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Gary Comstock


Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Withers Hall 458


Gary L. Comstock is Alumni Association Distinguished Undergraduate Professor.



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Date: 09/01/05 - 8/31/10
Amount: $249,393.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

LANGURE will be the first inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional initiative to create a national network of eight land grant universities (LGUs) and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) teaching research ethics to doctoral candidates in engineering and the physical, social and life sciences. The project will engage more than 100 Senior and Junior Ethics Fellows--faculty and graduate students--to design and teach a core research ethics course. The course will feature discipline-specific modules created by our Fellows. The course and interactive modules will be freely accessible online to students at all LGUs and HBCUs, and to high school teachers and students through the Iowa Biotechnology Outreach Program.

Date: 08/16/07 - 8/15/09
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: National Humanities Center

I propose to write a book-length manuscript on the ethical dimensions of being human. Tentatively titled "Singularity and Superiority," the book will explore the moral limits, if any, we should place on scientific work to enhance human, animal, and machine psychological capacities.

Date: 09/01/07 - 8/31/10
Amount: $45,872.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

This action funds a project to extend and assess research ethics education in 3 ways: a) Extend the "OpenSeminar in Research Ethics" doctoral course from two of the doctoral-degree granting universities in the University of North Carolina system to all seven doctoral campuses; b) Assess the effectiveness of the OpenSeminar in achieving its pedagogical goals across the system; c) Establish a mechanism and template for extending the OpenSeminar approach to Research Ethics Education to other state systems. The project is the nation's first effort to disseminate a standardized, interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, communally-oriented collaborative online curricular intervention in research ethics to all of the doctoral-degree granting institutions in a state university system and systematically assess the effectiveness of the intervention. The project systematically guides and stimulates creative thought about issues in research in a technologically driven society. It encourages high ethical standards in students who, as professionals, will work in a globally inter-connected world where cultural differences and expectations can raise daunting dilemmas. Further, it dramatically improves the institutionalization of research ethics education, extending a novel curricular intervention across an entire state network with engineering and science doctoral candidates. It is expected that by developing alliances in science, engineering and social science graduate education, the program will provide a template for state systems of research universities across the US.

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