Hoffberger Center Programming
- Author Meets Critics Series
- Leadership in Action
- Ethics Bowls
- Ethics Across the Curriculum
Launched in fall 2020, the Author Meets Critics Series inspires ethics-related dialogue through debate and cross-disciplinary conversation. Each session includes an author presentation, two or more critics, an author response, and a question-and-answer session with the audience. These events are free and open to the public.
details coming soon
Sarah Federman, assistant professor, The University of Baltimore
On March 10, 2022, Sarah Federman, assistant professor in The University of Baltimore’s School of Public and International Affairs, discussed her book, Last Train to Auschwitz: The French National Railways and the Journey to Accountability.
The critics included:
Regina Bento, professor, UBalt's Merrick School of Business
Tobias Greiff, senior assistant dean, The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs
Alec Walen, professor, Rutgers Law School
On Nov. 1, 2021, the Hoffberger Center and the Bob Parsons Veterans Center welcomed Rutgers University Professor Alec Walen , who responded to a group of international scholars on his book, The Mechanics of Claims and Permissible Killing in War . In this book, Prof. Walen offers a novel theory of rights and assesses what this tells us about permissible killings in war.
The critics included:
Mortimer Sellers, professor and director of CICL, UBalt School of Law
Michael Skerker, professor, U.S. Naval Academy
David Wasserman, faculty, NIH
Stephen Woodside, academy professor, USMA, West Point
Yuan Yuan, assistant professor faculty fellow, NYU Shanghai
Firmin DeBrabander, professor, MICA
On Feb. 25, 2021, the Hoffberger Center welcomed Firmin Debrabander, professor of philosophy at Maryland Institute College of Art, to present his ideas about ethics, privacy, technology, and democracy from his recent book Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society (Cambridge UP).
The critics included:
Christopher Griffin, associate professor and associate dean, Northern Arizona University
Steven Scalet, director, Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics
Ronald Niezen, professor, McGill University
On Nov. 10, 2020, the Hoffberger Center hosted its first-ever Author Meets Critics event, highlighting McGill University’s Ronald Niezen and his new book, #HumanRights: The Technologies and Politics of Justice Claims in Practice.
The critics included:
Joshua Kassner, professor and director, Hoffberger Research Fellows Program
Ñusta Carranza Ko, assistant professor, UBalt School of Public and International Affairs
Ivan Sascha Sheehan, executive director of the School of Public and International Affairs, noted that “Professors Niezen, Kassner, and Ko made all of us think in new and deeper ways about human rights issues in the contemporary world.”
Launched in spring 2021, the Leadership in Action Series is designed to inspire dialogue about leadership and ethics across the University and Mid-Atlantic region. Regional leaders share their professional experiences to generate conversation in our community about ethics in leadership roles. This series supports The University of Baltimore’s mission and practice of civic engagement and connecting the University with the Baltimore region and its institutions.
details coming soon
Terri Freeman, executive director, Reginald F. Lewis Museum
In spring 2021, in celebration of Women’s History Month and Black History Month, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics welcomed special guest Terri Freeman, the newly appointed executive director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.
The Hoffberger Center has a long and successful history sponsoring and hosting ethics bowl competitions and fielding its own competitive teams. Learn more about ethics bowls at The University of Baltimore.
The Hoffberger Center supports and creates scholarship in ethics and values as a core part of its mission.
The Research Fellows Program is part of the scholarly profile of the Hoffberger Center. Directed by philosophy professor Joshua Kassner, the program includes research fellows working in normative, applied, and professional ethics (broadly construed) with a forum within which they can engage one another about their work and the scholarly issues that matter to them. The Research Fellows Program offers opportunities for formal presentations, symposia, and workshops, with a network of scholars who share academic interests. The program serves as an incubator of ideas within a vibrant intellectual community.
In addition, the Center supports the Author Meets Critics series, regular reading groups, and academic conferences and events.
International Conference: "Legitimate Decision-Making in Times of Crisis"
On Feb. 5, 2021, the Hoffberger Center for Ethical Engagement hosted its first-ever virtual international conference on legitimate decision-making in times of crisis. The event featured presentations from philosophers and social scientists from around the globe. View the conference presentation summaries.
Hoffberger Center for Ethical Engagement
Center for International and Comparative Law
Philosophy, Law, and Ethics program
School of Public and International Affairs
About the conference:
A world pandemic has shined a spotlight on the nature and practice of legitimate decision-making in times of crisis. Crises create novel circumstances that may preclude the use of normal democratic structures, where the structures themselves do not settle who or how decision-making should proceed. Or democratic procedures may include escape clauses for truncated decision-making procedures in ways that are unclear and ill-defined, and may raise questions of legitimacy themselves. Some specific domains, such as triage in times of war, have a long history of addressing crises; but Covid-19 highlights the broader topic of legitimacy when political units as a whole, such as nation-states, experience significant procedural stress or breakdown in the face of crises. The relative balance of global, national, regional, and local decision-making can quickly become scrambled.
