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Parr Center Ethics Scholar Program

The Parr Center Ethics Scholar program, launched in 2020, is a selective co-curricular program for which students are chosen based on a written application and a personal interview with Parr Center staff. Criteria for selection are the student’s interest in deepening their ethical competencies through co-curricular enhancement and their potential contribution to team-based and project-based moral learning. Students who participate in the program invest significant time and effort in ethical reflection, leadership, and skills development over two years. In recognition of their special concentration on ethics, students who complete the program are recognized as Parr Center Ethics Scholars by an official designation on their University transcript. The creation of this program was made possible by a generous donation from the Center’s founding donor, Gary Parr, whose support we gratefully acknowledge.




The more intensive Parr Center Ethics Scholar program requires about 80-85 hours of co-curricular ethics activities for each of two years. In addition to participating in all of the activities of the core Parr Heel community, each Ethics Scholar will also complete the requirements detailed below:

Two Years as a Parr Center Fellow

Ethics Scholars are required to spend two years as a Parr Center Fellow. Fellows pursue student-led, year-long team projects in ethics, forming each fall into small teams known as pods. Each pod is led by one or two student executives and supported by Parr Center staff advisors, who provide guidance, direction, and insight regularly. Fellows spend 2 – 2.5 total hours per week on their project and meet weekly with their group to discuss project progress and direction. Fellows complete a short reporting form each week to document completion of their project work.

As Fellows, Parr Center Ethics Scholars will spend about 85 hours per year, 170 hours in total, on these co-curricular activities at the Parr Center. 

2023-2024 Parr Center Fellow Projects

Project Description
Bioethics Society of UNC This team will promote and lead our university-wide, student-led organization. Learn more here.
Chapel Phil Podcast Chapel Phil will brainstorm, research, record, and release ethics-related podcast episodes. Learn more here.
Ethics Ed This group will assist Outreach Director Michael Vazquez with initiatives and programs throughout the year, including managing a study to measure the impact of participation in the National High School Ethics Bowl. Learn more about Michael’s work here.
Ethics from My Seat EMS will engage in outreach and community building through ethically driven discussions and social events.
Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl IEB will lead UNC’S IEB team. Note: UNC’s IEB team will be open to all students. Learn more here.
National High School Ethics Bowl This team will assist the NHSEB Director with initiatives and programs. Learn more here.
Parr Heel Blog The blog team will discuss, pitch, write, and edit content for the Parr Center’s blog. Learn more here.


At Least Two Academic Courses in Ethics

Scholars are required to take a minimum of two academic courses in ethics during their time at UNC. The first class can be any of the courses on a master list compiled by the Parr Center (see below). The second class serves as a capstone course in ethics and can take the form of either mentored research or mentored experiential learning.


One course drawn from the below list of courses from across UNC which foster student reflection on ethics and ethical problems.

List of UNC Courses in Ethics

One capstone course in ethics, for which Scholars may choose between mentored experiential learning and mentored research. These experiences serve to deepen and put into practice student knowledge of ethics and ethical problems.

Mentored Experiential Learning

Scholars who elect the mentored experiential learning route are invited to register in either PHIL 292, Fieldwork in Philosophy: Introducing Philosophy in Primary and Secondary Schools, or PHIL 294, Intergenerational Philosophy, both of which are led by members of the Parr Center academic staff.

Mentored Research

PHIL 392, Ethics Research Seminar for Undergraduates, is a capstone course in ethics specifically designed for Parr Center Ethics Scholars who wish to complete a capstone research project of their own devising. This seminar, taught by Michael Vazquez in fall 2023, will provide a collaborative learning space that will facilitate each student’s independent research and writing. It will begin with a survey of major themes in philosophical and practical ethics before transitioning to a thematically focused study of topics based on the research interests and projects of the students enrolled in the course. This course is recommended for juniors and seniors and may not be offered every year.

Skills Training Course

Scholars are required to complete at least one relevant skills training course offered by another campus unit. Below is the current listing of approved skills training courses. Approved skills training courses help Scholars learn to include and lead others in ethical pursuits.

Training CourseCreated By...
Green ZoneCarolina Veterans Resource Center
HAVENCarolina Women's Center
Mental Health First Aid Training UNC School of Social Work
Safe Zone LGBTQ Center
Undocu Carolina Ally TrainingLATINX Center

Final Reflection

All Parr Heels submit a log of their experiences and activities as a Parr Heel at the end of every semester. For Scholars, Parr Center staff will review the cumulative records before graduation to ensure completion of all program requirements.

In addition, Scholars in their last semester of participation will submit a 750-1000 word essay articulating how participation in the Parr Center Ethics Scholar Program has enhanced their ethical reflection, leadership, and practice. Parr Center staff will provide individualized feedback on these essays to help Scholars make meaning from their experiences in the program.

Two Fellows smile, standing next to their organized and informative academic poster. They are at the End of the Year Poster Show and Celebration.

This application is now closed.

Questions? Email our Director of Undergraduate Programming.