Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category

spaceAbout 100 St. Petersburg College ethics and education students traveled to the Kennedy Space Center in February to experience a simulated launch, talk to an astronaut, tour the Vehicle Assembly Building and stand in absolute awe before the space shuttle Atlantis… but these were just a few of the experiences made available to them during their up close and personal tour of NASA.

From an ethics perspective, students were confronted with several dilemmas during their visit and began considering issues for which they were not previously aware. For example, student Kaitlyn Moore now wonders, “Who owns the rights to drill on the moon?” Before visiting the space center, she had never thought about drilling rights on the moon and she is concerned that the right people make ethical decisions about space issues.

Education students were introduced to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons they can use in their future classrooms. They also learned about a wealth of resources available to teachers through NASA and internships available to new college graduates.

Engineering student Ervin Taho says visiting the Kennedy Space Center “gave me a lot of motivation in the pursuit of my career. Science has changed human history forever and it couldn’t be any more noticeable than visiting NASA and personally taking a look at the great accomplishments the world’s brightest minds have put together.”

The highlight of the day for most visitors was encountering the space shuttle Atlantis. Student George Wood, a future science teacher, said seeing Atlantis “sent chills down my spine and pride through my spirit.”

The NASA field trip was organized for ethics students by Dr. Adeniji Odutola, Chair of the Ethics Department and sponsored by the Ethics Department. Dr. Odutola organized the trip based on his experiences traveling with SPC education students. Future trips to NASA for ethics students will be offered in future semesters.

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Students with the college’s Ethics Institute and the National Honor Society at St. Petersburg College and St. Pete Collegiate High School were recognized by the city of Clearwater for their work and participation in cleanup projects in March. “With the help of volunteers, Clearwater continues to look beautiful for both residents and visitors,” the city reported online.

  • SPC Ethics Institute students helped city of Clearwater staff clean out invasive Brazilian pepper plants at Cooper’s Bayou Park on March 23
  • SPC/St. Pete Collegiate High School National Honor Society students from the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus spent three Saturdays in March removing invasive plants from Moccasin Lake Nature Park

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SPC hosted a civics education workshop in the Collaborative Labs at the EpiCenter on Tuesday, April 2.

Representatives from other colleges, universities and state organizations, as well as SPC students, met to assess the status of civics education in the Florida State College System and to identify any best practices, practical applications, incentives and impediments to the promotion and expansion of civics literacy on the state college level. They also discussed an action plan through which to accomplish these goals and help students and citizens become more engaged.

“It was a great lab,” said Jeff Kronschnabl, Instructor in Charge for the College of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies. “It provided structure and an exciting exchange between the participants. It also provided the collaborative networking and partnership required to make this an effective initiative.”

The idea for the meeting stemmed from meetings last year with former Florida Gov. Bob Graham, who served on the state’s Education Committee and has always had a strong interest in education. SPC Policy Consultant Tom Furlong, whose long-term relation with Graham goes back many years, was instrumental in helping the event come together.

“There is a renewed interest in civics education in this country,” Susan Demers, Dean, College of Policy and Legal Studies, who referred to man on the street-styled interviews where adults appear to lack an understanding of the country’s political system. “As a result, it is of particular interest to Gov. Graham that we have a civics initiative here in Florida.”

“It was a really great discussion because we had people at all levels and with all kinds of interests represented,” she said. “It provided a nice checklist of things to do and how we’re going to partner in the future.”

The discussion has led to the idea of a statewide conference that will include all 28 state colleges, Demers said. The conference will be headed up by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions in collaboration with Julie Alexander, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Florida Department of Education.

