Teaching Ethics at Universities

The Ethics Initiative at the Wheatley Institution

In recent years, many business, civic, and religious leaders have commented on a general decline in the moral maturity and moral sensibility in our society. Those who direct our core social institutions, including educational, governmental, and business organizations, can no longer take for granted that those they admit or employ will bring with them to their positions highly developed values of honesty and integrity, or that they will come with a robust sense of honor and duty. More frequently in our society, opportunism, self-gratification and concern for personal success seem to be overwhelming basic integrity, respect for the rule of law, and concern for the welfare of others. Both research data and anecdotal evidence seem to validate this trend. This decline in basic integrity has important implications for the tenor of public life and the viability of our most important civic and economic institutions. When self-service replaces public service among those who govern, the public good is placed at risk. And in business the real costs of dishonesty are staggering.

Fostering ethical behavior — in the business world and beyond — is thus an important priority of the Wheatley Institution. Our activities include:

These and other related efforts will continue to be central at the Wheatley Institution. We will support and disseminate scholarly work which reduces the high costs of unethical conduct, encourages and enables ethical behavior in business and the public square, and enhances the teaching of virtuous principles to the rising generation.