Maguire Ethics Center Faculty Incentive Grants - Enhancement of Existing Courses

As a university-wide center drawing on – and bringing together – expertise in the field of ethics from across the campus, the Maguire Ethics Center wants to support two of the central purposes of the university as stated in the Centennial Strategic Plan: 

  • Improve teaching and learning
  • Support and sustain student development and quality of life

Therefore, the Maguire Ethics Center is launching the Maguire Ethics Center Faculty Incentive Grant Program.  The goals of this four year program are to 1) enhance existing ethics courses, 2) develop new ethics courses, 3) develop a research ethics seminar for students and staff participating in federal grant research, and 4) increase faculty publications and research related to ethics.  Our hope is that this program will drive the discussion, reflection and application of ethical standards across all disciplines and among students and faculty.

The first round of faculty incentive grants (to be awarded in May 2013) are designed to provide resources to faculty to enhance and innovate their existing ethics courses.  The Maguire Ethics Center is especially interested in supporting courses that will qualify for the Philosophical and Religious Inquiry and Ethics Pillar and is similarly interested in supporting courses that assist a department in meeting accreditation standards within their respective disciplines.  Faculty members who wish to add ethics courses or modules to current courses in order to meet accreditation standards are also invited to apply.


Our goal is to award 10 grants of $5,000 this spring. The resulting courses can be offered as earlier as Spring 2014, but no later than the 2014-2015 academic year.  They also must be offered in two of the following three years.  The course may be submitted as part of the “Philosophical and Religious Inquiry and Ethics” pillar, though that is not required.  All proposals must include Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs).  It is the responsibility of the faculty member to ensure that courses comply with university policies and procedures. 

For a list of current and former Maguire Teaching Fellows, click here.

How to Apply

Grant requests must be submitted to the Maguire Ethics Center Box 316 by March 20, 2013.  Proposals must include the course title, the faculty member’s name and Department, and the phrase “Ethics Course Enhancement Grant.” A committee will review and rank the proposals.  Grants will be announced by the end of the spring semester.  The proposal should include:

  • current course number, title, catalog description and anticipated format (core, seminar);
  • current course objectives and revised course objectives;
  • statement explaining the significance of the revisions and enhancements and how the grant will impact the curriculum and/or accreditation standards;
  • the faculty member’s current c.v.;
  • time frames for developing the syllabus and teaching the course; and
  • a letter of support from the department chair that states that this course, once developed and approved through the usual processes established by your department and/or the university, will be offered in two of the following three academic years.

University Course Approval:  After this initial proposal is granted and the course is developed, the course must also be approved through the normative process for course approvals, which typically gets the approval of a department, chair, and appropriate committee or council from the faculty member’s college.  Course proposals should follow the form required by that faculty member’s college, and must include a statement of goals and student learning objectives (SLOs).  It is the responsibility of the faculty member to ensure that courses comply with university policies and procedures.

Submission:  Applications should be submitted to Director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, Dr. Rita Kirk (Campus Mail Box 316).  Applicants are welcome to discuss ideas for proposal with Kirk to learn how their interests may contribute to our goal as stated by President Turner in his inaugural address:  SMU graduates should  “be qualified and comfortable in addressing the difficult but crucial ethical issues at the foundation of interpersonal, business, and group behavior.”

Dispersal of Grants: The grants will be dispersed in May 2013.  Awardees will submit the complete syllabus in accordance with time frames contained in the proposal. In the process of developing their syllabi, faculty members should determine, in consultation with their respective dean and chair, the scheduling of the first class.

Further inquiries can be directed to Candy Crespo at 214.768.3436 or ccrespo@smu.edu.

Selection Criteria

  • Design of the course
  • Clarity with which ethical issues are addressed, including how issues are framed
  • Readings (cross-disciplinary, ethical sophistication, especially ethicists and authors trained in ethics)
  • Applicant's teaching capability, scholarship, and potential to make an enduring contribution to the faculty
  • Central ethical issues to be addressed: timeliness, contribution to curriculum, and whether already covered by an existing course
  • Outcomes
  • Methods (will students be required to keep a journal, do a research paper, etc.)
  • Significance of the revisions and enhancements and impact on the curriculum

If you are selected

We will arrange a preliminary work session with a group of colleagues before the close of the Spring 2013 semester.  This collaborative, cross-disciplinary effort will assist faculty members in meeting the more rigorous standards, including the development of syllabi, now required of courses if they are to meet the new Ethics Pillar standard. The working groups will develop a working collaboration between these two entities and strengthen the overall rigor of ethics courses across the campus.

After the class has been completed, there will be a final presentation and discussion of the fully developed proposal with colleagues, including an in-depth exploration of the key topic and teaching strategies.  A written document should be distributed to colleagues in advance as a basis for this final meeting.

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