The Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership - University of Houston
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Our Mission

The Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership (EDR) at the Hobby School of Public Affairs is dedicated to all areas of ethical and leadership inquiry, with a special interest in the study of ethics and leadership in public and social affairs, including public policy, law, education, business, and applied science.  The Center sponsors lectures, visiting professorships, conferences, and other programs on ethics and leadership in public life.

Goals of the EDR Center:

  • to increase educational opportunities for students at the University of Houston to learn about ethics and leadership;
  • to support research by University of Houston faculty on ethics and leadership and create connections with scholars nationally and internationally;
  • to enhance opportunities for UH students, faculty, and staff, as well the greater Houston community, to participate in ethics and leadership events featuring locally and nationally prominent figures; and
  • to establish the University of Houston as a nationally-recognized leader in ethics and leadership education and scholarship.

What is Ethics?

Ethics is the study of right and wrong and the nature of a good or meaningful life. Although people hold diverse values and judge differently about the main features of a good life, ethics attempts to bring some clarity to our beliefs and behavior. It draws out the implications of our already existing values and intuitions, identifies principles underlying our beliefs, and highlights the value conflicts and trade-offs that often accompany our choices. An ethical life is not so much one lived according to some particular set of beliefs and values, from our perspective, as one guided by ethical reflection on our choices and actions. 

Ethics applies to all areas of life including our personal relationships, social and business affairs, professional conduct, and political actions. It includes reflection on our roles and responsibilities, the sort of person we want to be, and the type of society we want to live in. The EDR Center does not endorse any particular ethical position but instead aims to promote dialogue about ethical values and issues in the hope of promoting clarity and understanding about the values that shape our lives.

What is Leadership?

Leadership involves questions about purpose, effectiveness, and responsibility. What leaders want to achieve, how they can best achieve their goals, and the responsibility they bear for their choices are all issues that our leadership programming addresses. We aim to promote ethical leadership by inviting leaders and those who study leadership to talk about what they think good leadership involves, the challenges leaders face, and how leaders can remain ethical given the difficult choices they often must make.

News Release

The Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston is launching the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership with a series of lectures and projects focused on health disparities, voter suppression, and racial healing.

Paula Myrick Short, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said the center builds upon the long-running Elizabeth D. Rockwell Lecture on Ethics and Leadership. The lecture series was established in 2004 with a $6.5 million endowment from the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Foundation, which will also fund the new Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership. Read more.