The Villanova University Ethics Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has named James F. Childress, John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics in the Department of Religious Studies at University of Virginia, as the recipient of the 2017 Praxis Award in Professional Ethics. Entering its 11th year, the Praxis Award honors and celebrates the contributions of a professional or academic in the field of professional ethics. This year’s award will be presented at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center on the University’s Main Campus. Prior to this event two panels of distinguished guests will speak to emerging ethical issues in military ethics and bioethics. The panels begin at 1:30 p.m., also in the Villanova Room, and are open to the public.
The Praxis Award Committee selected Childress for his impact on the scholarship of professional ethics. With colleague Tom L. Beauchamp, he co-wrote the renowned text Principles of Biomedical Ethics, now in its seventh edition and translated into several languages. He has published several books and written numerous articles over a distinguished career.
“The Praxis Award in Professional Ethics enables Villanova University to celebrate academics whose scholarship, teaching and consultancy work have made a positive impact on public policy discussion on a national stage,” said Mark Doorley, PhD, Director of the Ethics Program and Chair of the Praxis Selection Committee. “Praxis Award recipients remind each of us, including our students, that a commitment to ethics is a necessary condition for a truly exemplary professional life.”
Childress has also made a tremendous impact on ethics scholarship through his mentorship of dozens of doctoral students at the University of Virginia who are now professors teaching around the world, influencing future professionals’ orientation toward the moral dimensions of their work. He has served on several national committees that have examined ethics and public policy, including the national Task Force on Organ Transplantation, the Human Gene Therapy Subcommittee and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (1996-2001).
Childress is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Praxis Committee noted his commitment to excellence in “conducting research in the field of professional ethics” and many years “of Influencing the field of professional ethics in a positive manner through writing, teaching, consulting, and/or professional leadership.”
Recipients of the Praxis Award have accomplished one or more of the following achievements:
- Excellence in fulfilling and embodying the ethical ideals of a profession;
- Excellence in connecting professional work to a broader understanding of the common good;
- Excellence in promoting and embodying ethical integrity in a professional field;
- Excellence with respect to research in the field of professional ethics;
- Excellence in terms of influence on the field of professional ethics through writing, teaching, consulting and/or professional leadership.