This virtual conference invites philosophers and social scientists to address a feature of legitimate decision-making in times of crisis. How do and should crises alter the notion of legitimate decision-making, if at all? Another set of questions revolve around who should make decisions and over what matters. A third set of questions revolve around the best form of legitimate or ethical decision-making, given who should decide. For example, is cost-benefit analysis the best method for decision-makers for closing or re-opening schools and Universities, or businesses? Papers may address these or other related questions theoretically (as topics in political legitimacy and applied ethics) or as case studies with answers in practice (in law and social science).
The Hoffberger Center is a resource for ethical engagement across the University, including curricular support. A distinctive and notable feature of a University of Baltimore undergraduate education is the presence of the Center at the University and its commitment to ethics education across all programs and disciplines, given the University's professional and leadership educational orientation. The Center’s support includes hands-on guidance and the administration of a University-wide upper-level ethics course: IDIS 302 Ethical Issues in Business and Society.
Center staff also visit classes to facilitate ethics-oriented discussions and are
generally available for curricular consultation. Staff experience includes decades
of academic training, research, and teaching in professional and applied ethics,
including the delivery of coursework in medical ethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, ethical theory, contemporary moral issues, leadership ethics, and others. The staff also has years of experience serving on hospital ethics boards and institutional review boards.
IDIS 302 Ethical Issues in Business and Society
In 2021, the Hoffberger Center initiated an effort to revitalize IDIS 302 as part of the University mission of ethical engagement. This effort began by consulting the associate deans across all of the colleges, and led to the formation of a University-wide summer cohort to re-examine the framework and content of IDIS 302. This cohort included representatives from all the colleges, co-sponsorship with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and included a closing report that describes the results of this work and a five-year plan for continuing the vitality of this course experience.
The cohort focused on developing effective scaffolding so that faculty across the University can know that IDIS 302 students have specific skills in ethical reasoning as background for further discipline-specific study. The course is now explicitly linked with the University Writing Program, co-curricular programming through the Hoffberger Center, and cross-disciplinary collaboration with a team of instructors.
Ethics Classes through the Philosophy, Law, and Ethics Major
In addition to IDIS 302, the University also excels through an interdisciplinary honors B.A. in Philosophy, Law, and Ethics major. Led by Hoffberger Center faculty, this program includes core ethics courses, such as:
- PHIL 140 Contemporary Moral Issues
- PHIL 280 Environmental Ethics
- PHIL 301 Ethics
- PHIL 460 Moral Leadership and the Pursuit of Excellence
- PHIL 496 International Law and Morality
- and others.
2022-23 Hoffberger Center Events
Please email center director Steven Scalet for event location information and details. Many meeting recordings are available on Panopto for those internal to The University of Baltimore.
- Sept. 1-30: Regular IDIS302 Instructor Cohort Meetings
- Nov. 14-18: Arts and Ethics Week
- Feb. 3, noon-1:00 p.m.: HCEE Ethics Series: Introduction and Welcome
- Feb. 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Mid-Atlantic Regional High School Ethics Bowl
- Feb. 21, 2-3:30 p.m.: Hoffberger Research Fellow Lecture: Sally Scholz, “Moral and Political Justification for Crimes of Solidarity”
- Feb. 23, 2-3 p.m.: HCEE Ethics Series: Descriptive & Normative Claims
- March 13, 8:30-10 p.m.: Guest Lecture by Steven Scalet, “Ethics and Organizational Psychology”
- March 28, 12:30-2 p.m.: Colloquium: Siobhán Petersen, “How Might a Machine Intend?”
- March 31, noon-1 p.m.: HCEE Ethics Series: TBD
- April 3, 8:30-10 p.m.: Guest Lecture by Joshua Kassner, “Ethics and Organizational Psychology”
- April 6: Braver Angels Online Debate, “Is Social Media Misinformation a Threat to Democracy?”
- April 11: Centennial High School Assembly, “Ethics and Political Legitimacy”
- April 11, 12:30-2 p.m.: Author-Meets-Critics Session: Karen Stohr, Minding the Gap: Moral Ideals and Moral Improvement
- April 28, noon-1 p.m.: HCEE Ethics Series: TBD
- May 5, noon-1 p.m.: HCEE Ethics Series: Student Fellows Presentation
- Hoffberger Reading Group, every other Friday, 11 a.m.-noon
- Hoffberger Center Staff Meetings, weekly
- Hoffberger Writing Group, monthly
- Hoffberger Student Fellow Meetings, recurring on Discord
- Philosophy Common Hour
- Daniel Gellasch’s Drop-In Hours