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Levan Collaborative Projects

Collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Teaching 2013

WORKSHOP: Achieving The Mission Statement: Cultivating Wisdom and Moral Discernment Among USC Students

Thursday, March 1, 2013 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM (Friends of Doheney Memorial Library, 240)

“We strive constantly for excellence in teaching knowledge and skills to our students, while at the same time helping them to acquire wisdom and insight, love of truth and beauty, moral discernment, understanding of self, and respect and appreciation of others.” —USC Mission Statement

How can USC achieve these goals in meaningful and appropriate ways? How does one teach wisdom and respect?

Moderator: Edward Finegan, Professor of Linguistics and Law, Director of USC Center for Excellence in Teaching


  • Alex Capron, University Professor; Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs; Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics (USC Gould School of Law); Professor of Law and Medicine (Keck School of Medicine); Co-Director, Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics
  • Pat Haden, USC Athletic Director; Former Chairman of the Academic and Student Affairs Committees, USC Board of Trustees
  • Darline Robles, Professor of Clinical Education, USC Rossier School of Education, Former Superintendent of Los Angeles County Office of Education and of the Salt Lake City and Montebello School Districts

Performing Wisdom - Student Workshops in Self-Evaluation and Self-Fashioning

Program Director: James Collins, Assistant Professor of Classics, USC Dornsife

These end of semester workshops engage students in in-depth dialogue and pose the questions: What are the effects of acting like other people? What are the differences between making and simulating difficult decisions? What are the connections between our principles and the choices we make? How do we explore and remake ourselves through writing, speaking, conversation and deportment?

Click Here to View Upcoming Workshops 2012-2013

Fall 2011 Performances:

Strategies for the Art of Living Workshop by USC Thematic Option Students (CORE 102)

Some philosophers don't just present arguments. Rather, they present the sort of person that adheres to particular arguments. They write literature that explores what makes these sorts of people good and beautiful. Students briefed the audience about their work during the semester with these different literary characters, how self-construction can work in philosophical literature, and then created an experimental performance space in which the audience will be able to move and interact with dramatic renderings of philosophical personae.

Euripides' Hippolytus, adapted and read by USC students of Anicent Drama (CLAS 337)

In this event students offered a dramatic reading of their adaptation of the play followed by reflections on their scholarly and creative engagement with this ancient drama. The play, first produced for the City of Dionysia in Athens in 428 BC, is full of characters that believe they know themselves until they have to wrestle with appetites, emotions, and voices, which they had long neglected. Euripides offers a psychologically complex look at how people variously construct and commit to ideas about themselves and what constitutes virtuous living.

Carnegie Council Partnership

The Levan Institute is a partner of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in its multimedia initiative, Global Ethics Network. The Network connects students and educators across the globe to encourage "current and future generations to think in new ways about the ethics of today's global challenges."

Click here for more information and details on past and future events.

Collaboration with the Center for Active Learning in International Relations (CALIS)

The Teaching Ethics Program (TEP) is an ethics outreach program based on the successful USC College service learning model developed by the Center for Active Learning in International Studies (CALIS). Through TEP, USC students have an innovative opportunity to respond to the Levan Institute challenge: to engage with, understand, and internalize the timeless values at the core of our humanity. 

TEP trains undergraduate volunteers each year to introduce competing ethical perspectives and lead ethics case study discussions in neighborhood high schools. TEP teams are primarily recruited from philosophy classes and supported by USC professors offering credit options as part of their courses.


In 2009 the Levan Institute co-sponsored the Teaching International Relations Program (TIRP) Annual High School Leadership Conference:  Foreign Policy and Ethics - US options with Iran

The conference brought a large turnout of teachers and students from area high schools, resulting in an exciting day of foreign policy brainstorming.

Click here to see more on the conference...

USC Annual Ethics Essay Competition

Co-sponsored with the Writing Programs at the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, the Marshall School of Business, and the Viterbi School of Engineering. 

The First Annual USC Ethics Essay Contest aims to recognize the best written work on ethics by undergraduates across the curriculum.  Papers can be a discussion of a current ethical issue, or a critical case analysis of recent ethics violations in a professional field (engineering, business, health sciences, law, politics, etc.).

Winners announced at the Undergraduate Writers' Conference Awards Banquet

Click here for more information and to submit your essay.

Annual USC Ethics Cup Competition

An annual debate and essay competition developed in conjunction with advanced Writing classes from the Marshall School of Business, Viterbi School of Engineering, and Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.  The first annual Ethics Cup took place Fall 2010. Student debated about difficult cases drawn from a variety of ethics-related subjects. 

Click Here For More Information 

Global Justice Collaboration

Several prestigious organizations have joined in an effort to boost teaching and research collaboration between University Paris 8 and the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Click here to see more on the collaboration as well as past and upcoming conferences.

Collaboration with the Unruh Institute of Politics

With the aim of raising discussion of ethical issues in politics and political actions, the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics has partnered with the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics to bring guest lecturers, panel discussions, and other events to the USC Campus.

In Fall 2010 we gathered panelists to speak on issues of political marketing,

-'BUY' THIS CANDIDATE: When Is Political Marketing Unethical and What Should We Do About It?

With so much at stake each election cycle, candidates, political parties, and special interest groups spend huge sums on political marketing activities.  Every election brings fresh allegations of underhanded marketing tactics that deceive or manipulate voters and undermine the democratic process.  Our panel of experts will attempt to cut through the spin and counter-spin to answer the question: When are political marketing tactics unethical and what can we do about it?

Dr. Ann Crigler, Chair, USC Department of Political Science
Max Freedman, USC Political Science student
Matt Rodriguez, Western States Regional Director, Obama for America
Jonathan Wilcox, Former Speechwriter, California Governor Pete Wilson
Moderated by Dan Schnur, Chairman, California Fair Political Practices Commission

Visions & Voices

The Visions & Voices Medical Humanities, Arts, and Ethics Event Series invites speakers who, through their creative or scholarly work, address some of the core issues facing the health of individuals and society.

Organized by Pamela Schaff (Pediatrics and Keck Educational Affairs), Erin Quinn (Family Medicine and Keck Admissions) and Lyn Boyd-Judson (Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics).

Co-sponsored by the Keck School of Medicine’s Program in Medical Humanities, Arts and Ethics; the USC Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics

Click here for more on the program and speakers

Cinema of Substance

A film series showcasing poignant films from around the world exploring who we are and how we might be.  The subjects of the films are then further examined in audience discussions with the films' award winning writers and directors.

Click here for past events and upcoming screenings

Co-sponsored by the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and the USC School of Cinematic Arts

The Soul of Medicine

A new speaker series focusing on the personal, spiritual, moral, and creative dimensions of the healing arts - featuring faculty, staff, and special guests. Students and staff from all USC schools and hospitals are welcome.

Click here for more information on past events and upcoming speakers

Co-sponsored by the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and the Office of Religious Life

Spirit of the Law

A monthly speaker series featuring legal professionals discussing how they find meaning and purpose in the law; how they use their law degrees in creative and innovative ways; and how they connect the personal and the professional in their lives.

Click here for more on past events and upcoming speakers

Co-sponsored by the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and the Office of Religious Life

What Matters to Me and Why

What Matters to Me and Why is a program in its tenth year at USC, which encourages reflection about values, beliefs, and motivations. It aims to help students and others better understand the lives and inspirations of those who shape the University.

Presenters are encouraged to talk about choices made, difficulties encountered, and commitments solidified. They are also free to choose any other topic that fits their definition of "what matters to me and why."

Click here for more on past events and upcoming speakers

Co-sponsored by the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and the Office of Religious Life