Since its successful launch in 2011, the Upper School’s Ethics Symposium has undergone several changes aimed at better fostering each student’s capacity for rigorous ethical discussion and thinking. Not only does this year’s Ethics Symposium encompass sophomores rather than juniors, it also marks a new partnership as well. Following the introduction of keynote speaker and Dean of the Honors School at Monmouth University — Kevin Dooley, Ph.D. — at Fall Convocation this November, Ranney and its ethics program have since teamed up with the university to host several guest lecturers who are professors within Monmouth’s Honors College. This series of lectures will address such topics as ethics in business, science and politics from January 26 until May 28, 2012.
“We are always looking for ways to connect with our neighbors in Monmouth County,” said Head of School Lawrence S. Sykoff, Ed.D. “Our sophomores will now have a unique opportunity to learn the value of ethics from guest lecturers at a college-level.”
Throughout the Upper School’s six-week symposium, students will experience and witness ethical case studies, historical texts and professional insights that will teach them to research, discuss, listen, debate, collaborate, reflect, write and express their own ethical viewpoints. “Education allows us to pursue a side of the human experience that makes us great,” said Dr. Dooley at Ranney’s Fall Convocation on November 22, 2011.
This joint venture between Ranney and the Monmouth University Honors College will feature Monmouth University specialists leading discussions in the Theories and Foundations of Ethics, Bio-Ethics, Ethics in Politics and more. Kicking off this year’s Ethics Symposium was Ranney’s Head of School Dr. Sykoff and Monmouth’s Dean of the Honors School Dr. Dooley, who discussed answers to the following questions: “What is Ethics?” and “Why does it matter?”
According to Dr. Sykoff, ethics plays a valuable role in education. “Without integrity, an education is of low value,” he said. It is his belief that although each person is born with the purpose of becoming all that is possible, he or she must first be nurtured in order to be great. “That is why Ranney’s motto, Knowledge, Vision, Honor is so important. The three go together, and together, these threeordinary words hold extraordinary importance,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Dooley spoke of ethics from the standpoint of such great philosophers as Immanuel Kant and Aristotle, claiming that uniting both their theories will give one the greatest sense of right and wrong. “Ethical behavior plays a part in our nature as human beings,” he said. “We blame others for our bad decisions because we are constantly distracted, but when we place personal limitations on our freedom, we are more likely to succeed.”
Dr. Sykoff and Dr. Dooley’s presentation was then followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Overall, the assembly signified a great start to a collaboration that will surely benefit sophomores at Ranney. The Upper School and Monmouth are also exploring the possibility of holding a leadership experience at Monmouth University this summer. For now though, future Ethics Symposium lectures will include:
- February 24 — Dr. Michaeline Skiba, Ethics and Business.
- March 21 — Dr. Joseph Patten, Ethics and Politics, featuring the Monmouth Univeristy debate team, “Ethical and Effective on Capitol Hill are Mutually Exclusive: A Debate.”
- May 2 — Dr. Michael Palladino, Ethics and Scientific Research/Bio-Ethics.
- May 22 — “The Emperor’s Club” film, discussion and workshop.
- May 28 — Wrap-up Event featuring Dr. Kevin Dooley and student-led discussions of speakers, readings, essays and postings. Main theme: “Practicing the good!”