Professor Susan Dimock becomes new director of Centre for Practical Ethics

After eight years, York Professor David Shugarman has stepped down as director of York’s Centre for Practical Ethics. The new director, as of July 1, is York philosophy Professor Susan Dimock.

A member of York’s faculty since 1991, Dimock (MA ’88) is an expert in moral and political philosophy, and philosophy of law. She has been a member of the centre’s executive and board of directors since 1999. As the centre’s director, Dimock, who earned her PhD from Dalhousie University in 1994, intends to forge new alliances with other organized research units (ORUs) at York, adding the expertise in ethics of the centre’s members to many of the innovative research initiatives being organized elsewhere at York. She also plans to expand the centre’s consulting service and to provide outreach to the broader community through a revitalized and practically-oriented Web site.

Right: Susan Dimock

Dimock brings a wide variety of senior academic administrative experience and research attributes to her new position. She is a former president of the York University Faculty Association, former chair of Faculty of Arts Council, and a long-time member of the University Senate. In addition, Dimock received the University-Wide Teaching Award at York in 1998 and the Issac Walton Killam Fellowship at Dalhousie University from 1988-1991. She is the editor of several books, including Classic Readings and Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2006) and Classic Readings and Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law (2001). Currently, she is working another book, titled Law: Its Nature and Value, expected to be published in the fall.

One of the first projects under Dimock’s leadership is a major international conference in April 2009 on the topic of "Values in an Age of Multiculturalism". The conference will be held in conjunction with the American Society of Value Inquiry, and will bring hundreds of the world’s leading academics to York to discuss contemporary challenges of and opportunities provided by multiculturalism. The focus on multiculturalism will be a major locus of activity over the coming years, with academic and community outreach components. The centre’s move to the Research Tower next summer is one of many items on Dimock’s agenda as the new director.

During his time as director, Shugarman presided over several major projects the centre led or collaborated on. These included a SSHRC Research Development Initiative and an Australian Research Council award to study the ethics of international intervention; another SSHRC grant in support of research on ethics in the public sector in Canada; a conference and follow-up training sessions and workshops for Citizenship & Immigration Canada; a CIDA grant to assist representatives of the Government of China interested in reviewing Canadian ethics regimes and studying ways to strengthen ethical governance in the Chinese system; and a two-and-a-half-day roundtable on judicial ethics with a number of Canada’s most senior judges and academic experts in the field of public administration and ethical decision-making.

The Centre for Practical Ethics was established in 1994 to further research in the field of practical ethics and to support the teaching of practical ethics at York. It organizes workshops and conferences on practical ethics, and develops professional programs to service community organizations. One of the centre’s goals is to raise awareness of practical ethics and to facilitate the integration of ethics into the everyday life of the community it serves, including businesses, government and the professions.