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Past Projects

Past projects and major events in the history of the Center.

Addressing Ethics in the Natural Course of Research

2009-2013:Award from NSF $325,029 Project “Addressing Ethics in the Natural Course of Research: A Joint Research Course for Philosophy of Science, Engineering, and Science Graduate Students” Product/Publication, Three course offerings (2010, 11, and 12); Other publications and products in process


2012:Award from University of Illinois, funded by NSF $20,000.00 Project. Integration of the Ethics Education Library with UIUC’s EthicsCORE site. Product. Integrated search of both sites, shared metadata, material added to EthicsCORE from CSEP educational endeavors, including IIT IPRO Ethics Modules and student s’ presentations from Eric Brey’s ethics course in his 2012 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

Ethics Education Library

2009-2011: Award from National Academy of Engineering, funded by NSF $72,250.00. Developing an On-line Resource for Ethics Education in Science and Engineering to help faculty and students in research institutions meet the NSF’s requirements of ethics mentoring in funded projects, Product/Publication. Ethics Education Library ( containing bibliographies, case studies, and ongoing reference assistance for the Academy.

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Engineering Research Experiences in Diabetes for Undergraduates

2006-2015For over ten years, the Center has worked with IIT's Armour College of Engineering to develop a weekly colloquium on research ethics as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduate programs. In this course, students work in groups to research a topic in research ethics and present their findings to the class.  Colloquium discussions revolve around ethics cases and relate back to the students' work in the lab. NSF Award #1157041#0552896#0852048.

NanoEthics Bank

2005-2010: Award from Harvard/UCLA Consortium in NSF’s Center for Nanotechnology and Society $131,500.00. Principal Investigator; Vivian Weil, Director. The Center participated in a five-year project to develop the NanoEthicsBank, an electronically accessible database containing codes, policies, reports, and scholarly work relating to ethics and nanotechnology. The NanoEthicsBankis part of the larger Harvard-based database NanoConnection to Society which is an important resource for researchers, scholars and the general public on current and potential effects of nanotechnology on society. The NanoConnection to Society database is part of the Nanotechnology in Society Project, funded by the National Science Foundationand the National Nanotechnology Initiative.NSF Award # 0531146 

CSEP 30th Anniversary

2007: CSEP celebrated its 30th anniversary with members of the IIT community. John Rowe, Chairman of the IIT Board of Trustees; and Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon spoke on his experiences as a participant in public controversy over energy and environmental policies. The lecture was followed by a short demonstration of Ethics Bowl, an intercollegiate tournament invented at CSEP by Robert Ladenson.

Ethics Research in a Nano Facility

2005-2007: Award from NSF $25,023.00. Principal Investigator:Vivian Weil, Director.The objective of this project was to do do research on the ethical and social implications of nano research and development in the nanotechnology research facility at the University of Chicago. The project broght a philosophy of science predoctoral student into the UIC research facility who interacted with researchers using the facility and developed a questionaire for staff and users about the impacts and implications of their work. An article published by Julio Tuma, the embeded philosopher at the UIC facility was published in the December 2013 issue of Science and Engineering Ethics. NSF Award #0500431

Research Experiences for Teachers

2005-2007: Award from NSF, $400,000. In this three-year project, the Center provided ethics training workshops for a "Research Experiences for Teachers" program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The workshops helped introduce participants on how to recognize ethical issues in the courses they taught and how to integrate ethics into the educational modules they developed as part of the program. NSF Award # 0502174.

Ethics in the Details

2005-2007: Award from NSF $276,000.00 Project “Ethics in the Details.” Principal Investigators: Michael Davis, Senior Fellow, CSEP Kathryn Riley, Chair, Humanities. This 3-year grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, looked at developing a new way of effectively integrating ethics into the graduate engineering classroom. Through a series of one-day workshops taught at IIT and Howard University, faculty and graduate-student teaching assistants were taught how to develop "micro-insertions" of ethics, or small ways to rewrite technical problems to include ethical issues. 

Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession 

2001-2004: Award from NSF $67,227.00 Project “Software Engineers Acquire a Code of Ethics : A Research and Writing Project"  Michael Davis, a senior fellow of CSEP, was a participant observer throughout the drafting of the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and afterwards wrote a detailed account of how the code was developed by the ACM and IEEE-CS committee. “Code Making” gives insight in how the profession of software engineering was formed and wrote its own code of professional ethics, and also looks at this project as a case study to see how other professional societies can better go about drafting and revising their own codes of ethics. 

