In August 1985, nearly 20 WMU faculty from across the curriculum met to discuss their common interests in studying and teaching ethics. After three days of sharing ideas, the faculty agreed to form the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.
Originally sponsored by the WMU's Graduate College, the Center is now housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Center's co-directors are Michael Pritchard (Philosophy) and Sandra L. Borden (School of Communication). Shirley Bach (Philosophy, Emerita) is associate director, and Joseph Ellin (Philosophy, Emeritus) is publications editor. The Executive Committee has members from across the curriculum: Business, Chemistry, Communication, Education, Engineering, English, Philosophy, Physics, Race and Ethnic Relations, Social Work, and Sociology.
Over the years, the Center has worked closely with the medical community in sponsoring programs in biomedical ethics. It has also sponsored study groups on topics of general interest. Other focus areas include research ethics, communication ethics and engineering ethics.
The Center is the new home for Teaching Ethics, the official journal for the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum. Michael Pritchard (WMU) and Elaine Englehardt (Utah Valley University) are co-editors. Sandra L. Borden (WMU) is associate editor. David Charlton (WMU) is copy editor.
Each academic year, the Center sponsors 15-20 public presentations addressing a wide range of ethical issues. It also publishes a few of these presentations in its "in-house" publication series each year.
Although the Center has no academic courses of its own, it serves as a resource for faculty and students. From time to time, the Center offers workshops on teaching ethics for faculty, and faculty are invited to encourage their students to attend the Center's public presentations.