High school students tackle global ethical issues during summer workshop at Rowan

High school students tackle global ethical issues during summer workshop at Rowan

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High school students from four different South Jersey counties explored some of the most pressing ethical issues of our time during the first-ever Ethics and College Skills Workshop at Rowan.

Should plastic bags and straws be banned? Do children have rights? Should social media be censored in any way? Do we have obligations to those suffering in other countries? Is it ethical to eat meat?

Those were some of the global ethical questions 18 high school students from throughout South Jersey researched and addressed during the first-ever Ethics and College Skills Workshop hosted last month by Rowan’s Philosophy & World Religions Department in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.

During the one-day workshop, students in ninth through 12th grades spent the day at Rowan learning about major ethical theories, including utilitarianism, social contract theories and virtue ethics, among others.

“We then applied those theories to issues relevant to high school students, such as salaries and fairness, environmental ethics, free speech and social media, drug testing on high school campuses, and driverless cars,” notes Philosophy Professor Ellen Miller, chair of the Department of Philosophy and World Religions.

Miller and Kathleen Miller, an adjunct philosophy professor, led the workshop with assistance from recent graduates Mahaa Ahmed and Alec Nathan and senior philosophy major Gina Magliocco.

Students worked in small groups as they explored and debated some of the most pressing ethical and ideological issues facing our world today in areas of business, environment, science and free speech.

Sponsored in part by a grant from the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO), the free workshop also helped students gain skills needed for college success. Among them: critical thinking, ethical leadership, public speaking, teamwork, creative problem-solving, research skills and multi-cultural understanding.

The day included a tour of Rowan and lunch on campus.