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National Science Foundation grant to fund ethics education program

Mark Reutter, Business & Law Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Two University of Illinois faculty members have received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for their program on ethics education in science and engineering.

Michael C. Loui, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and C.K. Gunsalus, an adjunct professor of law and of medicine, will develop and assess new methods to teach professional practices to graduate students conducting research in biology, engineering, environmental sciences, psychology and other fields.

This program builds on interdisciplinary work done at the Illinois College of Law, College of Medicine, department of theatre and other disciplines in using simulations in professional education.

“We believe that by engaging students through role-play scenarios, we will teach graduate students to handle ethical problems effectively,” the two researchers wrote in the NSF grant proposal.

Role-play exercises will include issues of plagiarism, conflict of interest, reporting of misconduct, compliance with regulations on human participants in research and the handling of animals and hazardous substances.

Loui was an associate dean of the U. of I. Graduate College from 1996 to 2000 and the campus research integrity officer from 1998 to 2000.

Gunsalus is the author of the recently published ”The College Administrator’s Survival Guide,” which addresses how to handle conflict situations and ethical dilemmas in university departments. In addition to her teaching duties, she is a special university counsel.