Rutland Institute for Ethics


Presidential Colloquium - Rigor, Rights and Responsibility in Research

The theme of this year’s Presidential Colloquium was chosen with an eye to making the most of connections to the summer reading incoming students did this year (We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler), research already underway, as well new research projects regarding the history of Clemson University, and Clemson’s 2020Forward goal of increasing research and creating an “exemplary research environment.” The events of the Colloquium will explore the expectations of the research enterprise —including limits or constraints on it, some of which arise from expectations of rigor, while others are associated with the rights of research subjects, for example— and invite us to consider the implications of the widespread belief that research will solve problems, provide clarity, and generally make things better. The aim of the Presidential Colloquium is to provide opportunities for Clemson University students and faculty, as well as members of the community to come together to explore important issues. The colloquium comprises various events spread over the academic year, e.g., speakers, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and films. In every case the event is linked to the colloquium theme, which is selected with an eye to its integration “across the curriculum. Click here for more information, or here to view all past Presidential Colloquia.

J.T. Barton, Jr. Ethics Essay Contest

The J.T. Barton, Jr. Ethics Essay Contest was established in 2001 by class of 1972 alumnus Stephan “Steve” Barton in honor of his father, J.T. Barton Jr., an alumnus of the class of 1950. Any Clemson undergraduate student, regardless of major or grade-point average, is eligible to compete in the essay competition.

Creative Inquiries

Tigers Talk Ethics

The Tigers Talk Ethics Creative Inquiry is an effort on behalf of the Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics to capture and explore the ethical attitudes and moral beliefs of Clemson University students. It focuses on controversial issues that influence the lives of college academia and offers a platform for students with various beliefs to discuss the societal impact of these issues. The main goal of the creative inquiry is to promote awareness, understanding, and tolerance of these issues. Students interested in becoming a part of Tigers Talk Ethics should contact Dr. Stephen Satris at

Ethics Bowl

Clemson's Orange Wave Ethics Bowl team has a documented history since 2004, with a solid record of competitive results, including being the 2008 national champions. Coaches for the team at various times are, Dr. Stephen Satris, Dr. Kelly Smith, Dr. Charles Starkey, and institute director, Dr. Daniel Wueste. Students interested in joining the team should contact Dr. Wueste at

Click here to view the record of The Orange Wave.

Based on NCAA Rulebook Rewrite

During the 2011-2012 academic year, President Barker paired with institute director, Dr. Daniel Wueste, to facilitate a creative inquiry group and involve them with the work of reviewing and suggesting rewrites and simplifications of the NCAA Rulebook. Their work was showcased at the Tenth Anniversay Gala. Just recently, an article on the CI appeared in Clemson World:

Programs and Centers

Ethics Across the Curriculum

It is absolutely critical that students are educated in how to make ethical decisions. Thus, developing “students' ethical judgment” is prominent among the goals set out in Clemson’s Mission Statement. The best evidence of Clemson’s commitment to this goal is that ethical judgment is a distributed competency in the general education curriculum. It is a distributed competency, rather than one met by taking a single three-credit course, because Clemson faculty recognize that ethics in practice is not compartmentalized and the most effective way of conveying this point is by integrating ethics in regular courses throughout the curriculum. In fact, an article was published in the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi's Bent about ethical decision making, with four of the writers (Well, Sill, Park, and Ohland) being EAC Alumni. EAC is part of a worldwide movement for whom interested professionals may affiliate with the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum. For an overview of the program: Ethics Across the Curriculum: At the Heart of the Rutland Institute's Mission. Over the last several years, as a benefit of membership in the Rutland Ethics Alliance at certain levels, and as a means of outreach into the community, scholarships have been provided for K-12 teachers to attend a one day version of EAC K-12. Drs. Wueste and Fishman have created and offered this program.

Ethics in Design and Building

The aim of the Professional Ethics in Design and Building seminar is to enhance practical understanding of relevant state law and, in particular, ethical principles relevant to architectural practice. The approach is interactive and user-friendly. We use case studies (a) to elicit ethical principles and (b) as occasions for practice in applying them. We explain how these ethical principles figure in what we call a “toolbox approach” to ethical decision-making and stress the need to approach ethical issues in a systematic, reflective and responsible way.

For a related article from the American Institute of Architects

For information on the 2015 offerings

International Center for Academic Integrity

The International Center for Academic Integrity provides a forum to identify, affirm, and promote the values of academic integrity among students, faculty, teachers and administrators. The ICAI Web site is divided into a public tier, which contains general information about the Center and its activities, and a members-only tier, which contains specific information on ICAI projects, research, and a list-server for members to exchange ideas and information. Learn how your academic institution can gain access to all of the online resources provided by the ICAI by becoming a member today.

