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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

  •  Building Character Through After-School Programs

    Monday, Jul. 28, 2014 4:47 PM
    Violent crimes committed by young people “occur most frequently in the hours immediately following the close of school on school days,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.  Calling the afterschool hours “prime time for juvenile crime,” the advocacy group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids reports that afterschool programs have been shown to:
    • Reduce juvenile crime and violence
    • Reduce drug use and addiction
    • Cut other risky behavior like smoking and alcohol abuse      
    • Reduce teen sex and teen pregnancies 
    • Boost school success and high school graduation. 
    A new program from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the East Side Union School District in San Jose is betting that afterschool programs can also help to form student character.
    With a grant from Goodwill Industries, teachers representing four East Side Union high schools spent four days at the Ethics Center.  Teachers offering activities from jujitsu to yearbook worked with Ethics Center character education staff to shape their afterschool activities into programs that can build character, engagement, community, and success.
    Tom Kostic, associate director of character education at the Center, gave the group a grounding in the basic principles of ethics, explaining that to be ethical is to be “the kind of person other people would choose as a study partner, friend, business partner, teammate, confidant, or even life partner.”  Kostic stressed that although people might differ on some thorny ethical issues, most would agree that society should foster the values of responsibility, respect, self-control, integrity, and effort among young people.
    How to instill those values became the focus on four days of workshops taught by Center Character Education Director Steve Johnson and a group of teachers and administrators who are alumni of the Center’s programs.  Johnson focused on the question, “What works?” urging participants to look at the research about what interventions are effective, whether those interventions are efficient, and whether they will meet the real-life needs of their particular students.
    Kristi Hofstetter Batiste, retired teacher, talked about using service learning to build character.  In service learning, teachers send students out into the community to participate in meaningful community service and also provide opportunities for students to reflect on and learn from these experiences. Exposure to community needs fosters compassion, and students develop responsibility as they address those needs.
    Another focus of the program was building a community to support character.  Wendell Brooks, founder of the BDK Foundation, outlined eight “Habits of the Heart,” which he uses in his work with at-risk youth in Orange County, Calif.   Drawn from a book by Clifton Taulbert, the eight habits are:
    •  Nurturing Attitude                 
    • Dependability
    • Responsibility                        
    • Friendship
    • Brotherhood              
    • High Expectations
    • Courage                      
    • Hope
    The Center’s work with East Side Union grew out of a concern on the part of Goodwill to find interventions that might work to impact bullying, according to Bruce Shimizu, director of Goodwill’s youth programs.  “We hope to start impacting kids and parents in a positive way so that we can make a dent—make kids more aware of their actions and more apt to change to positive behaviors.  If some of these kids go tell other kids, maybe that spreads.” 
  •  New Student Government Ethics Website

    Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014 2:37 PM

    The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is proud to sponsor Student Government Ethics, a new website developed by an SCU senior, Kori Lennon. Lennon, a member of Santa Clara University’s Class of 2014, developed this site during her time as a Hackworth Fellow with the Ethics Center. After spending three years on Santa Clara’s Associated Student Government, her goal was to encourage greater reflection and conversation about ethics among student government leaders.

    The site provides discussion guides and ethics cases for use in student government meetings, encouraging student leaders to consider ethical concerns and share their perspectives. Sections on Mission and Vision Statements, Codes of Ethics,and Values, encourage student leaders to develop documents that more clearly define the ethics of their organization.


  •  Welcome 2014 Hackworth Student Fellows

    Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014 2:12 PM

    The Hackworth Fellows are Santa Clara University undergraduates who provide ethics programming for students. They can be reached at 408-554-5319, or by sending an email to The Fellowships are made possible by a gift from Joan and late Michael Hackworth. For further information about the program, click here.

    Krishan Allen

    Krishan Allen is an economics major from Emerald Hills, Calif. He will research methods of integrating ethical goals into investment practice, and aims to explain how students can attain both social and financial returns within their investment portfolios. He enjoys playing basketball, reading biographies on social scientists, sailing in the San Francisco bay, and making the most of the California sun.

    Justin Fitzimmons

    Justin Fitzsimmons, a philosophy major and English minor from San Francisco, will be working on issues related to diversity and inclusion; his fellowship will be coordinated with the SCU Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Justin has studied at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the University of Cambridge in the U.K. He is interested in Bay Area sports, philosophy, playing basketball, watching films, and reading.

     Logan Peterson

    Logan Peterson, a finance major from Scottsdale, Ariz., will focus on the Big Q, the Center's social media campaign to involve undergraduates in discussion about the ethical issues in the everyday lives of undergraduates. Logan loves city life, traveling, yoga, art, and photography. This summer, she'll be interning in the finance department at Apple as a part of the Online Store Sales team.


