Rutland Institute for Ethics has local and global impact
Ethical dilemmas influence almost every aspect of our lives, down to the buildings we encounter each day; even architects must make ethical decisions to ensure that we live and work in safe spaces. Clemson’s Rutland Institute for Ethics addresses the impact of ethics by extending its reach as far as possible, working with architects across the state in addition to its diverse national, international and on-campus initiatives.
At Clemson, Dan Wueste, director of the Rutland Institute for Ethics, hopes to make a difference by promoting the integration of ethics across all curricula of study. In order to do this, the institute offers seminars for all faculty and staff that discuss how to incorporate ethics into regular teaching and interaction with students.
“Ethics is truly woven into the fabric of our lives. It’s not something that occurs in one little corner. The best way for students to get that message is to have ethics showing up again and again in different areas in their classes,” explained Wueste.
The institute also reaches out to students through the presidential colloquium, the annual J. T. Barton Jr. ethics essay scholarship competition and the national intercollegiate ethics bowl. In addition to winning the 2008 national competition and placing second in the 2009 and 2012 national competitions, Clemson will host the Mid-Atlantic Regional ethics bowl competition for the second consecutive year this November.
“The thing that I would most like to see is that what Clemson University is recognized for is the deep commitment of its students to living lives of integrity, to being women and men of integrity.” said Wueste. “What a tremendous accomplishment that would be, so that people would say, ‘I can tell she went to Clemson; watch how she conducts herself; see how she, even in the face of animosity, is respectful of others- that’s a Clemson woman.”
Beyond serving students, faculty and staff, however, the institute does both national and international work. For example, the Institute is the home of the International Center for Academic Integrity, which serves members in 19 foreign countries with resources such as its academic integrity assessment guide. The institute also helps many outside parties address and maintain ethical practices, conducting programs for architects, engineers, lawyers, social workers, hospital administrators and C-level business executives. The institute also teaches an ethics across the curriculum seminar at other colleges and universities and partners with the Greenville Health System (GHS) in an ethics integration project at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine on the GHS campus.
“The ethical problems of professional life are complicated… We’re trying to help people recognize the challenges that they face and help them acquire the skills to deal with them,” said Wueste.
The institute hopes to continue to improve its presence on campus and welcomes input from all faculty, staff and students.
“If people suggest things to us and we have the ability to do it, we’ll do it,” said Wueste. “I think that the best way to handle important, complicated, difficult things is to work together. It isn’t that each individual is out there, and they’re struggling out there on his or her own to be a person of integrity. We’re in this together.”
–Ashley Hedrick, Class of 2016