Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Endangered Species: An Ethical Administrator at Penn State

The first issue of Science Journal, the alumni magazine for the Eberly College of Science (ECOS), released since Old Main went all out to promote the idea that Penn State had hired a Nobel Laureate for its faculty when in fact the deal it has with the Laureate, Barry Marshall, could at best be described as rental agreement, is now available online. Marshall's appointment is for one week a year and is divided amongst four units spread across three colleges, including the the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in ECOS. So, I was struck by the absence of any mention of the rental of Marshall in this issue Science Journal. And a Google search of the ECOS Web site turns up no mention the Marshall arrangement.

Could it be that Dan Larson the dean of the college isn't on board with Old Main's spinning of the truth? I don't know Dean Larson, but I've heard good things about him from faculty in ECOS. It may be that the man has scruples which are still intact after ten years working in Penn State administration. If it's true, that would be amazing accomplishment.

In fact, in his Message from the Dean column in this issue of Science Journal he talks about the need for high ethical standards.
My personal view is that in addition to looking for improvements in our core academic programs, we need to give our students the kinds of information and experiences that will prepare them better for the world they will live in. For example, headlines regularly make clear the need for high ethical standards in business, in government, and in the professions—including the academic professions. While our students do encounter some kinds of ethical questions in their courses and programs, I am convinced that we should integrate into the curriculum substantial encounters with both theoretical and practical ethical issues, ideally not just in the College, but across the University.

It just might be that pushing the idea that Penn State has hired a Nobel Laureate doesn't meet his ethical standards.

Postscript: Marshall's appointment is jointly with units in the ag and med schools and the the Huck Institute. How did they treat the appointment? Ag and Huck pimped it. The med school didn't(nothing comes up in a Google site search), but the grad school did.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

No comments: