The third session explored the role of institutions and the impact of institutional and research cultures on ethics education. The speakers in this session looked beyond the role of individuals and teachers and examined institutional efforts to improve ethics education. They also considered the influence of institutional or research cultures on the success or failure of educational efforts.
The first speaker was Julia Kent, director of Global Communications and Best Practices at the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). Her research has addressed a broad range of topics in graduate education: scholarly and research integrity, learning assessment, interdisciplinary graduate education, career outcomes for graduate students, professional doctorates, and international collaborations. In her paper she describes strategies and lessons learned from CGS projects, with a focus on two efforts: the Project for Scholarly Integrity (PSI) and a project on Modeling Ethics Education in Graduate and International Collaborations (NSF#1135345). She explains that the aim of the PSI was to define and develop a framework for a comprehensive institutional approach to research and scholarly integrity, and it was pilot-tested by six universities. The goal of the second and on-going project, she states, is to develop institutional modes for preparing graduate students for ethical challenges that arise in international research. She concludes that successful ethics education requires the engagement of institutional leadership to support the goals of individual programs and the incorporation of assessment in ethics education programs.
The second speaker was Brian Martinson, a senior research investigator and director for science programs at HealthPartners Institute of Education and Research (HPIER). His research has focused on research integrity and its relationship with organizational or institutional climates in academic research settings. He also serves on the National Research Council committee charged with revising the 1992 publication, Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process. In his paper Martinson details the importance of organizational climates in the success of science and engineering ethics education and describes a new assessment tool for evaluating the organizational climate on ethics, the Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SORC). He argues that scientists are susceptible to situational influences and that local organizational cultures can shape the behavior of scientists; the encouraging news, he suggests, is that these cultures are themselves susceptible to improvement through the actions of local organizational leaders.