The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has released over 60 educational resources that can be used as tools to teach students, researchers, clinicians, and other professionals to recognize and address ethical aspects of their work and understand how deliberation can inform ethical decision-making. These resources draw from the Bioethics Commission’s reports, and while all reports produced to date have been topic-specific, bioethics education and improving bioethics literacy has been a constant thread throughout the Bioethics Commission’s work.
The Commission’s most recent report, Bioethics for Every Generation, outlines a variety of models that can be used to teach ethics, and emphasizes that ethics education is about preparing students how to think ethically, rather than what to think. Bioethics for Every Generation also emphasizes that ethical questions and topics can be incorporated into existing courses, such as biology, chemistry, social studies and history courses, among others.
Frank Strona, the Bioethics Commission’s Senior Communications Analyst and Adjunct Faculty with National University’s Department of Health Sciences recently had an opportunity to sit down and interview Steven Kessler, Instructor of Biology and Microbiology at Santa Rosa Junior College in Petaluma, CA and former Visiting Fellow with the Bioethics Commission, discusses how incorporating bioethics into his science curriculum has affected his students and his work as a science educator.
FRANK STRONA: Tell us about how you have used bioethics to enhance traditional science education.
STEVEN KESSLER: I incorporate bioethical issues into my traditional science classes in a number of ways. The most satisfying way is to spend an entire class period delving deeply into one or two (if they are related) issues. The classroom discussion guides on the Commission’s website have served as a great resource for some questions that can be the basis for these class sessions. My work as a Visiting Fellow during the spring of 2015 involved working with the commission staff to develop these guides.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.