies and actions

In conjunction with the Campus Series on the Scholarship of Sustainability.

banner-at-Jamieson_web Jamieson-McKim

2013 Program

Monday, October 14

11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Class lectures for CMN 280 and CEE 595S
Sarah Pfatteicher, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Author of “Lessons amid the Rubble: An Introduction to Post-Disaster Engineering and Ethics”

4:00 p.m.
Ethical Issues that Teachers Face in the Classroom – Panel Discussion


  • Lorenzo Baber, College of Education
  • Michael Robson Graduate TA, Computer Science
  • Genevieve Hendricks, Graduate TA, Psychology

7:00 p.m.
Movie – “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”

Tuesday, October 15

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Conflict of Ethics Issues Surrounding Open Access – Panel Discussion


  • John Wilkin, University Librarian/Dean of Libraries
  • Alex Scheeline, Emeriti Faculty, Chemistry
  • Roy Campbell, Computer Science

Wednesday, October 16

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
UI Faculty Ethics Summit

Thursday, October 17

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Ask the Expert – Panel Discussion


  • C.K. Gunsalus, Director, NCPRE
  • Gretchen Winter, Director, CPRBS
  • E.J. Donaghey, President/CEO, UIECU

Friday, October 18

8:45 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
Class Lecture for Business 101
Jared Harris, Associate Professor, UVA Darden School of Business

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
COB Seminar
Jared Harris, Associate Professor, UVA Darden School of Business

2012 Program

Monday, October 8

12:15 PM
Getting from Regulatory Compliance to Genuine Integrity: Have You Looked Upstream?
Brian Martinson, Health Partners Sr. Research Investigator and Director of Science Programs. Openings remarks by Debasish Dutta, Dean of the Graduate College

Much of the discourse on research integrity has been driven by a narrative focused on individual researchers who have acted in bad faith, consistent with a conception of research integrity as a property inherent to, or lacking in, the individual. In contrast to this very down-stream looking perspective, Dr. Martinson has been interested in looking upstream, considering research integrity as a function of the ways in which individual researchers interact with one another, with the institutions that employ them, and with the systems of regulation, resource allocation and publication that define the science enterprise. Just as an engineer may be concerned with threats to the “structural integrity” of a building, Dr. Martinson has been concerned with understanding threats to the structural integrity of the science enterprise.

In this talk, Dr. Martinson will present some alternative ways of thinking about research integrity, and how to foster and sustain it. In doing so, he will touch on some of the ways he sees current enterprises as being deficient in maintaining the structural integrity of science. Dr. Martinson will also describe some of his own ongoing work to help institutions do what they can to address some of these deficiencies. Specifically, he will discuss his group’s recently validated tool, the Survey of Organizational Research climates, which allows research institutions to collect reliable, valid, and actionable data to stimulate internal discussions, education, training and other initiatives to promote research integrity.

4:00 PM
Being Good, Doing Good, and Feeling Good: What It Means to be a Socially Responsible Scientist
Mark Frankel, Director of Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Opening remarks by Peter Schiffer, Vice Chancellor for Research.

There is still some debate about the place of “social responsibility” in the context of research ethics. There are those who believe it should remain outside the realm of research ethics because the latter should focus only on the conduct of research and not on its application. This talk addresses why social responsibility belongs under the umbrella of research ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), and goes further to argue that researchers MUST embrace social responsibility as part of their training and ethos. It will offer concrete examples of how scientists can usefully discharge those responsibilities.

Tuesday, October 9

12:00 PM
The Practice of Ethics in Classroom Teaching

Illinois faculty instructors from a variety of disciplines will share strategic and practical strategies for creating classroom atmosphere that result from ethical behavior on the part of instructors. Questions will be answered about the connection between teacher behaviors that promote academic behaviors on the part of students. It is the goal of the panel to begin ongoing campus-wide dialogues on issues of faculty responsibilities for demonstrating basic ethical behaviors that promote learning.


