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Ethics in Graduate School and Normative Research

My interest in ethics and normativity extends beyond research into pedagogical practice: What is ethics? Who decides? These question are important but rarely discussed in explicit ways in the weather community:

  • How do forecaster and meteorologists talk about ethics? 
  • What ethical considerations come into play in the warning process?  
  • What and / or who gets privileged in the forecast process?  In warnings?
  • What responsibility do forecasters have for their advice to the people they serve? Does this ethos have a legal dimension? Ought it?
  • Who ought to be responsible for providing support to forecasters after traumatic weather events?

There are many questions that are ethically informed in this research. The same is true of graduate education more generally. How does ethics play out in terms of research (e.g. the IRB) or mentoring between advisor and student?  What coursework and experiences shape our sense of what it means to be ethical? 

I explore these questions through my assistantship with Graduate School Dean, Dr. Karen DePauw, who is heading up several programs to develop an ethics curriculum for graduate students that addresses several issues: 

  • What does academic integrity mean? How is it different across cultures?
  • What standards should exist in academia versus industry or government? 
  • What obligation does a faculty member have to share authorship with students? 
  • How can we best avoid cheating, plagiarism, and other honor system offenses?

Many of these complex topics will be discussed beginning this fall on our new website: ethicscommons.wordpress.com.

Normativity, or the idea of the ideal standard or norm of society, is of special interest to me. What ought a weather forecast look like? What should meteorologists take as their primary goal in terms of serving society? How do we decide such prescriptive values and motives?