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July 10, 2019 Back to All News

The Prindle Institute a strong presence at APPE annual conference

Emily Knuth, Assistant Director of Events and Community Engagement at the Prindle Institute, speaks to the crowd at the annual APPE conference about community engagement.

The Prindle Institute made a strong showing at the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) annual conference, playing a role in a variety of conference activities and providing students with opportunities to rub shoulders with ethics practitioners, professionals and scholars.

Prindle Institute representatives participated in an ethics bowl, a poster presentation, speaker sessions, seminars and summits. They also hosted a booth where people could ask for information about the institute, DePauw University and ethics in general. 

“This was a great experience for everyone, but maybe most of all for the DePauw students who attended,” said Prindle Institute Director Andrew Cullison. “They were like sponges soaking up information and connecting with other students as well as ethics practitioners and professionals. I was really proud of our representatives.”

Held in Baltimore in March, the two-day conference offered students, faculty and staff from institutions across the country the opportunity to participate in discussions and presentations on topics, ranging from specific ethics questions to broad societal issues. The conference is just one part of APPE’s efforts to facilitate the exchange of ideas and maintenance of a network of individuals and institutions that connect ethics theory to real-world practices. 

While DePauw University senior and Prindle Hillman Intern Barbara Castellini spent some of her time serving as a host at the Prindle Institute’s conference booth, she attended a number of sessions to hear speakers and discussions. A Spanish major who is headed to Colombia to teach English, Castellini said she was particularly struck by the fact that the DePauw students who attended the conference were often the only undergraduates in the room. 

“It was really interesting and cool,” she said. “I feel like more undergrads should attend. It’s such a great experience. “

Haley Thompson also enjoyed a number of sessions, but attended the conference primarily to help DePauw psychology professor Ted Bitner Ph. D. present ethics assessment research. The presentation – “The Choice Game for Children: Teaching Moral Behavior in a Summer Day Camp Setting” – highlighted research into children’s reasoning skills, using research conducted by studying children attending Prindle’s Express C.A.M.P. 

“We had the children fill out a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the camp week,” said Thompson, a biology major with a chemistry minor. “By the end of the week, the third- and fifth-graders showed improvement in their reasoning skills.”

The experience taught her a lot about research, said Thompson, who plans one day to be a pediatrician, and her time working with the Prindle Institute has helped her learn about collaboration, working on a team and more. “I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills through putting on events, and through public speaking, which I was really nervous about,” she said. “We work with the Prindle staff a lot, and they respect us and treat us as colleagues, not just as students.”

DePauw and the Prindle Institute also had a team of students who qualified for the national ethics bowl held each year at the APPE conference, and Cullison participated in seminars and sessions – presenting at one addressing ethics and citizen research – and also participated in the 2019 Ethics Center Directors Summit, which focused on helping ethics centers secure buy-in from their campuses and administrations. 

In addition to presenting his research, Prof. Bitner served as a featured speaker in a session focused on counseling ethics for the 21st century. 

Founded in 1991, APPE is housed at the Prindle Institute for Ethics. Focused on teaching and embedding the practice of ethics and ethical decision-making into all aspects of society, APPE uses its annual conference and programming to help ethics centers make their work relevant and actionable in the “real world.”

That “real world” application is what especially interests Castellini. With an interest in ethical consumerism and fashion, she looks forward to examining the fashion industry through the lens of ethics. “There are a lot of ethical dimensions to the fashion industry,” she says. “We think about where food comes from and different objects, but not clothes as much. Ethics helps us look at things like that and ask why they are the way they are, and whether they should be.”


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