History

The York Collegium for Public Ethics

Founded as the York Centre for Practical Ethics in 1994, the YCPE later evolved into the York Collegium for Practical Ethics in 2013. Beginning in January 2022, the YCPE became known as the York Collegium for Public Ethics. The new YCPE will officially re-launch in Fall 2022.

The York Centre for Practical Ethics was founded by Professor Donald McNiven of the Department of Philosophy, in what was then the Faculty of Arts. Professor McNiven was a leading figure in establishing the field of "practical ethics" in Canada, alongside philosophers in the U.S. like Dennis Thompson, who were promoting the new approach. Practical ethics has three components: it is multidisciplinary, it is focused on institutions, and overlaps with the study of politics and public policy. See "What is Practical Ethics" by Dennis Thompson.

Professor Donald McNiven was succeeded as Director by Professor David Shugarman, and then by Professor Ian Greene. It was Professor Greene who oversaw the Centre's transition into the York Collegium for Practical Ethics.  The change in name was necessary due to budget cuts that forced York University's organized research units (ORUs) to focus greater effort on obtaining large research grants to sustain their operations. The YCPE at that time was singularly focused on building community by bringing together scholars from across disciplines to advance the understanding and advancement of practical ethics, primarily by hosting seminars and symposia.