How might universities cultivate leaders of character? That was the question under discussion at a panel on 24 May 2017 at Rhodes House, organized by the Oxford Character Project, a research initiative and practical programme for postgraduate character development affiliated with the McDonald Centre. The panel included top university leaders and educational practitioners who spoke about the moral purposes and responsibilities of the university, the challenges of cultivating virtue in our contemporary context, and the specific virtues of character that students need to become ethical leaders and citizens. Speakers included:
- Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Oxford and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life
- Charles Conn, Warden of Rhodes House and CEO of the Rhodes Trust
- Nathan Hatch, President of Wake Forest University
- Margaret MacMillan, Professor of International History and Warden of St. Antony's College, Oxford
- Ngaire Woods, Professor of Global Economic Governance and Dean of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government
The panel was moderated by Michael Lamb, McDonald-Templeton Postdoctoral Fellow at the Oxford Character Project and McDonald Centre, University Scholar in Residence and Fellow in Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest University, and former Dean of Leadership, Service, and Character Development at the Rhodes Trust.
The high-profile event attracted and engaged audience of over 100, including senior academics and administrators from Oxford, members of the Oxford Character Project, members of the Advisory Council at the McDonald Centre, Rhodes Scholars, and trustees and senior leaders from Wake Forest University.
The McDonald Centre played a critical role in envisioning and coordinating this panel. Along with the participation of Prof Biggar and Dr Lamb, McDonald Centre Associate Fellows, Jonathan Brant and Ed Brooks, helped to organize the panel.
The panel served to launch the McDonald Centre's 2017 annual conference on 'Cultivating Virtue in the University' that followed at Christ Church on 25-26 May.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kirkpatrick, Zeuxis Photography (www.zeuxisphotography.com)