WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE

Ethics And Computer Science

ETHICS, VIRTUE, AND CHARACTER EDUCATION

Overview

Since the fall semester of 2020, the Department of Computer Science has been working to increase opportunities to engage with ethics, virtue, and character education as it relates to computer science and technology. Below please find information on these initiatives within the department.

Courses

During academic year 2020-2021, two courses that focused on the intersection of ethics and computer science were taught by postdoctoral fellow Dr. William Cochran.  Dr. Cochran’s postdoctoral position was supported by the Wake Forest University Program for Leadership and Character.  These courses were:

  • CSC 191: Ethics Of Emerging Technology (3 credit hours)
  • CSC 391: Ethical Leadership In Computer Science (3 credit hours)

In addition, in Spring 2021, Dr. Cochran worked with Computer Science faculty Dr. Cho and Dr. Turkett to embed relevant modules into the following courses:

  • CSC 231: Programming Languages
  • CSC 374: Machine Learning

Dr. Natalia Khuri has participated in the Wake Forest University Program for Leadership and Character summer course institute and is anticipating teaching in the future a course that includes an exploration of ethics within the context of natural language processing (NLP).

Leadership And Character Department Grant

In academic year 2021-2022, the Department received additional support from the University’s Program for Leadership and Character through a financial grant.

As of December 2021, this funding has supported the hiring of two students to explore the space of currently available ethics, virtue, and character education modules published in the computer science literature and map them in two different ways: (1) onto a catalog of virtues and (2) onto our department’s computer science classes.

Planned future events and activities supported by this funding include hosting of two colloquium events in Spring 2022 focused on issues of justice as they relate to the development of software, the development of algorithms, and/or data modeling, as well as development of videos and audio introducing fundamental concepts of character education.