Objective: To foster the discussion of ethics in research.
Participants: Members of Sigma Xi, students, faculty, general public
Description: Members of Sigma Xi sponsor a forum to discuss cutting edge ethics issues in research. The forum brings together a panel of five-six experts who each speak for about five minutes on the specific ethical issue. The audience poses questions for the remaining time. The interplay between the panelists and the audience leads to a very interesting discussion. Topics are chosen from sources such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, local newspapers and scientific journals. Panelists are identified from among the faculty, chapter members, and scientific journals or The Chronicle of Higher Education. There has not been any difficulty recruiting panelists, in part because they don't have to prepare a paper. Panelists need only be willing to give their opinion and discuss it with the other panelists and audience.
The chapter is committed to the ethics forums for several reasons. The forums allow students to be critical thinkers, ethics in science will always be an issue and university campuses are the best, most logical place for these discussions to happen.
Cost implications and source of funds: The chapter offers to cover the expenses of the panelists but that has not usually been necessary. The cost of refreshments (cookies and coffee) has been covered by the chapter and the university administration.
Time Commitment: It takes between 30-50 hours of committee work spread over several months.
Co-sponsors/Partners: Pace Honor Society Chapters of Psi Chi (Psychology), Tri Beta (Biology), Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing).
Number of Chapter Members Involved: 5-6 members organize the forum.
Number of attendees: 50-60 attendees, primarily students
Outreach/Publicity: The university's press office has prepared press releases for the forum. Flyers have been posted around the campus in three waves - a simple black and white flyer followed by a full color flyer with a reminder flyer just before the event.
Sigma Xi membership implications: The forum helps generate interest in the chapter and is a program that chapter officers can reference when trying to get inactive members to reactivate their membership.
Checklist for Forum:
Contact Information: Charlene Hoegler, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Identify topic and possible panelists.
- Contact panelists.
- Reserve space for the forum.
- Notify university press office.
- Design, print and distribute flyers.
- Arrange for refreshments.