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Updated 10:00 AM June 8, 2009

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Center for Ethics in Public Life names first five
summer fellowship honorees

The Center for Ethics in Public Life and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies recently announced the first five recipients of summer fellowships for students writing dissertations related to ethics in public life.

The new program provides summer support for the students and a summer workshop in which the fellows, drawn from a broad range of programs on campus, discuss their research and their other interests in ethics.

The program supports doctoral work on normative questions and policy, the empirical side of ethics and public life, and creative projects aimed at stimulating reflection on the ethical dimensions of our lives.

"The center's first cohort of summer fellows is ample testimony to the diversity of scholarly endeavors related to ethics among our doctoral students," says John Chamberlin, director of the Center for Ethics in Public Life.

The fellows and their dissertation projects are:

• Nancy Baum (School of Public Health) is pursuing two studies. One focuses on the nature and scope of resource-allocation decisions by local public health officials, and evaluates whether they meet the needs and priorities of the populations they serve. The second examines ethical issues inherent in planning for and responding to a pandemic.

• DeAunderia Bryant (LSA) is examining the ability of appointed commissions to resolve claims arising from specific acts of racial violence. She uses interviews and archival research on commissions appointed in the 1990s to address racial violence in two American cities in the early 1920s.

• Alex Chavez (LSA) uses the tools of behavioral game theory and decision making and experimental methods to study social norms of fairness and punishment, reputation-related behavior, and consumer behavior. His research addresses what it means to be fair and what factors make people conform to or disregard social norms.

• Tucker Fuller (School of Music, Theatre & Dance) is composing a song cycle of five thematically linked pieces. Each song centers on a separate lyric poem in which moments of love and loss are expressed from three points of view: that of an adulterer, a betrayed spouse, and an illicit lover.

• Randall Hicks (LSA) examines the relationship between collective identifications and ethical deliberations among ethnically diverse Bolivians in Escobar, Argentina. By tracking the rise, corruption, and attempted restoration of a not-for-profit "entity of the public good," he shows how an emergent ethics of humility cultivates mutual responsibilities where ethnic differences and socio-economic hierarchies frustrate them.

For more information on The Center for Ethics in Public Life, go to

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