A starting point

This Web site is dedicated to facilitating workshops, conferences, and other ways of discussing the future of practical and professional ethics. To that end, I’ll be sharing my thoughts, plans, and whatnot as the organizer of the five projected workshops that we will hold at Indiana University. In this case, “we” includes an impressive group of IU faculty who are helping in the planning of the workshops, as well as several of us at the Poynter Center and APPE (which is housed with the Poynter Center). I’ll introduce them later.

We began the IU effort by developing a simple model to guide our decisions. You are welcome to emulate, adapt, improve, or ignore our model; whatever approach you take, I’d like to hear about and share it here.

The IU model

Invited speakers, panelists, and participants will articulate methods to address emerging challenges in professional ethics through scholarship, research, public policy, education, and the leadership of professional associations.

Workshops will be guided by three key questions:

  1. What ethical challenges does your profession currently face?
  2. What ethical challenges will your profession face in the near future?
  3. How can researchers and educators prepare students and young professionals to meet these challenges?

To answer these questions, most workshops will focus on one or two professions or on one or two ethical issues (e.g., freelance professionalism, personal branding) common to several professions. One meta-workshop will examine the larger contexts in which the professions are situated (e.g., government regulation, public opinion, the economy, etc.) and how those contexts promote, undermine, or ignore integrity in professions and professionals.[1]

Workshop template

Typically, workshops will be 4-5 hours. Each workshop will be organized into four substantive sessions, with a break included:

  1. The problem: An invited guest speaker with recognized expertise will provide the lead-off presentation on a challenging ethical issue facing professionals (e.g., conflicts of interest, privacy, deception, confidentiality). There will be a short period for questions from the floor.
  2. The problem in context: Three IUB panelists with diverse points of view will comment and expand on the speaker’s points. Open discussion with all workshop participants will follow to explore how different disciplines (e.g., medicine, education, journalism) approach the problem.
  3. How did we get here? Participants will discuss how professional practice and professional ethics education have advanced understanding and practice. How has scholarship/research improved our understanding? How has education/teaching improved practice? (In some cases, this part of the workshop will be in breakout sessions. Each breakout would likely be led by a panelist.)
  4. How can professional ethics address future problems? Participants will plan an agenda for future work. What do the professions and professionals need? How do we address those needs? (This would be in plenary.)

Ken Pimple


[1]In a later post, when I share more information on our actual plans, you’ll see how far we have fine-tuned our approach.

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Ken Pimple

About Ken Pimple

I've been involved in the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics before its actual creation. I am coordinating the international conversation on the future of practical and professional ethics for APPE, and organizing five workshops that will be held at Indiana University in Bloomington in academic year 2014-15.

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