Grant to finance ethics resource center

Grant to finance ethics resource center

URBANA – The University of Illinois will lead a major ethics initiative after earning a five-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The National Center for Professional and Research Ethics will take the lead with other universities and other UI departments in providing accessible resources in ethics for teachers, students, researchers, administrators and other audiences.

With an online presence, the center will become a national physical and virtual portal for professional and research ethics in science, mathematics and engineering, the center noted.

The effort is led by longtime UI administrator and Professor C.K. "Tina" Gunsalus, who previously led ethics-promotion efforts in the business, law and medical schools and in a universitywide grants and research program.

Gunsalus is an "ethics guru," said Kim Gudeman of the Coordinated Science Laboratory.

The director explained that the National Science Foundation proposed a competition for an online ethics resource center.

"We put together a group and submitted a proposal. It's a very cool collaboration with (UI's) Grainger Engineering Library," Gunsalus said. "We plan to use the National Science Foundation development funding to be able to offer a combination of access to instruction and materials from people who have experience in teaching professional ethics."

Gunsalus said the UI has a historical strength in teaching and thinking about ethics.

Thus the center, which is affiliated with the Urbana campus' Coordinated Science Laboratory, will be able to grow from the UI strengths in engineering, digital library technologies, mathematics, medicine, business and law, among other fields, Gunsalus said.

The center will also include leadership from other universities.

Co-principal investigators include Taft Broome of Howard University.

Other UI investigators include Nicholas Burbules, Michael Loui, and William Mischo.

"We'll be able to help instructors and administrators who want to know about the best practices in ethics, connecting scholars who are involved in the most recent research," Gunsalus said.

The center will also provide information and expertise for ethics instructors, students with questions about research integrity, researchers and engineers who encounter ethical challenges in practice, administrators in universities and businesses who oversee ethics and compliance policies, scholars who conduct research on professional and research ethics and others with questions or interests in these areas, a press release noted.

The web portal infrastructure will be located in the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center at Illinois and will be built around the HUBZero e-learning and collaboration platform.

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sacrophyte wrote on October 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

Now the big question is whether this prestigious research will be leveraged to improve the obnoxious lack of ethics in Illinois politics. Or are we going to get the "same old same old"?