In 2005, SUNY Cortland President, Dr. Erik Bitterbaum approached the Philosophy Department asking the department to help train colleagues in infusing ethics throughout Cortland's curricula. After extensive contact with faculty and students, it was clear to campus leadership that: a) when faced with ethical questions in the classroom, faculty members felt ill at ease moving outside of their own discipline to discuss issues of moral import; and b) it was necessary for undergraduate students to be faced with complex ethical questions across disciplines. As a result, the Philosophy Department designed The Summer Ethics Institute to train 10 faculty members each year. The Summer Ethics Institute, unique in SUNY, has continued its annual program ever since.
Philosophy Department professors facilitate the Institute and help participants consider basic ethical approaches and their application to situations faced in higher education. Faculty spend twelve hours over two days, in four sessions, guided by the philosophy faculty in thought-provoking conversation, using the philosophical tools of dialogue and dialectic. Over the years attendees have commented that the annual Summer Ethics Institute is one of the most collegial and intellectually stimulating events of the academic year.
Faculty interested in attending can contact Dr. Mecke Nagel, CEPS Director, or watch for the email invitation each spring.