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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Program In Ethics Wins Funds In Drive.

$14 M Victory Seen

By Jse Mathews

The $2.1 billion University-wide capital campaign will officially kick off a week from today. And when the largest fund-raiser in the history of higher education is complete, some of its biggest beneficiaries promise to be Harvard scholars who study ethical issues.

While numerous departments and programs are battling for campaign money, Harvard's ethics program has demonstrated how to win. As a result of its well-constructed bid for funds and presidential support of the teaching of ethics, the University-wide Program in Ethics and the Professions stands to receive a substantial chunk of money from the campaign.

"It is hard to imagine a Program that could be more integral to the central purposes of the University," President Neil L. Rudenstine has written of the study of ethics.

And Rudenstine plans to put Harvard's money where his mouth is. A memo obtained by The Crimson suggests that the capital campaign will boost the number of faculty involved in ethics and propel the seven-year-old ethics program into a prominent role in the University.

"Students in Harvard College are going to encounter more and more courses where they will discuss these kinds of [ethical] issues," the memo's author, program director Dennis F. Thompson, said in an interview last year.

The confidential memo, which Thompson sent lastsummer to Rudenstine and the graduate schooldeans, details the resources "needed to promoteethics." University officials have said thatHarvard is committed to providing much of thefaculty and funding requested in the memo.

Those resources include:

. A total of six professorships, with one ineach of the five schools "with the most activeethics programs."

. Five junior or visiting faculty spreadthroughout the University; the memo says the costwould be $1 million per faculty member.

. Numerous fellowships, which could be used forgraduate students or junior faculty; in addition,the memo requests $350,000 to support two graduatestudent fellows and six regular fellows--who aregenerally academics and professionals from aroundthe country--in the Program in Ethics and theProfessions.

. Approximately $500,000 to fund "facultyseminars, conferences, research projects, lectureseries, as well as staff and space" for bothgraduate schools and the central ethics program.

. A University-wide Ethics Fund to be overseenby the president.

Fulfilling these requests will not be cheap.The memo estimates that the portion of therequests targeted for the central ethics program"would require a campaign goal of $13-$14million."

But the memo justifies that expense by citingnumerous examples of subjects "that cut acrossdisciplines and professions and that could beappropriate for collaborative teaching andresearch."

The sample subjects include: "ethical dilemmasof diversity," "ethical challenges oftechnological change," "ethics of expertise:regulating professionals and controlling officialswho act on behalf of others" and "the protectionof personal life in an age of public exposure."

Throughout the memo, Thompson makes apassionate appeal for broad University support ofethics initiatives.

"Although courses specifically devoted topractical ethics are an important part of ethicseducation, systematic discussion of ethical issuesis now increasingly integrated into a wide-rangeof courses throughout the curriculum, and inclinical settings in the professional schools,"the memo says.

"The intellectual resources to sustain thiskind of integrated teaching and research arerarely found in one department or even in onefaculty within the University.

The confidential memo, which Thompson sent lastsummer to Rudenstine and the graduate schooldeans, details the resources "needed to promoteethics." University officials have said thatHarvard is committed to providing much of thefaculty and funding requested in the memo.

Those resources include:

. A total of six professorships, with one ineach of the five schools "with the most activeethics programs."

. Five junior or visiting faculty spreadthroughout the University; the memo says the costwould be $1 million per faculty member.

. Numerous fellowships, which could be used forgraduate students or junior faculty; in addition,the memo requests $350,000 to support two graduatestudent fellows and six regular fellows--who aregenerally academics and professionals from aroundthe country--in the Program in Ethics and theProfessions.

. Approximately $500,000 to fund "facultyseminars, conferences, research projects, lectureseries, as well as staff and space" for bothgraduate schools and the central ethics program.

. A University-wide Ethics Fund to be overseenby the president.

Fulfilling these requests will not be cheap.The memo estimates that the portion of therequests targeted for the central ethics program"would require a campaign goal of $13-$14million."

But the memo justifies that expense by citingnumerous examples of subjects "that cut acrossdisciplines and professions and that could beappropriate for collaborative teaching andresearch."

The sample subjects include: "ethical dilemmasof diversity," "ethical challenges oftechnological change," "ethics of expertise:regulating professionals and controlling officialswho act on behalf of others" and "the protectionof personal life in an age of public exposure."

Throughout the memo, Thompson makes apassionate appeal for broad University support ofethics initiatives.

"Although courses specifically devoted topractical ethics are an important part of ethicseducation, systematic discussion of ethical issuesis now increasingly integrated into a wide-rangeof courses throughout the curriculum, and inclinical settings in the professional schools,"the memo says.

"The intellectual resources to sustain thiskind of integrated teaching and research arerarely found in one department or even in onefaculty within the University.

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