Trying Times: Science and Responsibilities after Daubert, edited by Dr. Vivian Weil

Can judges make responsible decisions about what scientific evidence is admissible in court? When is expert witnessing unethical? How can courts respect scientific standards while pursuing justice? These are some of the questions that direct attention to responsibilities of the professionals in legal cases requiring evidence from experts. These responsibilities are the concern of a recent publication, Trying Times: Science and Responsibilities after Daubert, produced by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in collaboration with the Institute for Science, Law and Technology (ISLAT) at IIT's Chicago-Kent College of Law. The volume includes essays by Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, a federal judge, Richard Meserve, a former litigator in high stakes cases involving scientific testimony, Sheila Jasanoff (Science and Public Policy, Harvard), and Ullica Segerstrale (Social Science, IIT). The editor, Vivian Weil, has an introductory essay. An annotated bibliography acquaints readers with the lively literature since the Supreme Court's 1993 decision in Daubert that made judges gatekeepers for admitting science in the courts. The volume is aimed to clarify the responsibilities of judges, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and researchers in medicine at this intersection of law and science.

Ethics Across the Curriculum

1997- 1999: Award from NSF $211,646.00 to to conduct summer workshops for faculty from IIT and across the globe,  Article describing the project, "Developing and Using Cases to Teach Practical Ethics" published in Teaching Philosophy in 1997.

2000-2003: Award from NSF $244,168.00 to continue to provide EAC workshops for another four summers. Article describing the project,  “IIT’s Workshops for Integrating Ethics into Technical Courses: Some Lessons Learned”  published in Teaching Ethics in 2006.

Mars Pathfinder Project

1997 – 1999: Award from the Grainger Foundation $47,500.00 (plus Galvin-Pritzker match) Project to study the NASA Mars Pathfinder Success for Ethics Lessons 

Municipal Service Delivery; Thinking Through the Privatization Option by Inge Fryklund, Dr. Vivian Weil, and Harriett McCullough

Published in Sept. 1997, these practical and ethical guidelines highlight correct management of the privatization process. This project, funded by the Joyce Foundation, was the joint effort of CSEP and the National League of Cities.

Codes of Ethics Collection

1996 – 1999: Award from NSF $67,227.00 Project to put online CSEP’s comprehensive collection of Codes of Ethics Product/Publication, Online Archive Data Base, most comprehensive in the world; Commitment to NSF to maintain in perpetuity

CSEP 20th Anniversary

1996-1997: CSEP celebrates its 20th anniversary with a series of lectures from Roger Boisjoly, author of Learning from the Challenger Disaster: An Ethics Survival Kit, and a panel discussion entitled, "Upgrading City Neighborhoods: A Challenge to Professionals, and a lecture by William LeMessurier, the architect of the CitiCorp building. 

Engineering Ethics Workshops in Russia 

1995-1998:Award from NSF for travel Project for “Workshops on Engineering Ethics: A U.S.- Russian Partnership," Moscow, Russia (1997, 1998) Product/Publication, articles in Engineering Ethics: History, Context, and Significance, Vols 1 & 2 (1997) published in Russian in Moscow.

Software Engineering Archive

1995: Award from NSF $225,000.00 Project to study online drafting of a code of ethics. As part of this project, CSEP faculty monitored followed the deliberations of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery as they formed a Joint Steering Committee for the Establishment of Software Engineering as a Profession and set about developing a code of ethics. The project represented a rare opportunity to study a technical profession come into being. The final product of this project is theSoftware Engineering Archive which includes all of the emails from members of this project as well as drafts of the code of ethics and interviews with main participants in the project. Dr. Michael Davis also wrote a manuscript chronicling the development of the code, "Code Making" which is freely available online. NSF Award# 9523650#0117471<

Doing Privatization Right

1995: Award from the Joyce Foundation in Chicago $116,586.00 Project of research with the National League of Cities, "Doing Privatization Right: Practical and Ethical Guidelines for Government Officials," Product/Publication, A Local Officials Guide, Municipal Services Delivery: Thinking Through The Privatization Option (1997). National League of Cities Publication.

>Professional Autonomy of Engineers

1994: Award from NSF $25,384.00 Project to do research on the professional autonomy of engineers Product/Publication, "Professional Autonomy: A Framework for Empirical Research" Business Ethics Quarterly (1966)

Fulbright Scholar at CSEP

1994: Fulbright award to to host scholar, Sam Wang, from Taiwan, who won the award to be year-long guest scholar at CSEP.

