In the fourth week of the ethics seminar he teaches each fall at the NYU
College of Arts & Science, NYUCD
Professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion Dr. Frederick G. More presents
his students with a dilemma. Walking to the front of the classroom
after a screening of Shattered Glass, a movie depicting how journalist
Stephen Glass was exposed for fabricating articles in the New Republic
in the late 1990s, Dr. More asks his students, "How would you react if you
discovered that Mr. Glass had gone on to law school, passed the bar exam,
and applied for a license to practice law in New York State? If you were to
advise the New York State Bar Association, which is considering the ex-reporter's
application, would you say Mr. Glass, charged
with unprofessional conduct, yet never convicted of a crime, should
be allowed to practice law?"
In fall 2004, after a very successful experiment the previous year in which Dr. Ralph Katz, Professor and Chair
of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, presented a course in the Freshmen Honors Seminar Series of the College of Arts
and Sciences (CAS), Dr. Matthew Santirocco, Dean of CAS, invited Dean Alfano to nominate another senior faculty
member to offer an additional Freshman Seminar. Dean Alfano nominated Dr. More to participate in the program
designed to increase the number of senior professors teaching CAS freshmen. Based on Dr. More's reputation among
dental and master's degree students at NYUCD for enlivening ethics instruction, sometimes by using Hollywood films
to highlight real-world ethical dilemmas, Dean Alfano felt that Dr. More was well suited to teach in
the CAS Freshmen Honors Seminar series and asked him to submit a proposal to the CAS curriculum committee, which
The course that Dr. More designed is: Making Choices in Contemporary America:
Dedication, Deals, and Deception.
"I use popular culture in my lessons because this is a great way to encourage
young adults to think about moral issues they will face in their personal
and professional lives," says Dr. More. "By portraying how cheating and
fabrication ruined a career, Shattered Glass helped me take discussions
on certain dishonest, questionable, or controversial practices beyond the "everybody
does it, so why should I care?" reactions one often hears. For
example, students were inspired to think about what action they would
take if they discovered a colleague was abusing drugs and alcohol on the job."
Similarly, Dr. More sparked debates about sensitive ethical issues facing clinical trial investigators when he
showed his MS in Clinical Research students Wit, a movie about a late-stage cancer victim whose doctors kept her
enrolled in a drug study even as she appeared to be dying from the effects of the medication. The screening was
followed by intense discussion about how clinical trials are portrayed to potential subjects, as well as the
question of when and how to remove a dying subject from a trial.
Whether using traditional or unconventional teaching approaches, Dr. More strives to keep his presentations
relevant. Instead of lecturing second-year dental students about the implications of over-billing and fraud, he
invites local practitioners, recruited from the New York Academy of Dentistry, to present hypothetical case studies
relating to professional conduct. "My whole emphasis is not on which way is right or wrong," he explains, "but on
getting students to reflect on a dilemma, analyze how others have dealt with it, and consider a course of action.
Ultimately, each individual must make his or her own decisions."