The Holstein Program in Ethics
Washington College strives to create the next generation of leaders in our society; individuals who will have a strong and positive impact upon their own lives as well as the lives of their family, their community, our nation and the world. The development of a moral code is the basis for leading a life of purposeful action and the goal of the Holstein Program is to provide our students with a foundation for the development of that ethical code.
The Holstein Program in Ethics:
- Supports curricular renewal and enhancement to weave the consideration of ethics throughout the curriculum
- Serves as a resource for faculty, students and administrators
- Fosters interdisciplinary research on a broad range of ethical issues
- Brings speakers and leaders of national prominence to our campus to talk about current issues of importance and to do so in a personal and intimate setting that involves our students.
Our ultimate goal is to spark an appreciation for the importance of moral courage as a foundation for leading a life of purpose and meaning.
Washington College graduates intend to change the world for the better by becoming ethical leaders in our community. Read how Washington College and the Holstein Ethics Program changed the lives of these winners.
Winning the prize validated my research, and my cause. As a foreigner, taking on the American news system was quite a daunting task, so it was great to have my line of thinking recognized and ultimately accepted by the award. I’ve never been one not to challenge authority, but it gave me the confidence to say to people, “look, there are some very serious ethical and accuracy problems in the news media today, they are deep-rooted, and something should be done about it.” From a working perspective, having my senior thesis be worthy of any award also helped to highlight my research skills when looking for jobs. It was a point of pride for me because of how personally tied I felt to the issue, and it meant a great deal to be honored by the program.
Ironically, I actually think that media ethics is a far more prominent and pressing discussion now than it was when I covered it three years ago, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. “Fake news” is the phrase of the year, and as someone who has explored it in depth before, I am both frustrated and fascinated by what is developing. We have an administration that has dismissed genuine facts as “fake news” while distributing unsubstantiated claims of its own, and a news media that seems willing to go further than in the past to hold the office of the Presidency to account, often misguidedly. People on both the left and right are quicker than ever before to share negative stories and cry wolf, all in the name of political point scoring. It has made me realize that we have a long way to go, and perhaps even further than we did before. With that being said, I’d like to think that my awareness of media ethics, driven largely by winning the Holstein Prize, has enabled me to scratch beyond the surface and examine the current news circus with a greater degree of scrutiny.
As a 2017 graduate, my undergraduate research is fresh on my mind. Winning the Holstein Ethics Prize was a humbling recognition for my work. For my undergraduate thesis, I examined the changing understanding of religious freedom of the very recent past. My primary scope was the time period between passage of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and state enactments of RFRA in the past few years. In conducting this research, I considered various questions that arise from plural society. In many ways, I continue to confront these issues in my own research, which has included issue from affirmative action to freedom of speech.
Now as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, my research interests continue to include similar issues. I am currently working on a project about religious intolerance in nineteenth century America.
Winning the prize was a humbling distinction that has encouraged me to continue examining ethical implications of public life.
Walter Shaub, the fiery former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, will give a talk on what he calls the nation’s ethics crisis at Washington College on April 5.
Washington College’s Holstein Program in Ethics on April 19 presents a talk by writer and scholar Jonathan Rauch.
Mary John Miller, the former Under Secretary for Domestic Finance for the U.S. Treasury, on April 5 will be the featured speaker for the George Washington Leadership Series and the Holstein Program in Ethics.