Department of Philosophy and Religion

The Clemson Department of Philosophy and Religion has an extremely active body of undergraduates interested in extracurricular Philosophy and Religion activities. In fact, interest has grown so rapidly that the department now has an undergraduate coordinator, Kelly Smith, whose job it is to oversee and facilitate all student activities. What's really important about this fact is that the department has allocated a small budget which can be used to facilitate said undergraduate activities.

Collaborative Projects

Values Based Leadership Working Group

On March 8, 2013 the Rutland Institute for Ethics held a symposium on “Influential Voices on Economic Development, Ethics and Education.” As an outgrowth of that meeting and in collaboration with Ten At The Top, during the remainder of 2013 the institute conducted quarterly C-level executive sessions of a Values Based Leadership Working Group. The sessions for 2014, the first one on March 14th this section.

June 11, 2013: Notes from the Session Agenda Photos from the Session

September 27, 2013: Notes from the Session Agenda No Photos available.

December 4, 2013: Notes from the Session Agenda Photos from the Session

March 14, 2014: Notes from the Session Agenda Photos from the Session Bios

June 13, 2014: Notes from the Session Agenda Photos from the Session

September 12, 2014: Notes from the Session Agenda No Photos Available

March 24, 2015: Notes from the Session Agenda No Photos Available

July 29, 2015: Notes from the Session Agenda No Photos Available





Engineering Ethics Slam

Definition: The Ethics Slam is an ethical dilemma competition that challenges various groups of students to compete by having their responses to major ethical dilemmas evaluated by a panel of judges. There can also be a “people’s choice” audience judging element if deemed desirable.

Background: In an effort to engage people on the Clemson Campus and encourage interaction in ethical discussions in a fun yet meaningful way, the concept of an alternative version of an “ethics slam” as detailed in an article in the August 2013 issue of The Rotarian magazine was proposed. The article is about the Big Ethical Question Slam competition that takes place annually in Ann Arbor The project at Clemson was outlined, planned and implemented by a Technical Writing class instructed by Ms. Angelina Oberdan in the spring 2014 semester.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Students demonstrated their ability to use conventional workplace writing genres (emails, memos, and business letters) to facilitate and organize an event.
  • Students investigated possible audiences, as well as estimated and measured the effectiveness of their communication and of the event.
  • Students established a one-semester threshold event that can lead to a series of similar events over the next few years and will clearly dictate through instructions how this series can progress.
Resulting Products:
  • Engineering Ethics Slam event that involved the students from the Technical Writing Class and the audience/spectators that they drew to the event.
  • A manual for organizing future ethics slams across any discipline or by a Greek group or other organization on campus.

Influences Project

The Influences Project is an ethics DVD created with the Project Challenge Drama class of students from Westside and T. L. Hanna High Schools and Ashley Cowden’s Business and Technical Writing class at Clemson. Students in one of Ashley Cowden’s business writing classes teamed up with a drama teacher and her students from Hanna-Westside Extension Campus in Anderson, S.C., to create an educational DVD about ethical dilemmas high school students face. The goal of the project was to facilitate discussions between students and teachers about making good choices when faced with tough decisions.

View a highlight video of the event here

View the interview with Coach Dabo Swinney

Ethics in Medical Research and Genetic Engineering (EMRGE)

Developed in collaboration with Anderson School District 5, SC Life and the SC DNA Learning Center, EMRGE (Ethics in Medical Research and Genetic Engineering) worked with six high school science teachers to provide them with professional development to enable them to facilitate discussions of ethical issues that arise across curriculum. They were mentored in lesson planning, project rubrics, and experiential trips to Clemson for 350 students. Specifically addressed were several SC standards for which they had few resources and background to effectively guide their students. Click here to view resources associated with the project. Click here to view some useful documents. Click here to view photos of the event.

The Land Ethics and Sustainable Communities Project

The Land Ethics and Sustainable Communities Project provides seminars and events that provide participants with information about establishing and maintaining sustainable communities. Initiatives that educate people about energy consumption, climate change, new technology and alternate energy options comprise the foundation of this project (this project is yet to be initiated).

Special Projects

National Survey of CEOs on Business Ethics

The National Survey of CEOs on Business Ethics is a study involving 300 large and mid-size corporations in all major industries, in collaboration with the Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson and the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at GSU and conducted with support from UPS. Panelists from Prominent Upstate corporations will comment on the results and share their practical perspectives.

Rutland Institute Event Template

The Rutland Institute for Ethics Event Template was created as a marketing tool that emphasizes one of the services that the institute can coordinate and facilitate to ensure a tangible work product. Often tough challenges or thorny issues may not get the attention needed for an effective solution.


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