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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bearing the mark of a Columbia College graduate

By Amanda Noel

It has been a long-standing tradition at Columbia College to instill an ethical mindset in its students. No matter which degree programs students select, they must fulfill the ethics course requirement before graduation. While this may seem like a pain to many students, they could end up thanking the college for its stipulation after completing an ethics course.

Unlike general study courses, in ethics students get a chance to explore the depths of the world and question all things about life rather than focus on one particular subject. Their minds are challenged to think beyond their daily perspectives. Students are taught to observe the world in a different way, by studying diverse philosophies that put their morals and values to the test. It is a true judgment of character. Students may find that they learn more about themselves and develop a new sense of their surroundings after they are through.

Students are given the option to choose between PHIL 330, Ethics, or an approved departmental ethics course in their major. These include Environmental Ethics for the environmental science program and Biomedical Ethics for the biology program.

Participants in the honors program at Columbia College must take HNRS 340 (Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture) in addition to the general ethics requirement. This course coincides with the yearly Schiffman Ethics in Society lecture series. This year’s Ethics in Society Lecture is on the subject of ethics of war. Michael Beschloss, an award-winning presidential historian, will deliver a lecture at the college on March 11, “The Ethics of Presidents at War.” The lecture series was established by John A. Schiffman, a member of the Columbia College board of trustees, who donated $1.5 million to the college to start the ethics program in 2000. He is quoted on the Schiffman Lecture series Web site saying, “It is my hope that through the endowed chair and lecture series, Columbia College will become a force in carrying forward the message to students that integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion are just as important as intellect.”

By giving its students the opportunity to discover their own defining principles in an ethics course, Columbia College is ensuring that its graduates are not only highly educated, but well-rounded individuals ready to take on the world. Those who take full advantage of this opportunity will reap the most benefit out of their educations and find success in whatever career path they choose. These individuals will bear the mark of a Columbia College graduate far beyond the realm of this institution and will be able to implement the knowledge they gained in all aspects of life.

For more information about the Schiffman Lecture Series, visit

Michael Beschloss

Award-winning presidential historian

“The Ethics of Presidents at War”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

7:30 p.m.

Launer Auditorium • 1001 Rogers St.

Columbia College campus

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. • Limited seating • Tickets not required



  • 3 p.m. Q & A session for students, faculty and staff hosted by the Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA)
    • Dorsey Gymnasium
  • 7:30 p.m. Lecture: “Ethics of Presidents at War” Launer Auditorium
    • 150 student tickets for the lecture will be available at the Campus Life office in Atkins-Holman student commons after 8 a.m. on March 4th. Tickets are free and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • You must be in your seat by 7 p.m. for reserved seating.
Photo credits:

  1. Dr. Mark Price, department chair and associate professor of Philosophy and Humanities, discusses with his Environmental Ethics class the philosophy that treating non-human suffering as acceptable is a form of prejudice called “speciesist.” Photo by Amanda Noel
  2. Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture information and Michael Beschloss photo courtesy of

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