An NEH Summer Institute for College and University Professors at Grand Valley State University

Several recent philosophers have emphasized the importance of the humanities for civic engagement, a flourishing democracy, and a globalized world. This four-week Summer Institute for College and University Teachers at Grand Valley State University from May 30 to June 24, 2016 extends discussion beyond the public function of the humanities to an intensive examination of the moral psychology behind effective moral education.

The Moral Psychology and Education (MPE) Institute integrates the work of historical philosophers such as Hume, Smith, and Dewey with current theoretical and empirical work in moral psychology to re-examine the role, function, and importance of the humanities for moral development and education. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Each week, we explore how the humanities function as a vehicle for moral education by examining music, literature, film, and art through the lens of moral psychology.

Guided by renowned scholars and rising stars from disciplines as varied as philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, English, and literature, media and film studies, music, and art, participants will develop teaching and research projects. Exploring new areas of interdisciplinary research, participants will study primary texts, and examine connections between key concepts and bodies of literature across philosophical areas and historical periods.

Because a vibrant community of scholars depends on interaction and collaboration, traditional lectures and discussions are integrated with film screenings, site visits to a museum and an educational program, workshops with the Institute co-directors, optional luncheons with visiting faculty, and a plethora of informal social events where discussions can continue for hours on end.

The MPE Institute provides abundant resources for teaching and research projects as well as an interdisciplinary network for long-term teaching and research support. In addition to planned conference symposia and a possible anthology after the Institute, all participants will be given a complimentary membership to the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum. Membership includes both electronic and print copies of the journal Teaching Ethics as well as electronic access to Professional Ethics and the Business and Professional Ethics Journal.


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Page last modified March 6, 2018