Business Economics

Latest News: Center for Ethics Announces Theme, Fall Schedule

Center for Ethics Announces Theme, Fall Schedule

“Pandemic: Response, Resilience, Reflection” will provide a framework to look back and examine the ethical questions that arose due to the global impact of the COVID-19 virus.

 Tuesday, August 24, 2021 09:38 AM

The onset of the current global pandemic has upended life for many people. It has wrought economic hardship, devastated families, strained global healthcare systems and exaggerated social inequalities. It has also presented moments of possibility, including incredible scientific collaboration and research on treatments and vaccines, the emergence of local, mutual aid networks to provide essential resources for assisting neighbors and inspired innovations in work and education.

“Pandemic: Response, Resilience, Reflection” explores some of the ethical questions that arise when we pause to think about the global pandemic including: What lessons can be learned from the scientific collaboration on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines? From receiving a vaccine to wearing masks, how has the pandemic exposed the limits and obligations of individual and collective ethical behavior? How should we respond to the ways in which the pandemic has had disparate impacts based on race and class? How do we think about the rationing of care when health systems get overwhelmed?

Fall 2021 Center for Ethics Schedule of Events

Faculty & Staff Discussion of Sonia Shah Reading
Friday, September 10 at 2 p.m.
GQ Annex, Seegers Union
This event is closed to the general public.

Faculty and staff are invited to join a discussion of the chapter “Blame” from Sonia Shah’s book, Pandemic in advance of Shah’s visit to campus later in September [see September 22 event information below]. Faculty and staff who do not have a copy of the book may request a copy of the chapter by completing an online form.

Alumni Weekend Virtual Panel
Friday, September 17 at 2 p.m.
Alumni Registration Link; Zoom information to follow

This alumni panel will highlight members of the alumni community who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic through their work in the medical community, including their research on treatment and vaccines and their observation of changes to the ways we deliver education and conduct business. This forum will provide space to reflect and will serve as an important connection between alumni, faculty, staff and students as we spend the next year exploring some of the ethical questions that arise when we pause to think about the global pandemic.

Sonia Shah, Author
“An Evening with Sonia Shah”
Wednesday, September 22 at 7 p.m.
Miller Forum, Moyer Hall 

Sonia Shah is a science journalist and prize-winning author of critically acclaimed books on science, politics and human rights. Her works include, The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move, which explores our centuries-long assumptions about migration through science, history and reporting, predicting its lifesaving power in the face of climate change, as well as Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Coronaviruses and Beyond and The Fever.

Her writing on science, politics and human rights has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American and elsewhere and has been featured on CNN, RadioLab, Fresh Air and, where her talk, “Three Reasons We Still Haven’t Gotten Rid of Malaria” has been viewed by over 1m people around the world.

Shah holds a bachelors in journalism, philosophy and neuroscience from Oberlin College.

 Arthur Brooks, Social Scientist
“Finding Happiness in Times of COVID”
Thursday, October 14 at 7 p.m.
Miller Forum, Moyer Hall

Arthur C. Brooks is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in July of 2019, he served for ten years as president of the Washington, D.C.- based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks.

Brooks is the author of 11 books—including the national bestsellers “Love Your Enemies” and “The Conservative Heart”—and has published dozens of academic journal articles and the textbook “Social Entrepreneurship” (2008). He is a columnist for The Atlantic, host of the podcast “The Art of Happiness with Arthur Brooks” and subject of the 2019 documentary film “The Pursuit,” which Variety named as one of the “Best Documentaries on Netflix” in August 2019.

Previously, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship. Prior to his work in academia and public policy, he spent 12 years as a professional French hornist in the United States and Spain.

Brooks holds a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He also holds an masters in economics from Florida Atlantic University and a bachelors in economics from Thomas Edison State College.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Accounting, Business, Economics and Finance; the Office of the President; and the Endowment for Political Discourse and Dialogue.

Dan Royles, Historian
“Don’t We Die Too?: Race and Sexuality in the Early AIDS Crisis”
Thursday, October 21; at 7 p.m
Miller Forum, Moyer Hall

HIV/AIDS has disproportionately affected Black communities in the United States since the disease was first identified by doctors in 1981. Today, African Americans account for almost 42 percent of new HIV diagnoses each year, despite being only 13 percent of the U.S. population. While racial disparities in the HIV/AIDS epidemic are well documented, the history of African American responses to the disease have been largely ignored in emerging narratives of AIDS and AIDS activism in the United States. This talk will trace early efforts to respond to AIDS in Philadelphia’s African American community and the ways that work was complicated by struggles over race, sexuality and urban space in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Dan Royles is an assistant professor of history at Florida International University. He is the author of To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle against HIV/AIDS and is working on a multi-year study for the National Park Service on the history of anti-Black violence in the United States and its territories since 1500 as well as a social, cultural and intellectual biography of Claude Brown, author of the celebrated book Manchild in the Promised Land.

The Center for Ethics is proud to co-sponsor this talk with the “40 Years of HIV/AIDS Activism: Perspectives from Around the Globe” lecture series and the Shankweiler Scholar Honors Program. 

Betsey Stevenson, Economist
First Week of November
Virtual Event Via Zoom: specific date, time and Zoom information to follow

Betsey Stevenson is a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. She is also a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a visiting associate professor of economics at the University of Sydney, a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a fellow of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich and serves on the executive committee of the American Economic Association.

Stevenson served as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2015, where she advised President Obama on social policy, labor market and trade issues. She served as the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor from 2010 to 2011, advising the Secretary of Labor on labor policy and participating as the secretary’s deputy to the White House economic team. She has held previous positions at Princeton University and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Stevenson is a labor economist who has published widely in leading economics journals about the labor market and the impact of public policies on outcomes both in the labor market and for families as they adjust to changing labor market opportunities. Her research explores women’s labor market experiences, the economic forces shaping the modern family and how these labor market experiences and economic forces on the family influence each other. She is a columnist for Bloomberg View, and her analysis of economic data and the economy are frequently covered in both print and television media.

Stevenson earned a bachelors in economics and mathematics from Wellesley College and a masters and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

About the Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics

The Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics seeks to develop our capacities for ethical reflection, moral leadership and responsible action by engaging community members in scholarly dialogue, intellectual analysis and self-examination about contested ethical issues. Through thematic lectures and events, the Center for Ethics serves the teaching and study of the liberal arts at Muhlenberg College by providing opportunities for intensive conversation and thinking about the ethical dimensions of contemporary philosophical, political, economic, social, cultural and scientific issues. In service to its mission, the Center for Ethics hosts special events and programs, provides faculty development opportunities and provides support for student programming.

The 2021-2022 program directors are Chrysan Cronin, assistant professor of public health, and Lindsey Nagy, associate professor of economics. The director of the Center for Ethics is Brian Mello, associate professor of political science.



Unless otherwise noted, events are free and open to the public. At the time of this article’s publication, all attendees must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. Food and drink will not be provided, and external food and drink are not permitted. Should event or visitor policies change, descriptions and event locations (including streaming locations) will be added to this article.

About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences; selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and progressive workforce-focused post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, competing in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.