Ethics Bowl 

1993: Ethics Bowl (EB) was created by Dr. Robert Ladenson as an intramural event in 1993 in response to Lew Collins’s request for something “splashy”. By the second year, EB was extramural, and by the third year, the competition included universities from outside Chicago. After a few years, EP was welcomed as a star event by our national association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Ethics Bowl won the American Philosophy Association, Philosophy Documentation Center’s 2006 Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs. Starting in 2008, only 32 out of well over 100 teams from the ten national regions compete at the Association’s Annual meeting. EB is now both a Club and a team at IIT, and for two years has had a current Sawyier Fellow as coach and Kelly Laas as Co-coach. In autumn 2012 and 2013, the team did well at the regional competition and just missed going to the finals.

Integrating Ethics into a Research Experience for Undergraduate Engineering Students

1993: Award from NSF to Muchund Acharya $5,000 Project, Ethics Supplement in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Product/Publication, "Integrating Ethics into an Undergraduate Research Experience" (Muchund Acharya, Michael Davis, and Vivian Weil), Journal of Engineering Education (1995)

Engineering Ethics Conference

1990: Award from NSF $25,871.00 Project to conduct a conference on Engineering Ethics in Engineering Education Product/Publication, Engineering Ethics in Engineering Education: Report of a Conference (1992).

National Security, the First Amendment, and Scientific and Technical information

1987: Award from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation $75,000. Product/Publication, “Military Research, Secrecy, and Ethics,” in Annals New York Academy of Sciences (1989), and four unpublished papers. 1988: Award from the Hitachi Foundation $39,600 Project on “Professional Ethics at the Interface of Engineering and Management” Product/Publication, "Better Communications between Engineers and Managers: Some Ways to Prevent Ethically Hard Choices," in Science and Engineering Ethics (1997)

Ethics in the City of Chicago

1986-1987: Contract from the City of Chicago Board of Ethics $6000 Project to prepare the city commissioners to implement the Board’s Code of Ethics in their respective departments Product/Publication, Workshop with the Board Director for the commissioners; "Ethics in the City of Chicago", Teaching Philosophy (1987).

EXXON Modules in Applied Ethics

1982-1986: Award from EXXON Education Foundation $74,412.00 . Project to produce Applied Ethics Teaching Modules on topics in practical and professional ethics Product/Publication, Six Modules (Monographs), The Moral Status of Loyalty (1984); Professional Responsibility for Harmful Actions (1984); Risk-Benefit Analysis in Decisions Concerning Public Safety and Health (1985); Technology Assessment: A Historical Approach (1985); Conflicts of Interest in Engineering (1986), Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company

Ethical Implications of Patents, Trade Secrets and Related Property Controls for Science and Technology

1983: Award from NSF $60,856.00 Project to produce Research Conference on “Ethical Implications of Patents, Trade Secrets and Related Property Controls for Science and Technology” Product/Publication, Introduction and Five Papers in Science, Technology and Human Values (1987) and a volume, Owning Scientific and Technical Information: Value and Ethical Issues. Rutgers University Press (1989).

Perspectives on the Professions

1981-2001: Perspectives on the Professions: Ethical and Policy Issues, a bi-yearly newsletter published by CSEP.  Editor, Fay Sawyier, Associate Editor Warren Schmaus (1981 – 1987); Editor, Michael Davis (1988 -2001) 

2nd Engineering Ethics Conference

1981: Award from NSF $38,735.00 Project to organize and present 2nd National Engineering Ethics Conference for academic engineers, philosophers, and practitioners. 

Engineering Ethics Bibliography and Workshop

1977—1979: Two awards from National Science Foundation (NSF): $109,215.00 Project to produce Engineering Ethics Bibliography Product/Publication, “A Selected Annotated Bibliography Of Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility in Engineering” (1980). Project to produce National Engineering Ethics Workshops for Engineers and Philosophers.

Engineering Ethics Courses begin at IIT

1977: First engineering ethics course at IIT. This was also one of the first academic engineering ethics courses in the U.S. Course continues to be taught by CSEP faculty since 1977.

Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions Begins

1976: Established by an anonymous gift to IIT of $100,000, for each of five successive years, contingent on performance from the first year on.