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Teaching Ethics Program

The Teaching Ethics Program (TEP) trains undergraduate volunteers each year to introduce competing ethical perspectives and lead ethics case study discussions in neighborhood high schools. Undergraduate students can participate in TEP as volunteers or for course credit (if enrolled in a participating TEP affiliated course).

TEP is an ethics outreach initiative based on the successful USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences 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.

To Participate in TEP:
1. Email to inquire about sigining-up for a training session.
2. Attend a 2-hour training session that will provide you with the basic frame and tools applied to ethical dilemmas. The training session will focus on main approaches to ethics and moral awareness.
3. Join a team of three USC students to teach a series of four class sessions over four weeks.







Read an article about the first semester of our high school Teaching Ethics Program for USC undergraduates (Dornsife Chronicle, December 2010).

If you are a professor interested in supporting TEP by offering a credit option in your course, or a high school teacher interested in inviting a TEP team to your classroom, please contact CALIS.

USC courses that have offered credit for participation in TEP: 

  • PHIL 135g - Legal Controversies and Ethical Principles
  • PHIL 137gm - Social Ethics for Earthlings and Others
  • PHIL 140g - Contemporary Moral and Social Issues
  • PHIL 155g - Modern Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
  • PHIL 440 - Contemporary Ethical Theory
  • MDA 100b - Intro to the Health Professions

Please contact your course instructor to inquire if course credit is offered for participation in TEP.

From Former TEP Students:

Brian Lentz, Biology and M.S. in Marine/Environmental Biology '14
Considering the small amount of time required to participate, I was blown away by the joy and personal growth I experienced through TEP. From watching movie clips, to acting out challenging ethical dilemmas, our 12th grade English class never failed to be a source of fun and amusement. I particularity enjoyed hearing the students voice their diverse opinions and perspectives, which in many cases had never occurred to me. TEP is especially beneficial for future health professionals, such as me, who must be able to quickly evaluate and negotiate ethical dilemmas in health settings. Through TEP I not only developed this ability, but also valuable leadership, teamwork, and communication skills.

Austin Roy, Business Administration and Cinematic Arts '17
The acute inequality of educational opportunity that pervades our society creates a stark qualitative contrast between globally-renounded universities such as USC, and our neighboring elementary and high schools. TEP provides USC Students with the tools to bridge this gap. TEP allows USC students with the unique opportunity to engage the Los Angeles community, connect with philosophical and ethical ideology on a deeper level, and create an impact upon young minds. My experience with TEP reminded me why I attend USC--to be intellectually stimulated, to serve my community, and to explore and appreciate the world around me.