Civics Education Workshop participants included:

Name Title Organization
Julie Alexander Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs Florida Department of Education
Paul Baumann Director, National Center for Learning and Citizenship Education Commission of the States
Kasongo Butler Vice-Chancellor Florida College System
Anne Cooper Senior Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs St. Petersburg College
Susan Demers Dean, College of Policy and Legal Studies St. Petersburg College
Christopher Denny Model United Nations student St. Petersburg College
Douglas Dobson Executive Director, Lou Frey Institute of Policy and Government University of Central Florida
Earl Fratus Social Science Faculty and Model UN Instructor St. Petersburg College
Tom Furlong Policy Consultant, President’s Office St. Petersburg College
Lisa Garcia Representative, Student Government Association St. Petersburg College
Randy Hanna Chancellor Florida College System
Emma Humphries Assistant in Citizenship, Graham Center for Public Policy University of Florida
David Klement Executive Director, Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions St. Petersburg College
Jeff Kronschnabl Lead Instructor, Public Policy and Administration St. Petersburg College
Bill Law President St. Petersburg College
Tara Newsom Associate Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences St. Petersburg College
Anja Norman Academic Department Chair, Social and Behavioral Sciences St. Petersburg College
James Olliver Provost, Seminole Campus St. Petersburg College
Suzanne Preston Professor, Social Science St. Petersburg College
Jackson Sasser President Santa Fe College
Jacqulyn Schuett Project Coordinator, Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions St. Petersburg College
Joseph Smiley Dean, Social and Behavioral Sciences St. Petersburg College
Pam Stewart Chancellor, Division of Public Schools Department of Education

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SPC students visit Kennedy Space Center 3.15.2013

SPC ethics students watch the Kennedy Space Center movie about man’s landing on the moon.

Few of the 27 St. Petersburg College students who traveled to the Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 15 knew they would experience a simulated launch, talk to an astronaut, stand near the space shuttle launch pad, tour the Vehicle Assembly Building or touch a moon rock … but these were just a few of the experiences made available to them during their up close and personal tour of NASA.

Student Kyle Harriot called the visit emotional. “I loved watching the space shuttle launches from my front yard at my house, and now that it is gone, it seems very quiet there,” he said. Harriot called the simulated space launch his favorite activity because “now I know what it feels like to lift off from an actual space shuttle.”

Yadira Sierra said the visit to the Space Center was emotional, inspiring and educational. She said she had “this huge sense of pride … because I am an American; I’m a citizen of such a savvy and intellectual nation, and one day one of my kids could be the one building these rockets … what a wonderful feeling!”

SPC students at Kennedy Space Center 3.15.2013.

St. Petersburg College ethics students stand in front of the space shuttle launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center. Students are Chelsea Carrington, Chelsea Luna, Jared Dehn, Kyle Harriott, Brooke Buckle and Yadira Sierra.

Bobby Finn was fascinated with “expansive, gorgeous Cape Canaveral” but pointed out the student camaraderie was perhaps the best part of the field trip. He said he noticed during the trip home from NASA that “the jocularity, banter and eager communication among the birthing of new friendships formed was a stark contrast to the silence of the pre-dawn trek across state. It is activities such as these that last a lifetime in the memories of our young … leaders of tomorrow.”

“If I were offered to go on this trip again, I would immediately say yes and register,” Harriott said. “This trip was so much fun and I learned so many different things. This is by far my favorite field trip ever in college.”

The NASA field trip was organized for ethics students by Dr. Adeniji Odutola, Chair of the Ethics Department, and sponsored by the Ethics Department. Dr. Odutola organized the trip based on his experiences traveling with SPC education students. He hopes to offer the field trip to ethics students during future fall and spring semesters.

For more information, visit Kennedy Space Center. For a video about the space center, visit Youtube. For more information about the future of NASA space exploration, visit How to get to Mars.

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Students had their hands in design of building

It is their building after all.

Before the first nail was ever hammered or blue print rendered for the new Ethics and Social Science Building on the Clearwater Campus, students were part of the process.

From helping select the architect to recommending which solar installation to put on the roof, students took an active role in helping complete the building, which opened in spring, 2013. The three-story building sits on the site of the former Teaching Auditorium and contains 26 classrooms, faculty and adjunct office suites and student lounges and a cafe.

