Ethical Issues and Undergraduate Research Opportunities

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Chemistry | Education | Higher Education | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


There are many ethical issues involved in providing research opportunities at a primarily undergraduate institution. Rather than discuss some of the traditional topics of ethical data reporting or fairness issues in giving credits to authors, we are particularly concerned with the ethical issues which emerge from trying to be faithful to our institutional mission of providing a quality liberal arts education which fosters integrated learning. College of Saint Benedict's/Saint John's University (CSB/SJU) mission statement asserts the following: "A unified liberal arts curriculum, which focuses on questions important to the human condition, demands clear thinking and communicating and calls forth new knowledge for the betterment of humankind." CSB/SJU will provide "an integrative environment for learning which stresses challenge, open inquiry, collaborative scholarship and artistic creativity." Consideration of three different points of view, those of students, faculty, and administrators, provides a context for a discussion of the ethical issues in undergraduate research.


At the time of publication, Jill Hollbrook, CSB/SJU Class of 95, was a graduate student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's MD-PhD program. Amy Ross, CSB/SJU Class of 98, was a junior Biology major. Eva Hooker, Professor of English, was Academic Vice-President at St. John's from 1983 to 1992. This paper also appeared in the 1997 volume of the CSB/SJU Symposium: A Faculty Journal.