Kenan Institute for Ethics

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Kenan Institute for Ethics
Duke University campus
KIELogoNoDuke
Use Understanding and addressing real-world ethical challenges facing individuals, organizations and societies worldwide
Style Gothic
Erected 1995
Location East Campus
Namesake Frank Hawkins Kenan
Architect N/A
Programs Ethics Certificate Program, Lecture Series, Research, Education
Website Kenan Institute for Ethics

The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University is an interdisciplinary "think and do" tank committed to understanding and addressing real-world ethical challenges facing individuals, organizations and societies worldwide. The Institute promotes ethical reflection and engagement through its research, education and practice in five core areas: Human Rights, Global Migration, Rethinking Regulation, Moral Attitudes and Decision-Making, and Religions and Public Life.

A small sampling of current projects includes an intensive semester-long undergraduate program on forced migration, a new laboratory on moral decision-making, a practitioner-in-residence program, a partnership with a U.N. working group on business and human rights, and a new initiative exploring how faith, citizenship, and the law intersect with processes of globalization.[1]

History[edit]

The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University began as the Kenan Ethics Program in the fall of 1995 with a five-year grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Fund for Ethics. It was established in response to philanthropist Frank Hawkins Kenan’s concern about what he perceived to be an increasing lack of ethical standards in public affairs and in business life. Mr. Kenan, then a trustee of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and trustee of the Duke Endowment, and then-Duke President Nannerl Keohane sought to establish a university-based ethics program that would permeate the life of the university and extend into the life of the community and nation.

In July 1999, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust established a $10 million endowment managed by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Fund for Ethics, thus committing itself to long-term support. The Kenan Ethics Program then became the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and over time, the trustees of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust built the endowment to $20 million. The Institute celebrated its new status in January 2001.

Elizabeth Kiss was Director from 1996 to 2006, leaving Duke to become President of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, in August 2006. After a national search, Provost Peter Lange appointed Noah Pickus as the Institute’s new Director in July 2007. Professor Pickus was reappointed to another five-year term in July 2012. Suzanne Shanahan, who was appointed Associate Director in 2007, was also reappointed to another five-year term in 2012. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Professor Shanahan is serving as Acting Director while Professor Pickus is on sabbatical.

Since our founding, the Institute has grown into one of the most active and respected ethics centers in the country. At Duke, we have played a leadership role in the university’s engagement with ethics. We have contributed to a renewed focus on academic integrity (including a new honor code and code signing ceremony); the establishment of a two-course Ethical Inquiry requirement for undergraduates; the implementation of a research ethics requirement for all Ph.D. students (a national first); the launch of a research service-learning initiative that is now institutionalized as DukeEngage; the creation of ethics training for all students in the DukeEngage program; and the launch of an undergraduate certificate program in ethics. We have also established a graduate fellows program; taken part in the pilot semester of DukeImmerse; ran the third Winter Forum; launched a FOCUS cluster; and hired three faculty jointly with Trinity College.[2]

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