  •  Ann Skeet New Director of Leadership Ethics

    Tuesday, Jul. 8, 2014 12:30 PM

    The Ethics Center welcomes Ann Skeet as new director of leadership ethics. Skeet will oversee the Center's work in business and nonprofit ethics. Having already served as a strategy consultant to the Ethics Center, she will continue to play a role as a strategic advisor to the executive director.

    Skeet previously served as president of Notre Dame High School of San Jose, CEO of American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley, and vice president of marketing for the San Jose Mercury News. She is a board member of the Children's Musical Theater of San Jose, and formerly served on the boards of the Nonprofit Development Center, the Children's Discovery Museum, and Partnership for School Readiness. She was also co-chair of the board at United Way of Silicon Valley. Skeet is a graduate of Bucknell University and the Harvard Business School.

    "Silicon Valley is like a crowded, super-charged, ever-changing town square for a global community of innovators," Skeet states. "It is also a place where many struggle to achieve their personal goals in spite of all the assets and opportunities our town square has to offer.  How people and organizations here grapple with issues raised by rapid rates of change, diverse populations and unparalleled creativity has intrigued me for the half of my life I have lived and worked here."

  •  Elizabeth Connely Selected as 2014-15 Honzel Fellow

    Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2014 9:00 AM

    Elizabeth “Liz” Connelly was a 2013-14 Health Care Ethics Intern, and returns this year as the Honzel Fellow in Health Care Ethics. The youngest of five, she grew up in Spokane, Washington. She will be a senior at Santa Clara University, majoring in Theater as a non-traditional pre-med major, and minoring in Biology. During her sophomore year, she served as a Community Facilitator on campus, and will be returning as an Assistant Resident Director this year.. As the Honzel Fellow, Liz will serve as a peer mentor for the 2014-15 interns, in addition to taking on a larger project at the Center. After completing her undergraduate education, she plans on attending medical school, and looks forward to  becoming a pediatrician.



  •  Fun Sprinksgiving Video Captures Donor Thanks

    Friday, Jun. 27, 2014 10:12 AM

    Santa Clara University held its second annual "Sprinksgiving," a day of gratitude and donor appreciation held in April, in which students signed a giant thank you card, enjoyed refreshments and camaraderie, and reflected on the meaning of philanthropy. Selected student staff and Fellows from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics are featured in the video, as they reflect on their appreciation of the Center and the importance of these donations in terms of their growth, education, and awareness of ethical issues, not only on college campuses, but nationwide and globally.

    "We are without a doubt some of the most fortunate students in the world with all of the amazing opportunities we have, and that would not be possible without the wonderful people willing to invest in our education," comments Erin Callister, 2013-2014 Hackworth Fellow.

    Other Ethics Center students featured in the video are: Akshay Vyas, Christine Cate, Lauren Ellis, and Supriya Hoskeri.

  •  Markkula Prizes Awarded

    Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2014 1:30 PM

    Each year, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics awards the Markkula Prize to a Santa Clara University senior who has done outstanding work in applied ethics. Established by the Advisory Board of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics in honor of A. C. "Mike" Markkula Jr.'s leadership as chairman of the board, this award is given annually to a student in recognition of outstanding work in applied ethics.  This year, the Center awarded two Markkula Prizes:

    Jillian Gerrity (pictured with Advisory Board Member Kristi Markkula Bowers and Center Executive Director Kirk Hanson) is graduating with a double major in Biology and Public Health. Building on her experience as a Health Care Ethics Intern last year, Jillian served as an invaluable member of the bioethics team as the Honzel Fellow in Health Care Ethics. In addition to serving as a peer mentor to the current interns, Jillian played a pivotal role in piloting a new clinical placement, assisted with recruitment, worked on our social networking sites, and researched ways for the bioethics and health care ethics programs to become better integrated with the larger Santa Clara community.

    Jillian also strengthened our ties with alumni and gathered stories of former interns to publish on the web and was responsible for all the communications, editing, and “publishing” of these write-ups. She also was of great help in editing a video of one former intern and without her the project could not have been completed. And now at the end of the year, Jillian is even helping in the planning of next year’s internship program. In addition to all her responsibilities at the Center, Jillian has also been working in a Santa Clara biology research lab.

    This summer, Jillian was selected to participate in the Pre-Health Undergraduate Program at UCSF and next year, will be managing Dr. Hess’s biology lab as she begins the process of applying to medical school.

    Allie Sibole, (pictured with Advisory Board Member Kristi Markkula Bowers and Center Executive Director Kirk Hanson) bioengineering major and 2013-14 Environmental Ethics Fellow at the Markkula Center, is from Eugene, Oregon. As an Environmental Ethics Fellow last year, Allie did groundbreaking original research on the ethical issues involved in designing the Solar Decathlon 2013 Radiant House. Allie practically wrote a book on the ethics of the Solar Decathlon competition, including critiquing the judging categories themselves. Last month she attended the first annual IEEE Engineering Ethics Symposium in Chicago and shared some of her research on the ethics of the building materials used in the Solar Decathlon House. More than once she was asked, “So, what do you teach?” to which she responded that she was an undergrad.