  • Lucas Anderson, Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Joseph Hinchcliffe, Political Science
  • Celia Mathews Elliott, Physics
  • Gretchen Winter, J.D., Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society

1:00 PM
Academic Integrity: Values and Vision for a Modern University
Panel led by Charles Tucker, Associate Dean, College of Engineering

Cheating and plagiarism are time-honored (or dis-honored) activities on virtually every campus, but technology and shifting societal norms seem to be changing the game. Computers have made some forms of cheating as easy as point-and-click, at the same time that they have offered the prospect of automating the detection of cheating. Students in many disciplines are routinely encouraged to study in groups – and may subsequently be punished for turning in homework that is too similar to that of another student. Traditional notions about citing sources in written work may seem passé to students whose media world blurs the boundaries between facts, opinion, and entertainment. Against this background, members of the panel will discuss the meaning and value of student academic integrity. They will explore the viewpoints and experiences of students and faculty on our campus; speak to the reasons for having academic integrity standards; and ask how this should inform our approach to teaching and learning in today’s world. Panelists will be challenged to articulate a vision for what academic integrity can be, and should be, on our campus.


  • Charles Tucker III, Mechanical Science and Engineering
  • Cinda Hereen, Computer Science
  • Paul Prior, Center for Writing Studies and Department of English
  • Steven Michael, Business Administration
  • Jenny Roderick, Aerospace Engineering

4:00 PM
When is Reproducibility an Ethical Issue? Genomics, Personalized Medicine, and Human Error
Keith Baggerly, Professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Univ. Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Modern high-throughput biological assays let us ask detailed questions about how diseases operate, and promise to let us personalize therapy. Careful data processing is essential, because our intuition about what the answers “should” look like is very poor when we have to juggle thousands of things at once. Unfortunately, documentation of precisely what was done is often lacking. When such documentation is absent, we must apply “forensic bioinformatics” to infer from the raw data and reported results what the methods must have been. The issues are basic, but the implications are far from trivial.

Dr. Baggerly will examine several related papers purporting to use microarray-based signatures of drug sensitivity derived from cell lines to predict patient response. Patients in clinical trials were allocated to treatment arms on the basis of these results. However, in several case studies, the results incorporate several simple errors that may have put patients at risk. One theme that emerges is that the most common errors are simple (e.g., row or column offsets); conversely, it is Dr. Baggerly and his colleagues’ experience that the most simple errors are common. Dr. Baggerly will briefly discuss steps they are taking to avoid such errors in their own investigations, and discuss reproducible research efforts more broadly.

Wednesday, October 10

1:00 PM
When IRBs Do Not Agree: On Campus, Across Universities, Internationally
Panel led by Nicholas Burbules, Professor of Educational Policy Studies

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is a requirement for virtually all research involving human subjects. But there are challenges confronting IRB review in three types of collaborative settings: interdisciplinary research within an institution, research that spans different institutions with multiple IRBs, and international research that involves other countries with different research traditions. How can researchers navigate these tricky waters?


  • Nicholas Burbules, Education
  • Anita Balgopal, Director of University of Illinois Institutional Review Board
  • Virgil Varvel, Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship
  • John Laughlin, Communication

4:00 PM
Ethics and the Welfare of the Physics Profession
Kate Kirby, Executive Officer of the American Physical Society

In 2002, several prominent cases of data falsification were discovered in physics papers published in leading journals. The situation prompted the American Physical Society (APS) to form a Task Force on Ethics to understand better how ethics education takes place in the physics community. By surveying the APS community, in particular the junior members, the Task Force received a lot of information on ethics concerns. Dr. Kirby will report on APS Ethics activities since 2004 and describe some of the resources which are available.

6:00 PM (Pre-Performance Reception); 7:00PM Performance
Staged reading of Oleanna, with post-performance discussion led by Richard Wheeler, Visiting Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Kathleen Conlin, Professor of Theater

A compelling and thought-provoking play by David Mamet about interactions between a faculty member and student. A student comes to her professor with questions about the course material, but misunderstandings and misjudgments lead to rising conflict between them.

Dick Wheeler and Professor Kathleen will lead discussion of the play immediately after the reading.

