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Intersections: The Kenan Institute for Ethics

The Intersections column explores opportunities for graduate students to participate in the University’s efforts to promote various boundary-crossing practices such as interdisciplinarity, student involvement in university administration, and university-community collaborations.

The Kenan Institute for Ethics

The Kenan Institute for Ethics, housed in 102 West Duke Building on East Campus, is an interdisciplinary “think and do” tank committed to understanding and addressing real-world ethical challenges facing individuals, organizations, and societies worldwide. The Institute promotes ethical reflection and engagement through research, education, and practice in three core areas of Moral Education & Development, Organizational Ethics, and Civic & Global Ethics. Current projects include work on civic engagement, workplace culture, and immigration policy in the U.S. and Europe. The Institute works across the University as one of Duke’s signature initiatives, exemplifying Duke’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research, internationalization, and knowledge in the service of society.

The Institute supports the work of Duke’s graduate students through its Graduate Awards, its Campus Grants program, and numerous research opportunities. “We appreciate the many contributions graduate students make to the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and we’re always eager to create new opportunities for collaboration,” says Associate Director Suzanne Shanahan.

Graduate Awards

The Kenan Institute for Ethics offers two annual Graduate Awards and a Graduate Colloquium to support the ethics-related research and teaching of Duke graduate students. The Kenan Dissertation Fellowship in Ethics is awarded annually to an advanced graduate student writing a dissertation with a substantial focus on ethics. The Kenan Instructorship in Ethics is awarded annually to an advanced graduate or professional school student proposing to design and teach an undergraduate course with a substantial ethical focus in his or her area of expertise. The Graduate Colloquium is an interdisciplinary group of advanced graduate students from across the University whose work contains a substantial focus on ethics. It includes current recipients of the Kenan Dissertation Fellowship and Instructorship and graduate students selected from the combined pool for the two awards.

Campus Grants Program

Monetary support for graduate student projects is provided through the Institute’s Campus Grants program. Grants of up to $500 are available to support initiatives that promote ethical or moral reflection, deliberation, and dialogue at Duke and beyond. Past grants have been awarded to fund workshops, film series, classes, and other projects.

Research Opportunities

The Kenan Institute for Ethics offers a number of additional, unique opportunities to graduate students. Current work includes research projects on academic integrity and global governance, as well as writing case studies for the Institute’s Case Studies in Ethics archive.

— Aimee Rodriguez and Suzanne Shanahan