Our goal in teaching has been to coordinate the teaching of ethics across the curriculum and in different faculties of the University of Tartu. At present, various university lectures are offered in bioethics, environmental ethics, medical ethics, media ethics, ethics of science, and business ethics. Research integrity counsellors of the University of Tartu also contribute a great deal to cooperation with various faculties.
Jointly taught courses involving teaching faculty from different disciplines have also been very fruitful. A large student audience was commanded by the course co-taught by Estonian literature Professor Tiina Kirss and Philosophy Professor Margit Sutrop, titled “Ethical Dilemmas in the Works of Jaan Kross”. Participating students were able to meet and converse with the internationally recognized Estonian author Jaan Kross himself. In collaboration with the Centre for Ethics and with the support of VolkswagenStiftung, Prof. Tiina Kirss offered a course, “Academic Writing: Skills and Dangers,” which evolved into a university-wide elective for doctoral students, and a textbook to be published about this topic.
We offer university-wide core courses, such as “Fundamentals of Ethics” in the baccalaureate curriculum, “Bioethics” and “Research Integrity: Framework Requirements, Values and Principles of Action” for PhD students, as well as special topics courses in ethics. However, there is certainly a great deal of room for development here.
Ideally, students in all areas of academic specialization should have the opportunity to obtain fundamental knowledge in ethics and to familiarize themselves with the major ethical questions in their area. One of our objectives over the years has been to find students willing to specialize in the ethics of their discipline, and who would later also be able to teach it. In the first years of our activities, with the support of the VolkswagenStiftung we were able to provide stipends to doctoral students in different faculties to focus more intensively on questions of ethics. As a result of this, nine of these scholarship holders have defended their dissertations. Often these doctoral students become our ambassadors to other academic departments.
Cover photo: Nele Tammeaid