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Ethics Program

Welcome to the Ethics Program website where you can meet our faculty, learn more about our undergraduate programs, and get additional information about the role our program plays as part of Villanova University’s Augustinian mission of transforming hearts and minds. 

The Ethics Program community comprises three permanent faculty, three post-doctoral Catherine of Siena Fellows, an administrative assistant and undergraduate student workers. Additional faculty from Theology and Religious Studies, Philosophy, Humanities and Augustinian Traditions, and the Center for Peace and Justice serve the program through teaching and administrative service on our steering committee. We are proud to be an interdisciplinary program that works with interested parties from around our great university.

Villanova University believes that issues of ethics and values are at the heart of every human endeavor. With this in mind, the Ethics Program offers an introductory course in ethics (ETH 2050) that is a required course for all students in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Business.

In addition, the Ethics Program provides both a concentration and minor that is available to students in all of the University’s undergraduate colleges. These offer students opportunities to pursue in depth an intellectual discipline that studies human character and conduct—whom we ought to be and what we ought to do. Both the concentration and the minor promote a greater understanding of ethics as a discipline from theological and philosophical perspectives, and both contribute to Villanova’s character as a Catholic, Augustinian university.

In addition to academic offerings, the Ethics Program sponsors co-curricular and extra-curricular events such as the annual Undergraduate Ethics Symposium, the Ethics Bowl, Ethics for Lunch, and the annual Ethics Lecture.

Upcoming Events

The faculty and staff of the Ethics Program in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Villanova University joins the chorus of voices raised in horror and protest not only at the inhumane murders of Ms. Breonna Taylor and Mr. George Floyd but also at the long American history of disproportionate violence and killing inflicted on vulnerable communities, particularly people of color, by those entrusted with preserving public order and enforcing the law. The history of our country cannot be told without sustained and serious reflection on the white supremacy and structural racism that permeate our society. Black lives matter. Black lives matter because we are brothers and sisters. Black lives matter because we are members of the same family created in the image of God. Black lives matter because of our inherent human dignity. Black lives matter. It is a profound stain on our country that such words must be raised in protest and on bended knee in response to yet another murder of an African American person at the hands of police officers.


We recognize that we are complicit in systems that have privileged some at the expense of others and that complicity can exist side by side with a desire for justice for all victims of racism. While the Ethics Program has striven to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our teaching and hiring, we realize that there is more work to be done in our anti-racist efforts and much to learn.


To this end, we commit to

·         engage in personal and communal reflection and education on white supremacy, individual racism, and systemic racism;

·         designate a Catherine of Siena Fellowship for a teacher-scholar whose work focuses on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and

·         collaborate with others on campus to create and expand spaces where we can engage in sustained and serious reflection on how white supremacy and racism affect Villanova University and the broader society.


We must do this work at Villanova. In the spirit of St. Augustine, we are reminded that “justice is the cornerstone of civil society. Upon it depend the unity and nobility of any human society.” Racism is a threat to the common good and diminishes the flourishing of us all. Keeping in mind Villanova’s three core values of Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas, we commit to pursuing justice with love for all.


Allison Covey                          Kristyn Sessions          

Mark Doorley                          Willa Swenson-Lengyel

Peggy Elder                            Brett Wilmot

Audra Goodnight                    Mark Wilson


Announcement for Catherine of Siena Fellowship Starting Date: Fall 2021


The Ethics Program of Villanova University seeks candidates for the Catherine of Siena Fellowship whose research, teaching and/or service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to engagement and inclusion of culturally diverse audiences. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated competence in voices that are traditionally underrepresented and/or marginalized in the Western canon.  Successful candidates will have a clear commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, and multicultural competence in an educational environment and must be willing to contribute to the Villanova’s strategic plan of inclusive community. Responsibilities include a 3/3 teaching load with the core ethics course as the primary course, research, plus committee service work for the program. A Ph.D. should be in hand by August 1, 2021. The position is for one year, renewable up to 4 years. Candidates should have either expertise in Christian ethics, with competency to teach Western philosophical ethics, or expertise in Western philosophical ethics, with competency to teach Christian ethics. Application documents should include a cover letter indicating competencies noted above, C.V., unofficial graduate transcripts, statement of teaching philosophy, evidence of teaching excellence, and two letters of recommendation. All documents can be submitted electronically. To apply, visit Villanova is a Roman Catholic University sponsored by the Augustinian Order. An AA/EEO employer, Villanova seeks a diverse faculty committed to scholarship, service, and especially teaching, who understand, respect, and will contribute to the mission and values of the university. Application deadline is December 15, 2020. All preliminary interviews will be completed via Zoom. For more details visit or contact Dr. Mark Doorley at

Contact Us

Ethics Program
Villanova University, SAC Room 104
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4692
FAX: 610.519.8026

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