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Developing values-driven, effective leaders and advancing institutional integrity through intentional professional development

The National Center for Professional & Research Ethics (NCPRE) creates and shares resources to support the development of better ethics and leadership practices in academic and other professional contexts.  In our model, leadership—and particularly ethical leadership—is a key component of setting an institutional tone and promoting healthy and productive professional interactions. Intentional leadership development and institutional integrity are linked. We create tools and resources to support both.

NCPRE is housed in the Coordinated Science Laboratory in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and started with a grant of $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation in 2010.  Our current work includes studying and promoting improved research practice in university and private settings. One of our flagship initiatives is the SOURCE project, which provides universities with tools to assess their research ethics climates and benchmark themselves against institutional peers.

Another important current activity is a multi-year leadership development institute offered in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on a grant of $2.7 million. We also offer workshops and MOOC-based coursework devoted to ethical leadership, intentional professional development in a range of settings, and coping with challenges in the rapidly changing environment of higher education, here in the U.S. and around the world.

In all its activities, NCPRE is committed to forming, developing, and supporting communities of responsible professional practice.

  • We recognize that no one seeks disaster, and few people knowingly act unethically; small choices are important in setting personal and ethical pathways.
  • Institutional context, organizational culture, peer influences, and setting an example at the top all contribute to promoting an ethical professional climate—or its opposite.
  • We create tools, systems, and resources to help universities and other institutions educate their members about ethics, including the responsible conduct of research.
  • We define professional and research ethics as the smart choice, not just the right choice; they promote effectiveness and productivity in the long run.
  • We help institutions assess the integrity of their environments, and develop strategies for improving them.
  • We develop leaders using evidence-based, practical, applied strategies that include self-reflection and ethical values.
  • When things go wrong, we provide strategies for improving matters and setting a better course of action.
  • We help emerging professionals, from high school on, to understand the importance of their ethical and professional choices, and to view themselves as responsible leaders.