We offer seminars, classes, and mentorship for the student community at Princeton University. We also offer international courses in cooperation with our international partners. Our work also takes us into the community to offer opportunities to speak to various constituencies including Princeton alumni, scholars, and marketplace and corporate leaders.
Professional Responsibility & Ethics (Succeeding without Selling Your Soul)
The course objective is to learn basic ethical theory and develop practical tools for workplace ethics, including the potential role of religion in ethical frameworks and decision-making in workplaces that are increasingly religiously diverse. These tools will be applied to contemporary ethical dilemmas faced in organizational life (in both for-profit and non-profit entities), drawing on real-time news stories and visiting CEOs.
The presupposition of the course is that traditions within ethics and ancient wisdom literature, whether conscious or not, often shape and inform one’s conception of workplace ethics, professional behavior, and leadership. Students will be exposed to the predominant streams of ethical thought and the ethical resources of religious traditions (with focus on the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in a model that can be applied to any religious tradition) and identify an ethical framework and ethical tools they can use going forward in their respective fields.
Professional Responsibility & Ethics in Engineering
Engineering successes follow a long line of engineering failures. Some of this is owing to the physical challenges of engineering itself. Engineers apply scientific and mathematical principles in order to solve hard problems: from self-learning A.G.I. systems, to nanotechnologies, to cellular and tissue creation, to renewable energy, to sustainable materials, and so on. Princeton students are trained in these “hard problems” in the various Departments of SEAS. Engineering failures also occur owing to governmental, societal, organizational, and individual factors. The practice of engineering operates within complex social systems that involve human factors. From Chernobyl to the Challenger, egos, bureaucracies, politics, incompetence, and acting with incomplete information have led to catastrophes. Princeton students are trained in some of these “soft problems” in varying Departments throughout the University.
EGR501 complements these approaches by encouraging engineering students (a) to consider the social and ethical impact of their research; and, (b) to develop disciplines of “ethical awareness” and “ethical reflection” in their professional conduct and throughout the engineering process. Though specific Codes of Ethics within varying engineering societies are useful, they are not sufficient in preparing engineers for the social and ethical challenges that arise in today’s complex systems. Nor can they ensure adherence to societal norms and moral guidelines.
EGR501 is designed to help graduate students in SEAS cultivate ethical research practices they may apply in future work at and beyond the University. Students are encouraged to discuss concerns that may arise during the conduct of their research with experienced faculty and devise solutions for dealing with these concerns. The course provides necessary training for newly mandated Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training for graduate students supported by government grants and is required for successful completion of the program.
History of Entrepreneurship
This course offers an historical survey of key innovations across industry sectors such as energy, finance, transportation, food and farming, communications, health care, materials mining, and security. The course format is a hybrid model of lectures, lab work, student-led discussions, as well as special guests lectures from leaders across these industries.The course also draws upon the many forms of entrepreneurship across cultures and histories—from the ancient Sumerian scribes to the present day medical entrepreneurs in Botswana. The course also considers the questions of innovation and entrepreneurship through a policy lens: taking an ecological approach to these phenomenon and the stimulants and inhibitors to their successes. And, finally, the course considers the relationship between entrepreneurship and societal challenges.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life, Theology, and Ethics: A Legacy for our Times?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is arguably one the most influential theologians, social figures, and activists of the twentieth-century. He was a philosopher, ethicist, pastor, theologian, and public figure. His ideas, life, and eventual martyrdom at the hands of the Nazis in the closing days of WWII have impacted social movements, countries, classrooms, and the church far beyond his native Germany This seminar will investigate and study the different aspects of Bonhoeffer’s identity (as a person, philosopher, pastor, theologian, and ethicist, and political activist), with particular attention to his ethical system and praxis.
Taught in a seminar style, this course will focus on selective but intense reading of Bonhoeffer’s broad corpus. Having some previous study in ethics, religious studies, philosophy, or European history is helpful but not required. Having a personal religious conviction or spiritual orientation is not required for the course; having respect for those who do is. Students will be challenged to apply their understanding of Bonhoeffer’s life, family and cultural milieu, ethics, and theology to a contemporary social issue of their choosing.
Humanities for Business
The webinar series presents the grand traditions of the Humanities as an untapped resource for business-world challenges. In a time where the Humanities are viewed as in decline or in threat of collapse altogether, the webinars will enact and extend the best of the Humanities toward prevailing challenges within the complex realities of our current cultural moment. The webinars cover topics like values, trust, responsibility, ethics, leadership, self-realization, spirituality, narrative, literature, music, and the arts in relation with and applied to current business challenges. The objectives of the course are: (i) To understand how the humanities can contribute to the renewal of business and other human professions through deep existential-spiritual questioning; (ii) to develop a broader view of the purpose of human life alongside today’s social and ecological challenges; and, (iii) to improve human creativity and sensitivity in facing big ethical dilemmas in personal and professional life.