Thursday, October 11

12:00 PM
The University Ethics Office: How It Works and What It Does
Donna McNeely, Ethics Officer for the University of Illinois

On a shoestring budget and with only two employees, the University Ethics Office is responsible for management of the University-wide Help Line, annual ethics training for the nine public universities in Illinois, and internal ethics related investigations. This is your opportunity to learn more and ask some of the questions that you’ve always wondered about but never had the opportunity to ask.

1:00 PM
Ethics of Animal Research: Rights-Based and Care-Based Perspectives
Panel discussion with Professors Janeen Johnson and Matt Wheeler, and moderated by Nicholas Burbules

Animal welfare proponents believe “that animals are sentient and that humans are their stewards.” Animals can be harmed but they can be benefited as well. Ethics demands that we attempt to achieve a balance of humans’ and animals’ benefits and harms. Animal rights activists believe that animals have basic moral rights and therefore cannot be treated as simple entities to serve the ends of others. These opposing sides of the ethical spectrum will be discussed.


  • Janeen L. Salak-Johnson, Animal Sciences
  • Matt Wheeler, Animal Sciences, Institute for Genomic Biology, and Beckman Institute
  • Nicholas Burbules, Education

6:00 PM
Ask an Expert Panel: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: Honest Answers to All Your Ethical Dilemmas
Sponsored by the Ethics CORE Student Advisory Committee

Have you ever encountered a problem that made you uncomfortable, that you felt just wasn’t right, and that weren’t sure how to handle? Have you ever been put on the spot by a boss or friend asking you to do something you weren’t comfortable doing? Watched people around you take actions you weren’t sure were right, but not been sure what to do? What if you get up the courage to say something and the response to your objections is “everybody does it”? What if everybody else is doing it?

We want this event to be as useful as possible for real-world problems and are thus hoping to collect a wide range of dilemmas for discussion. At the panel, we will discuss representative dilemmas and our panel of experts will talk about ways to handle each one, including resources that can help students work through the issues.

To make the panel directly relevant to students on our campus, we are seeking submissions of real ethical dilemmas experienced by students. The submission form is confidential and the dilemmas will be kept anonymous in the panel discussion.

Friday, October 12

10:00 AM
It’s Not Just Privacy, Porn, and Pipe-bombs: Libraries and the Ethics of Service
Lane Wilkinson, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

As professionals, librarians have developed robust codes of ethics that, paradoxically, have little to do with professionalism; our professional codes of ethics function as broad values that are largely silent when it comes to moral decision-making at the point of service. Conversely, most extant discussions of ethical library service tend to focus strictly on extreme examples such as bomb-making, suicide, or pornography, despite the fact that the vast majority of our professional dilemmas are rather mundane: whether or not to give out the wireless password, whether to waive a fine, or when to withhold information in pursuit of a teachable moment. Drawing on the nature of the professional-client relationship, this talk will provide a framework for ethical library service based on the principles of respect for autonomy, fiduciary responsibility, and justice.

11:00 AM
Rotten Apples or a Rotting Barrel: Challenging the Orthodoxy of Liberal and Methodological Individualism
Susan S. Silbey, Professor of Humanities and Sociology & Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Crises of corporate and professional responsibility have been endemic to American society, at least since the last quarter of the nineteenth century. With each chapter of professional misconduct, the explanation has been the same: Professional and corporate misconduct are problems caused by some few weak, uninformed, or misguided individuals making poor choices. A few rotten apples are giving the barrel a bad name.

In contrast to the traditional conception, I suggest that professional and corporate misconduct derives, at least in part, from features of the organizations and social settings in which they take place. Those situations and settings provide both the opportunities and incentives for misconduct. The barrels have particular shapes and not all barrels produce the same kind or amount of rot. A more empirically derived approach to understanding ethics and corporate, social and professional responsibility analyzes those settings, the opportunities, incentives, and constraints they provide for conforming or norm violating behavior. This talk identifies cultural and structural features of contemporary American society that undermines ethical behavior and fosters professional misconduct.

12:00 PM
Fundamentals of Scholarly and Research Integrity
Ken Pimple, Director of Teaching Research Ethics Program at the Poynter Center, Indiana University. Sponsored by the NCPRE Student Advisory Committee