Ethical Reasoning in Action @ W&L: 2023-24 Faculty Learning Community

In this 2023-24 Faculty Learning Community, participants will learn and apply the Ethical Reasoning in Action (ERiA) strategy developed at James Madison University (JMU). Drawing from research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, the ERiA curriculum is designed to foster students' ability to recognize and analyze moral aspects of a situation and make ethically-informed decisions about it. Students practice applying eight key questions (8KQ) to morally complex scenarios. The ERiA program seeks to help students develop a habit of mind that engages deliberative reasoning processes instead of defaulting to automated moral intuitions. 

The Faculty Learning Community will be comprised of up to 12 W&L full-time teaching faculty who will attend eight in-person workshops during AY 2023-24. Sessions will be instructed by Christian Early, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Interim Director of JMU's ERiA Program, with contributions from Keston Fulcher, Improvement Strategist at JMU. Participants will master the ERiA approach, design a 1-2 class period lesson plan that applies it within a topical course that will be taught in the Winter Term of 2024, pilot test the lesson plan in that course, and create a portfolio incorporating the final lesson plan and critical reflections about it.

Each participant in the Faculty Learning Community will earn a $1000 stipend.

Although the ERiA @ W&L Faculty Learning Community has not been designed to directly serve the ethical reasoning component of W&L's new General Education program, it may indirectly complement this initiative. Incorporating significant ERiA components into a course may make it eligible for this GenEd designation in the future.

Please direct any questions to Karla Murdock (

Schedule of In-Person Sessions

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 (Fall Academy) 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 19, 2023  11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Thursday, October 12, 2023 (Reading Days) 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Tuesday, December 12, 2023 (Winter Academy) 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 16, 2024 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Tuesday, February 13, 2024 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Tuesday, March 19, 2024 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.

ERiA Particpants:

  • Jumana Al-Ahmad, Visiting Professor of Arabic
  • Michelle Cosby, Assistant Dean of Legal Iinformation Services and Professor
  • Andi Coulter, Assistant Professor of Business Administration
  • Tim Diette, Executive Director of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty
  • David Eggert, Professor of Practice
  • Elisabeth Gilbert, Assistant Professor of Business Adminstration
  • Megan Hess, Associate Professor of Accounting
  • Janet Ikeda, Associate Professor of Japanese
  • Dan Johnson, David G. Elmes Term Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
  • Julie Kane, Professor and Collection Strategies Librarian
  • Li Kang, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
  • Mengying Liu, Assistant Professor of Engineering
  • Sybil Prince Nelson, Assitant Professor of Mathematics
  • Howard Pickett, Director of the Shepherd Program and Associate Professor 
  • Jaime Roots, Visiting Assistant Professor of German
  • Holly Shablack, Assistant Professor or Cognitive and Behavioral Science
  • Kary Smout, Associate Professor of English
  • Jill Sundie, Associate Professor of Business Administration