The Greenwall Foundation awarded Georgia State University College of Law a grant to develop a model undergraduate bioethics course that seeks to engage diverse students’ interest in bioethics issues as well as support students who wish to pursue post-graduate education. Leslie Wolf, interim dean, Center for Law, Health & Society director, Distinguished University Professor and professor of law; Paul Lombardo, Regents’ Professor and Bobby Lee Cook Professor of Law; and Courtney Anderson, associate professor of law, will offer the course in the Georgia State Honors College in Spring 2020.
“The course will highlight positive examples of bioethics work within those communities, with a particular focus on the work of minority scholars, to demonstrate the salience of bioethics for these communities,” Anderson said. “We hope to inspire more students from underrepresented communities to incorporate bioethics into their studies and their careers.”
Scandals involving abuses of minority populations are staples of traditional bioethics course. While the new course will not ignore this history, Wolf, Lombardo and Anderson intend to focus on positive advances within bioethics, particularly the work of minority scholars, which will also provide successful role models for students. There will be one public lecture in each year of the two-year grant showcasing the work a minority scholar working in bioethics.
The grant complements work being conducted by the new Georgia State Center for the Advancement of Students and Alumni to increase the number of minority students who successfully enter and complete a Ph.D., M.D. or J.D. program. “We look forward to working with CASA in helping students explore bioethics graduate work as part of their doctoral programs,” said Wolf.
In addition to supporting the development of the new course, the grant will fund three students in a summer bioethics research project. Wolf, Lombardo and Anderson have also committed to mentoring students through the graduate school application process.
The professors know that many of the students in the course ultimately may not pursue a career in bioethics, so they intend to illustrate how bioethics principles can be applied in other contexts.
“Students who take this course will learn how to systematically evaluate complex problems through the lens of ethics,” said Lombardo. “We think it will help them make better decisions, whether they end up working in business, health care or government.”
“Georgia State is an ideal place for this project,” said Wolf. “It is a national leader in supporting the success of its diverse student population, has a strong bioethics and health law faculty, and a history of collaboration with Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities” said Wolf. “If our work is successful, we will work collaboratively with other schools to adapt and implement this kind of bioethics course.”
Written by Stacie Kershner