The Ethics Program advances critical examination of moral questions, welcoming a variety of perspectives, and fostering a community of inquiry aimed at a more just and peaceful world.

The Ethics Program at Villanova University's principal role is the administration of Ethics 2050: "The Good Life and Contemporary Moral Problems." In addition, the program oversees and administers a concentration and a minor in ethics.

The University believes issues of ethics and values are at the heart of every human endeavor. In addition to regular requirements in the sciences and humanities, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Villanova School of Business require each student to take a special interdisciplinary course—ETH 2050—typically in their sophomore year. This course serves to move students from gaining knowledge about the normative content of the traditions encountered at this Catholic, Augustinian University and engaging knowledge in the pursuit of wisdom and justice for the sake of a genuinely common good, mediated, in part, through voices that represent diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, culture and geography. This course contributes to the implementation of Villanova's mission statement, which states that, as a Catholic institution, Villanova both emphasizes the values of the Jewish and Christian humanistic traditions and concerns itself with all value systems.

Insofar as ethics is a discipline that provides resources for critical reflection on normative claims involving the guidance of life and the nature of the human good, the goals of ETH 2050 are as follows:

  1. To advance understanding and critical reflection on the moral life as being especially concerned with human flourishing, i.e., with the nature of a good human life, the kind of life that is humanly worth living.
  2. To advance understanding and critical reflection on Christian and especially Roman Catholic, Augustinian accounts of a distinctive and viable vision of human flourishing that challenges and is challenged by alternative visions of the moral life in fundamental respects, with concern for the voices of minority and/or marginalized groups. 
  3. To explore the significance of those different approaches to the moral life through the examination of various contemporary moral questions, with concern for the voices of minority and/or marginalized groups. 

Diversity and inclusion are operating norms in the areas of curriculum, faculty hiring and co- and extra-curricular planning. In all areas, diversity indicates that the program is directing its efforts to bring a diverse set of voices into the classroom and to campus. This diversity encompasses all those communities that have typically been silenced or marginalized in the academic communities of the United States, including indigenous peoples and all people of color, women, LGBTQ community members and the poor. Inclusion directs the Ethics Program to create an institutional community, in collaboration with other units on campus, to ensure that the members of these traditionally marginalized and/or silenced groups are indeed welcome in our community and given the support they need to flourish.

The Ethics Program puts its commitment to diversity into practice in a variety of ways including:

  • Prioritizing diversity in hiring
  • Requiring attention to diversity in the structuring of each Ethics Program course
  • Compilation of resources for teaching with an emphasis on diversity available to program faculty
  • Regular professional development workshops for program faculty concerning diversity and inclusion in the classroom
  • Ongoing monitoring and planning around diversity issues through an Ethics Program Diversity Committee



Jim Cavanaugh '70 CLAS, retired CPA

Stephen Esser, PhD,  investment manager;  retired  professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania

Barbara Laker, investigative reporter, Philadelphia Media Network

Ed Marks, teacher, Penn  Charter

Kristen Rock, MD, '05 CLAS, anesthesiologist, Penn Medicine

Carl Rosin, teacher, Radnor Township School District

Wendy Ruderman, investigative reporter, Philadelphia Media Network

Louis Rulli, practice professor of law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Megan Snow, Chief Data Officer, Association of College and University Educators

Emily K. Trancik, PhD, '09 CLAS, director of Ethics Integration, Ascension

Brett Wilmot, PhD, associate director, Ethics Program, Villanova University

Villanova University, SAC Room 205
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Director: Mark Doorley
Assoc. Director: Brett Wilmot
Admin. Asst.: Peggy Elder