    She’s has already started an intensive year-long Master’s program in bioengineering at Johns Hopkins University, and no doubt will do very well in her future endeavors. Allie is also the recipient of the University's 2014 St. Clare Medal, which is "given to the female graduate judged outstanding in academic performance, personal character, school activities, and constructive contribution to the University."

  •  Biotech Poster Session on Ethical Issues

    Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2014 1:31 PM

    Thirty Santa Clara University Biology students presented an educational and informative Poster Session on June 3, sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the Bioengineering Department, and the University Honors Program. The event took place at the newly renamed Vari Hall, Arts and Sciences building. Their assignment, given by instructors Margaret McLean and Leilani Miller, was to select a biotech topic and present the ethical issues and concerns it raises. Topics with titles such as "Do Ask, Do Tell -- Guidelines for Incidental Findings Within Genetic Testing," "Recombinant DNA Enhanced Biofuel," and "Savior Siblings: Yours, Mine, and Ours," illustrated the scope and diversity of the projects. The Poster Session, now in its 12th year, drew a large crowd of faculty and students, and fulfills the Science, Technology, and Society core curriculum requirement at SCU.

    "What's most remarkable is how the projects change in ten weeks," stated McLean, associate director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and senior lecturer, Religious Studies, Santa Clara University.  "When they begin, they are fascinated by a problem but soon discover the scientific and ethical pitfalls along the way. The poster project is really a process of discovery for them--discovering their passion, building their competence, and asking questions about risk, benefit, and responsibility.  Each year, the students bring new technologies and new applications of existing technologies to our attention, and we learn so much from them. Imagine de-extincting giant sloths or creating biofuels by building a cell or growing a human pancreas in a pig! Many of these students are planning careers in medicine, research, and bioengineering, which will require thinking critically and ethically, and presenting ideas clearly.  This poster presentation process helps them hone the skills needed to think deeply and speak intelligently about cutting-edge biotechnology."

    A photo gallery from the event can be viewed on the Ethics Center's Facebook Page.



  •  Levy Ethics Challenge Launches: Donate Today for 100K

    Monday, May. 19, 2014 11:34 AM

    We are  thrilled to announce the first ever Levy Ethics Challenge.  Dick and Sue Levy, longtime friends of the Ethics Center, have made a $100,000 Challenge to match -- dollar for dollar -- all gifts to the Ethics Center through June 30th until the challenge is met. As of May 19, $22,452 has already been donated by Ethics Center supporters and friends. We hope you’ll join them and leverage the maximum impact from your gift!

    "Susie and I believe in promoting ethical behavior in every aspect of life, from the classroom to the boardroom to the hospital room," Dick said. "That's why I serve as Advisory Board chair at the Ethics Center, and that's why we decided to do this challenge. We believe that, by leveraging support from like-minded people, our gifts will have a much greater impact."

    How can you help?
    Your gift will empower the Ethics Center to:

    * Bring great speakers from around the globe who illuminate current issues in ethics. So far this year, gifts from donors enabled us to present over 30 speakers and panelists. Contributions also helped us to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama in February, placing the Ethics Center in not only the local, but also the national and international spotlight.

    * Increase our online presence. This year, over 2.8 million people visited our website for guidance in solving ethical issues and for materials to teach ethics to students of all ages. Another 2,000 signed up for our Massive Open Online Courses in business ethics, and we look forward to expanding even further.

    * Provide internships and fellowships in health care ethics, environmental ethics, business ethics, and more. We have over 240 alumni of these programs, who tell us that their experience provided them with the knowledge and the courage to make ethical decisions in all aspects of their lives.

    *Now is the time. Invest in ethics through your support for the Ethics Center, and make a difference in the lives not only of Santa Clara University students and faculty, but our larger communities nationally and globally.  


    After you’ve made your online donation, follow @mcaenews on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. Tweet or Share on Facebook a photo of you and your friends with the tag: #markkulaethicschallenge, and you become part of the campaign. Your photo will be included in our grand finale “social” thank you collage, a perfect souvenir to keep and share, and a cool surprise for Dick and Sue Levy to show our thanks. Go for it!

  •  Hana Callaghan Joins Staff as Director of Government Ethics

    Wednesday, May. 14, 2014 3:42 PM

    The Ethics Center welcomes Hana Callaghan to the staff as director of the Government Ethics Program. Callaghan has a background in law, government and politics, and has worked in private practice as a corporate litigator, and for a member of the US House of Representatives as a senior congressional aide. She also managed statewide political campaigns in her role as a political consultant, and served as the associate executive director of the Santa Clara County Bar Association.

    Callaghan has a bachelor's degree from University of California, Berkeley, a law degree from Seattle University, and an LLM in tax law and policy from Golden Gate University. She is a member of the State Bar Associations of California and Washington.