Begin with empathy: Notre Dame Ethics Week explores finding common ground

University of Notre Dame Ethics Week 2021 takes on a topic that’s top of mind for many people these days: the challenge of finding common ground amid diverse or even opposing ideologies.

Notre Dame Ethics Week, held Feb. 16-19, features four events exploring the theme “Beginning with Empathy: Listening and Learning From Others.” The sessions explore a wide range of topics related to empathy, including the underlying science, diversity and inclusion, teaching empathy as part of problem solving and how medical professionals employ empathy.

Ethics Week Logo

“When our team met back in June of 2020 to discuss a theme for this year, the conversation ranged from racial strife to political discord to the disparate impact of COVID-19,” said Brian Levey, teaching professor in the Department of Accountancy.  “And then we realized that all of these topics shared one common element at their core: empathy, or perhaps more accurately, the lack of empathy, and so a theme was born.”

The discussions are offered via Zoom and are open to all members of the Notre Dame community as well as the public. Registration is not required. Attendees can join each session by clicking on the Zoom link on the series webpage.

All talks take place from noon-1 p.m. ET with the exception of the Feb. 17 session which starts at 5 p.m. ET. The schedule is as follows:

  • Feb. 16: “Getting Better at Empathy: The Science and Practice of Standing Under Another’s Experience” featuring Christopher Adkins, associate teaching professor in the Management & Organization Department and academic director of Leadership Development.
  • Feb. 17: “ND Student Voices on Empathy & Racial Justice” panel discussion moderated by Jessica McManus Warnell, associate teaching professor of Management (moderator) and featuring student panelists Faith Achangwa (MBA ’22), Ahsan Mohar (MBA ’21), Michael Perez (BS ’21) and Max Siegel II (BBA ’22). (Note: Session starts at 5 p.m. ET.)
  • Feb. 18: “Working Toward the Common Ground” featuring the Meyer Business on the Frontlines Program leadership team including Viva Bartkus, Meyer program director and associate professor of Management; Joseph Sweeney, associate director of experiential learning for Mendoza’s graduate business programs; and Kelly Rubey, assistant teaching professor in the Management & Organization Department.
  • Feb. 19: “Medical Professionals Discuss Empathy in Health Care: Its Possibilities and Pitfalls” panel discussion moderated by Ken Milani, accountancy professor and featuring panelists Lisa Gorski, clinical nurse specialist at Wheaton Franciscan Home Health & Hospice; Phil Newbold, CEO emeritus at Beacon Health System; and Brian Ratigan, orthopedic surgeon with South Bend Orthopedics and head of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine for Notre Dame Football.

Now in its 24th year, Notre Dame Ethics Week takes place annually in February and brings in experts from a diverse array of industries to explore current ethics issues. The series was established to encourage the discussion of ethical matters in undergraduate and graduate business classes at Notre Dame and to secure a foundation for future discussions inside and outside the classroom.

Ethics Week honors the legacy of John Houck, a Notre Dame management professor who authored numerous works on business ethics, including “Is the Good Corporation Dead?”

For more information about Notre Dame Ethics Week, contact Brian Levey at (574) 631-3560 or

Originally posted on Mendoza News.