• Ethics Forum with Nicholas Kristof

    New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof talks with Davidson students Madison Yeutter, Emma Steinbergs and Tia Akins, prior to his presentation on women's rights.

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Vann Center for Ethics

Ethics is deeply imbedded in the life of Davidson College, due in no small part to its rich tradition of reverence for an Honor Code overseen by a student-run Honor Council. The college also offers a great variety of ethics-related courses across several academic disciplines:  over 30 courses focus primarily on ethics, and more than 20 others include discussion of ethics as a significant if secondary element. But because course offerings vary from semester to semester, see the College Catalog for current information.

The strategic vision of the Vann Center for Ethics is to be a catalyst for moral inquiry and imagination, careful analysis and reflection, civil dialogue, and responsible action. The Vann Center provides educational programs and services to help students, faculty, professionals, and the public confront complex ethical issues, dilemmas and challenges. The Vann Center's programming features an annual series of Ethics Forums on a wide range of topics, which have included ethical issues in business, medicine, law, journalism, war, sports, humanitarian aid, genetics, neuroscience, and religion. The center frequently partners with diverse academic departments and student groups to host renowned guest speakers.

The staff of the Vann Center have several years of experience in advising corporations, government agencies and nonprofits on assessing and reducing their ethical risks. Our consulting services include conducting confidential interviews of employees, sharing sanitized interview results with management, giving presentations on ethics inside the organization, and working with management to draft a code of ethics and develop related internal workshops. Because we're a nonprofit, our professional fees are relatively modest. Contact the director of the Vann Center, David Perry, Ph.D., at 704-894-2285, for further information.

The Vann Center for Ethics was established through a generous gift from Jim '50 and Lee Vann, and dedicated on November 16, 2009. Its founding mission is to foster a broad-based interdisciplinary initiative to bring sustained focus to ethical decision-making and integrity of action and to promote rigorous inquiry and moral reflection on issues and conditions that range from local to global in their significance. The Vann Center teaches students to think self-critically with clarity, to make relevant and valid judgments, and to discriminate among values as they engage in lives of leadership and service.

We are guided by an Advisory Board that includes Davidson College faculty, staff, students, donors, alumni, business and nonprofit leaders, and members of the medical and legal professions. The Vann Center is located in Eumenean Hall on the Davidson College campus.