Historically, moral formation has been one of the university’s central purposes, but in the modern era, universities have become shy of intentionally shaping the character of their students, even while they do it in practice. Recent scandals and ethical failures in government, politics, banking, business, journalism, and health care invite us to consider whether universities should recover an intentional focus on moral education and, if so, how they should cultivate virtue in a multicultural and ideologically plural age.
This two-day conference will bring together distinguished scholars and practitioners to explore the role of character development in higher education. By integrating perspectives from history, literature, education, philosophy, theology, and the social sciences, we hope to catalyze a broader interdisciplinary conversation that will encourage colleges and universities to develop creative ways to educate students to become good leaders and wise thinkers.
The conference is co-sponsored by The Oxford Character Project, The McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life, and Wake Forest University.