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Nine projects in practical ethics receive funding

Johns Hopkins faculty have been awarded funding for nine projects in the area of practical ethics to get underway in the new year. The first recipients in the JHU Exploration of Practical Ethics program will examine a wide range of subject areas, including criminal justice, higher education, economics, and environmentalism.

"We are thrilled with this outcome," says Ruth Faden, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics, who helped shape the award opportunity. "The response from the Hopkins faculty was amazing, and the quality of the proposals is just extraordinary."

The program was announced in July by Robert C. Lieberman, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, who invited faculty to propose projects in the interdisciplinary field that focuses on ethical issues arising in professions and scholarly disciplines, within institutions, and in society. Applications were accepted for funding of innovative research, educational experiences, or other activities.

In the call for proposals, the Provost's Office said, "Practical ethics addresses the substance of ethical issues as well as questions about who in a society should decide what to do about those issues and by what process. Inquiries in practical ethics may work at different levels, focusing on individuals, or on authorities, or on the political process, depending on context."

The goals for the new program include learning what topics in practical ethics are of interest to faculty and resonate across divisional lines, generating excitement and energy around a concerted effort in this area, and defining an ongoing program in this field that serves the needs of the divisions and the vision of One University.

The projects selected will receive up to $75,000 for single-division proposals or $100,000 for proposals involving cross-divisional faculty teams. The program has a total $400,000 commitment supported by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Berman Institute of Bioethics, six academic divisions, and a matching gift from university trustee Andreas Dracopoulos.

The principal investigator for each project must be primarily affiliated with one of the supporting divisions: the Carey Business School, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Peabody Institute, SAIS, School of Education, or Whiting School of Engineering. Faculty with primary institutional affiliations in other schools, or in the Berman Institute of Bioethics, may be listed as co-investigators.

The PIs, co-investigators, and the nine projects that were chosen are:

Judah Adashi, faculty, Composition and Music Theory, Peabody Institute. Project title: Unseen: Kalief Browder and Solitary Confinement in America

Ryan Calder, assistant professor of sociology and Islamic studies, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Project title: Can God Stop the Next Financial Crisis? Prospects for a Consequentialist Ethics of Islamic Financial Engineering

Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Ethics and Global Food & Agriculture, SAIS and the Berman Institute of Bioethics. Co-investigators: Alan Goldberg, professor, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Paul Lubeck, senior research professor, SAIS. Project title: Understanding and Addressing Moral Dilemmas of Sedentarisation of Pastoralists: Practical Ethics of Mitigating Conflict Amongst Water and Food Resource Constrained Populations in the Northern Kenya Semi-Arid Lands

Erik Helzer, assistant professor of management, Carey Business School, and Andrew Talle, faculty, Musicology, Peabody Institute. Project title: Understanding the Ethics and Value of Higher Education: When Is Specialized Training "Worth It"?

Feilim Mac Gabhann, assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine, and Israel Gannot, associate research professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, both in the Whiting School of Engineering. Co-investigator: Debra J. H. Mathews, associate professor, Berman Institute of Bioethics and Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine. Project title: Practical Ethics for Future Leaders: Interdisciplinary Education Modules for Innovation

Mario Macis, assistant professor of economics and management, Carey Business School. Co-investigators: Vikram Chib, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, associate faculty, Carey School of Business, research scientist, Kennedy Krieger Institute; and Jeffrey Kahn, the Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy in the Berman Institute of Bioethics, professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health. Project title: Altruism, Ethics, and Markets: A Behavioral and Neuroscientific Experimental Study

Anand Pandian, associate professor and director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Anthropology, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Project title: Environmental Ethics in American Life: An Anthropological Inquiry

Beverly Silver, professor and chair, Department of Sociology, and director, Arrighi Center for Global Studies, and Daniel Pasciuti, assistant research scientist, Department of Sociology and Arrighi Center for Global Studies, both in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the Faculty Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins Arrighi Center for Global Studies. Project title: The Practical Ethics of University Engagement: Lessons From the Local and Global

Lindsay J. Thompson, associate professor, and Sylvia Long-Tolbert, assistant professor of marketing, both in the Carey Business School. Co-investigator: Cynda Hylton Rushton, the Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics and Nursing, School of Nursing; core faculty, Berman Institute of Bioethics; joint appointment in Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine. Project title: Moral Resilience: Transforming Moral Distress

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