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Lincoln Center Teaching Fellowship comes to West campus

April 07, 2011

Questions related to ethical inquiry will permeate several new and revised courses offered by ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences during the 2011-12 academic year. Six faculty members have been selected as Lincoln New College Ethics Teaching Fellows through a collaborative program with ASU’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics.

The Lincoln Center’s ethics teaching program was first implemented in 2001 and has since led to the infusion of ethical studies and principles into Tempe and Polytechnic campus courses in a wide range of fields, including justice studies, math, Chicano/a studies, and dance. The New College courses involved for 2011/12, to be offered on ASU’s West campus, examine topics including genes, race and gender; rhetoric; communication and consumerism; hate speech, manifestos and radical writings; games; and language, culture and performance.

“Presenting undergraduate curriculum with ethical dimensions and components is one of the most important missions of higher education,” said Martin Beck Matuštik, Lincoln professor of ethics and religion and interim director of New College’s Center for Critical Inquiry and Cultural Studies (CCICS).

“Multiply six faculty members by the number of students each will reach per semester for years to come. Consider that number of students trained with ethics as a focus, and the other people those students will interact with, and you will see the significant benefit to our society provided by the impact this process will have on our future leaders,” Matuštik said.

Matuštik will serve as seminar director for the six New College faculty fellows. The fellows will meet throughout the fall semester to expand their backgrounds in ethics and develop syllabi, reading lists and additional materials for the courses they will create or revise during the academic year.

“The New College faculty members selected for the program are excellent teachers and first-rate scholars in their fields,” said Peter French, director of the Lincoln Center. “They submitted well-developed proposals for the design of new or redesign of existing courses, and they possess the creative capacity to expand their fields of expertise to issues and topics with ethical significance.”

French said he is pleased to see the ethics teaching fellowship program expand to ASU’s West campus.

“The courses developed in this program in the past have continued to enhance the learning experiences of ASU students and bring more of the consideration of ethics in the various disciplines into the forefront of an ASU education for many students,” he said. “The teaching fellowships play an important role in helping the Lincoln Center to expand the impact of ethics applied to many different fields.”

Establishment of the Lincoln Center Teaching Fellows program within New College coincides with a major initiative in the college to redesign its general education curriculum.

“We are committed to providing a curriculum that enables students to enhance their critical thinking and ability to communicate effectively, build their information and quantitative literacy, and acquire knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world through study in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts,” said Elizabeth Langland, dean of New College. “This new collaborative project with the Lincoln Center gives us an exciting opportunity to provide an even richer experience for our students.”

The faculty fellows and classes associated with the project are:

Theresa Devine, assistant professor of fine art, game programming and design 

New course: Game Over: Can games be moral?

This course provides an introduction to problems of moral philosophy as they apply to games. Through a study of game play mechanics a variety of important moral issues related to race, sex, violence, gender, freedom of choice and social responsibility in games will be explored.

Breanne Fahs, assistant professor of women and gender studies

Revised course: Hate Speech, Manifestos, and Radical Writings

This course has as its primary objective the examination of writings, speeches, and texts that provoke radical, or even revolutionary, social change. One person’s hate speech may be another’s manifesto.  At its core, this course asks: What is the radical and what does it do?

Sharon J. Kirsch, assistant professor of English

Revised or new course: Rhetorical Studies: Inventing Ethics  Rhetorical studies examines the emergence of rhetoric in antiquity and traces the canonical and more recently established traditions of rhetoric from the ancient Greeks to the present day. If rhetoricians question the question, reject first principles, embrace situated or negotiated knowledge, then how can one know how to act or what course of action to choose if “the good” constantly shifts? Decisions about how to act must be negotiated and informed by the situation at hand. Ethics is itself a rhetorical instruction made amidst social contingency.

Pamela A. Marshall, associate professor of biological sciences

Revised course: Genes, Race, Gender, and Society  This course is designed to integrate seemingly disparate information across the sub-disciplines of science. It will allow students to think more deeply about two important topics rooted in biology, chemistry and sociology: race and gender.

Majia Holmer Nadesan, professor of communication

Revised course: Communication and Consumerism

Communication and Consumerism explores the sustainability and ethics of our current consumer society. The course examines the history of consumerism by looking at communicative representations of the good life in advertising and popular culture. The course explores the ethical implications of our consumer culture and grapples with the type of societal and individual ethics and choices required to build a sustainable future.

Arthur J. Sabatini, associate professor of performance studies

Revised Course: Language, Culture and Performance

The study of dialogue, performance and ethics is interdisciplinary and unifies ideas in philosophy, communications and the arts. This course explores language in performance in forms of verbal art and orality, speaking and listening, dialogue and storytelling, and in other discourse genres, with an emphasis on ethics and ethical issues. The subjects and themes in the readings focus broadly on personal and cultural memory, place(s) and historical legacies, war and recollection, social conflict and language.

Two additional New College faculty members were selected as alternates for the fellowships; the two will participate in the program as CCICS scholars-in-residence and seminar auditors. They are:

Patricia Huntington, professor of philosophy and religious studies

Revised Course: Philosophy and Literature: An Intertextual Ethics

“I launched an undergraduate Certificate and a graduate area focus in Philosophy, Rhetoric and Literature in Fall 2010, and having taught two versions of this course, I have hit upon the need to develop an ethical understanding of the practice of writing and reading, an inter-textual ethics. The overarching aims of this course would be strengthened by making explicit the kind of ethical practice that it tacitly circles around. My proposal is to redesign the course after researching and reading literature that focuses the question of how the nature of the dialogue between reader and text, author and text or author, text, and reader can occasion ethical transformation.”

Eric H.R. Wertheimer, professor of American studies, literature and critical theory

Revised Course: Poetry and the American Renaissance: Whitman and Dickinson

One of the perennial questions we have dealt with in this course is a variety of the following: What are the ethics of reading? How to read a material archive of strangely ‘authorized’ texts? How to read the biographical in the artifice of poetry? How to read the construct of sexuality in the un-constructed and unacknowledged evidence of biography and text? What respect must be given to the matter of privacy, when distinguishing between public texts/personae and those that are withheld? What ethics attach to the methods and principles of good editorship?”