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Brothers present at conference
11/12/09

What do a professor of chemistry at Alfred University, a professor of business at Bradley University and a professor of business ethics at Butler University have in common?

Answer: Mom and Dad.

And the fact the three are making a joint presentation at the 11th annual “Ethics Across the Curriculum” conference now under way at Rochester Institute of Technology. Their presentation is entitled, “Relativism and the Teaching of Business Ethics.”

Joining Garrett J. McGowan, associate professor of chemistry at Alfred University, will be Richard J. McGowan, who teaches business ethics at Butler University, and Matthew K. McGowan, who teaches business and management information systems at Bradley University.

“We have always looked for conferences that the three of us can present at and write papers for,” said Garrett McGowan. For a number of years, they presented at conference at Kentucky State College, “but that folded, so we retooled our paper” for the Society for Ethics across the Curriculum” conference that RIT is hosting this year.

They posed the questions, “Can ethics be taught? If so, how? If not, why not?”, to students in each of their classes.

“We characterized the responses according to the stages of moral and ethical development set forth by (Lawrence) Kohlberg and (William) Perry,” Garrett McGowan explained. Based on their findings, “We offer suggestions for attaining moral minimalism in the classroom.”

Garrett McGowan earned a B.S. degree from the University of Maine and a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of Vermont. In addition to teaching chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Alfred University, he is a bicycle rider, sailor, outdoor enthusiast and father to two daughters and a son.

Richard McGowan earned a B.A. degree from Colgate University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Marquette University. He is also a bicycle enthusiast, as well as a home brewer, traveler and father to three boys.

Matthew McGowan, who earned a B.A. degree from Bucknell University and a Ph.D. in business from Kent State, is also a cyclist and father to two girls.