“We were very honored and really excited that we were able to have our hands in this project and become more of a part of the campus,” said Ashley Lindsay, 27, a architecture student who graduated from SPC in the Spring of 2012. “SPC has really evolved into this whole other realm; they’re taking on a lot more students and they’re trying to integrate the community into the school, as well as having the school be a reflection of the community.”

The entire design and construction process for the new Clearwater building has been open to architecture, construction, sustainability and engineering students, who have gotten involved in other ways:

  • Lindsay and her fellow students in her Architectural Design Studio 3 class presented their overall design for the quad and specifically designed components to the college’s Board of Trustees in November, 2011. The year before, architectural design and building construction students made conceptual design recommendations to the board.
  • Architecture and construction students participated in selecting the architect and construction manager, attended design sessions hosted at the Clearwater Campus and spent a day at the offices of Harvard Jolly Architecture, Inc., for a project overview, tour and discussion of how an architect’s office operates.
  • Engineering students toured the project engineer’s office, where they discussed the engineering profession and the solar design.
  • Construction and architecture students in the Materials and Methods and Practicum classes attended monthly site tours and meetings to observe, discuss and learn about the current details of the construction.

“They got the really rare opportunity so early in their education to design something that actually will be constructed,” said Susan Elftman, architecture instructor. “The opportunity to present their ideas and thoughts in front of such an esteemed group as the Board of Trustees is also very rare and an incredible experience.”

Take a photo tour of the new building on our Facebook page. Learn more about the solar energy installations at SPC.

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The top five teams from nearly 20 colleges and universities have advanced to the nationals next year following Saturday’s regional ethics bowl at the EpiCenter.

The United States Naval Academy took first place. Second went to Samford University followed by the University of North Florida, the University of Tampa and The Citadel. The Southeast Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl is one of several regional competitions held every fall throughout the United States.

SPC wasn’t able to compete after two of its members had family emergencies at the last minute.

Susan Demers, Dean of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies at SPC,challenged students in her welcoming remarks ”to compete with honor and remember the lessons that you learn here today.”

In the Ethics Bowl, a moderator poses questions to teams of three to five students. Questions may concern ethical problems on wide ranging topics, such as the classroom (e.g. cheating or plagiarism), personal relationships (e.g. dating or friendship), professional ethics (e.g. engineering, law, medicine), or social and political ethics (e.g. free speech, gun control, etc.) Each team receives a set of ethical issues in advance of the competition, and questions posed to teams at the competition are taken from that set. A panel of judges evaluates answers; rating criteria are intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness.

The Southeast Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl is held annually in Pinellas County and gives students a chance to enter an academic competition in the areas of practical and professional ethics. The Applied Ethics Institute at St. Petersburg College hosts the regional ethics bowl every year along with Eckerd College and the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

The National competition is scheduled at the Seventeenth Intercollegiate Ethics Bowlsm Feb. 28, at San Antonio, Texas, as a part of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics 22nd Annual Meeting. The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) is a comprehensive, international organization advancing scholarship, education, and practice in practical and professional ethics.

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Twenty colleges and universities will be competing Saturday at the Intercollegiate Southeast Regional Ethics Bowl at the EpiCenter at SPC. The event, hosted by SPC, Eckerd College and the University of South Florida, is free and open to the public. Competition starts at 9 a.m.

“This is not debating where individuals are combative or teams have to disagree with their opponents. There’s one key difference,” the University of South Florida News reported. “Competitors in this match of wits can actually agree with the opposing team, if they so choose. And if they do, they simply have to best the competition by being better at presenting and defending the position they take.”

SPC and USF are just two of the institutions competing. Others participating are:

  • Auburn University
  • Barry University
  • The Citadel
  • Eckerd College
  • Florida State University
  • Georgia Military College – Augusta
  • Georgia State University
  • Palm Beach Atlantic University
  • Samford University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham (2010 IEB Champion)
  • University of Central Florida (2011 IEB Champion)
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami (2007 IEB Champion
  • University of North Florida
  • University of South Carolina Aiken
  • University of Tampa
  • U.S. Naval Academy

The top teams in the regional bowl advance to the ethics championship competition in February, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas.

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