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Ethics in Society

DePauw’s Ethics in Society minor fosters the discernment, reflection, empathy and critical thinking that students need to reason effectively through ethical questions – a central component of DePauw’s commitment to develop leaders the world needs.

Ethics is the evaluation of actions, character traits, policies and institutions according to standards of what is right, virtuous, beneficial, good and just. Such evaluation is inherent in the human condition and pervades every kind of professional practice.

Examples of Ethics in Society

  • Scientists must decide which research questions are worth pursuing and conduct research with integrity
  • IT professionals write the code for the world’s social media feeds, shaping not only what we believe but whom we trust
  • Medical practitioners make decisions that can have life-or-death consequences.
  • Business leaders decide how to balance shareholder profit with the interests of employees, managers, customers, the public and the environment.
  • Educators must decide when and how to teach painful truths or confront controversial topics.
  • Artists bring issues to the public’s attention and shape the public’s emotional response to those topics.

What can I expect?

The Ethics in Society minor cultivates real-world ethical competence tailored to students’ particular interests and life goals.

  • Core courses - address the norms and values that may be at stake in any domain.
  • Focus courses - add a depth of knowledge about a particular topic or field.
  • Capstone - is designed to help students synthesize and articulate their development as ethical thinkers for a public audience.


Jennifer Everett, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder. Blair Anderson and Martha Caroline Rieth Chair in Applied Ethics; Director of Ethics in Society Program. Specializes in environmental philosophy, animal ethics, and interdisciplinary sustainability studies.

Jeremy Anderson, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine. Research interests: political philosophy, early modern philosophy. Visiting professor of professional ethics, U.S. Air Force Academy, 2005-06.

Lydia Wilson Marshall, Ph.D., University of Virginia. Winner of the 2018 John L. Cotter Award for excellence in early-career scholarship from the Society for Historical Archaeology. Editor of the book, “The Archaeology of Slavery: A Comparative Approach to Captivity and Coercion.”

Amity Reading, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Interested in Old and Middle English languages and literature, interdisciplinary medieval studies, Shakespeare and disability studies.

Tucker Sechrest, Ph.D., Binghamton University, with a focus in political philosophy and philosophy of law. Editor of The Prindle Post and visiting fellow at the Prindle Institute for Ethics. Business Ethics instructor, Ethics in Society steering committee member.

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