OSU program honored by Templeton Foundation


ORVALLIS - The John Templeton Foundation has recognized Oregon State University's Program for Ethics, Science and the Environment for its contribution to enriching the faculty development and the OSU curriculum in ethics education.

The PESE program, developed by the OSU Department of Philosophy, will be profiled in a forthcoming publication, "The Templeton Guide: Colleges that Encourage Character Development," a college guide designed for students, parents and educators. The Templeton Foundation cited PESE as an exemplary program in the area of "College and Character."

In its first five years, from 1994-98, PESE sponsored 14 new courses at OSU on ethics, held six academic conferences and four community workshops, and brought 40 public and professional leaders to OSU to give lectures to the campus and Willamette Valley area.

The program also has been a prime coordinator for an annual ethics workshop for students from Alsea, Corvallis, Crescent Valley, Monroe, Philomath and Santiam Christian high schools.

In addition, PESE publishes a nationally recognized newsletter, "Reflections."

"PESE provides multiple opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to explore difficult issues surrounding ethics, science, and the environment," said Leslie Burns, director of Undergraduate Academic Programs at OSU. "As such, the program exemplifies the type of compelling learning experiences we strive to offer."

Courtney Campbell, an associate professor of philosophy who has served as director of PESE, said the recognition is timely. In recent surveys by national pollsters, current high school students and enrolled college students have identified the "crisis in moral and social values" as the major problem facing their generation, Campbell said.

This marks the first time that morality and social values have displaced more traditional issues such as drugs, sexuality, and violence.

Campbell said PESE has developed a game, called "Ethics Jam," to help high school and college students think through the ethical implications of the choices they make in their everyday experiences.