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This film served as a springboard for James Barnhart-Park, assistant professor of Spanish, as he incorporated the Patriotism theme into three sections of his Intermediate Spanish II course. His syllabus included viewings of the film, related questions on the midterm, frequent discussion in class, and using the film as the topic of the second of four formal composition papers his students compose.

He also asked his students to draw contrasts and comparisons between the film and the novel “La Casa en Mango Street” (“The House on Mango Street”) by Sandra Cisneros to more thoroughly comprehend the associations between these forms of creative expression.

Barnhart-Park encouraged other members of the Languages, Literatures and Cultures department to incorporate the film into their courses and he offers nothing but positive feedback on the relationship between his department and the Center for Ethics. “We definitely appreciate the heads up last semester the department was given by the Center for Ethics concerning the ‘My American Girls’ portion of the series,” Barnhart-Park says. “We were able to effectively work it into the course syllabi, highly benefiting students.”

And, Barnhart-Park is not alone in the way he embraced the work of the Center. Instructors from all academic disciplines within the College have leveraged Center for Ethics events in their teaching.

This semester, there will be an emphasis on the concept of professional ethics in the Center’s programming. This will include a series of lectures, with a focus on topics such as ethics in chemistry, the ethics of “whistle blowing,” and ethics in information technology. The series kicks off with Dr. Joe Vincent, a physician at Lehigh Valley Hospital, who will lecture on medical ethics. His talk will explore issues of importance in the medical community, such as euthanasia and abortion. And faculty will again be invited to integrate this material into their coursework.

Outside of the classroom, the Center for Ethics also supports student-initiated fundraising projects. Last year, students worked with the theme “Hunger in the Midst of Plenty: Causes and Solutions,” raising more than $5,000 for The Heifer Project. This year, in keeping with the Center’s dual goals of teaching students to provide for others and raising awareness concerning the world around us, the Center is encouraging students to tie their fundraising projects into the themes of patriotism and globalism. Through this process students have decided to focus their energies on the Lost Boys of Sudan, a program of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, raising money to support this important cause through events like student band concerts and sports programs.

Valerie Lane, director of community services, has served as a communication resource on campus, helping to connect students with the Center for Ethics programming. “I think that the Center for Ethics does a great job of putting an issue out there that allows students to look at something going on in the world from a variety of perspectives,” says Lane. “All spin-offs of the Center for Ethics allow Muhlenberg students to exercise their intellectual curiosity in many ways, such as by reaching out to these worthy causes.”

Hass is grateful for the over-whelming response the Center has elicited. “I am very pleased at the way my faculty colleagues have been so interested and willing to connect what they do in the classroom to these broader ethical concerns and issues,” she says.

Yet another creative outlet of the Center has been the recent publication of “Aftermath: Thinking After September 11th.” Immediately following the tragedy that struck our nation, the Center decided a beneficial and appropriate response would be to commission the faculty papers found in this volume. The publication, divided into four sections, includes topics such as, “Making Sense of September 11th,” “Policy Roots and Implications,” “Religious Perspectives” and “Representing Loss.”

“The papers offered an opportunity for Muhlenberg’s faculty to demonstrate the relevance of the liberal arts as our community struggled to interpret what happened,” says Hass, who co-edited the volume with Kovats-Bernat. “The essays are reflective, critical and passionate, and are written in a style accessible to students.” Following the highly positive response to this publication, there are plans to publish future volumes that will again relate to the Center’s annual theme. (Those interested in obtaining a copy of “Aftermath” can contact Hass.)

For details about upcoming Center for Ethics programs, to learn more about the Center’s past initiatives, or to find out how to offer your support, visit the Center’s Web site at


Center for Ethics
Spring Lecture Series:

February 19, 7 p.m.
Lithgow Science Auditorium, Trumbower Hall
Dr. Joseph Vincent
(Lehigh Valley Hospital)
will speak on medical ethics

March 18, 7 p.m.
Lithgow Science Auditorium, Trumbower Hall
Dr. Jeffrey Kovac
(University of Tennessee)
will speak on ethics in chemistry

March 25, 7 p.m.
Lithgow Science Auditorium, Trumbower Hall
Dr. Brian Martin
(University of Wollongong)
will speak on the ethics of whistle-blowing

April 2, 7 p.m.
Lithgow Science Auditorium, Trumbower Hall
Dr. Don Gotterbarn
(East Tennessee State University)
will speak on ethics and information technology


All lectures are free and open to the public.


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