Advancing ethics

Message from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Ethics) Professor Hayden Ramsay:

Earlier this week, the Vice-Chancellor announced the transition of my portfolio from Coordination to Ethics. This is a very exciting development, and one welcome to me and my team. As you know, ethics is one of three key focus areas of ACU’s Strategic Plan 2020-2023, Impact through Empathy. The Ethics Portfolio now has lead responsibility for developing ACU’s ethical capacity, fostering ethics debate and assisting with ethics activity in the context of Catholic intellectual tradition.

The definition of ‘ethics’ is a complex philosophical question, but ethics is also an area of concern for everyone, whether they are into the philosophy around this or not. At ACU a clear focus is wellbeing, understood as human flourishing across all major aspects of the lives of individuals and communities. It is a large aspiration but contributing towards thinking about and acting for human wellbeing inside the university and in the community is something I look forward to advancing.

There is extensive past, present and continuing work at ACU by staff who teach, research and practise ethics – ethics should be omnipresent in any institution. I am keen to promote, coordinate and increase these efforts where I can, but also to focus on developing the institution’s thinking and profile in new areas.

The Ethics Portfolio has a number of initiatives already underway. For example, the upcoming launch of a major digital resource on ethics, a series of seminars, external engagement and consulting activity. I am also fortunate to collaborate with a number of gifted individuals and units working in areas such as bioethics, child protection studies, educational leadership and public policy. Furthermore, I am privileged to retain oversight of campus leadership, and over our libraries as centres of knowledge, information and culture. I am particularly pleased that I will continue my collaboration with First Peoples; together with many other colleagues, we have undertaken extensive work in this critical area over the months of lockdown and have important plans for the future, particularly around the university’s cultural capability.

I mentioned before that ethics should be omnipresent. The Ethics Portfolio will work with any part of the university seeking change in this area, including development of Catholic ethical positions. Ideally, this will be in partnership with those at ACU already working in the ethics area. I am very grateful to staff across a number of areas – professional as well as academic – who have already reached out and with whom we are working on several initiatives.

I am very much looking forward to these new developments and sharing further updates with you as they arise.

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