William R. and Betsy P. Leitch Ethics Seminars

Our two ethics seminars meet each spring semester. Please consider enrolling and reach out to Nicholas at ncollura@mit.edu if you would like to learn more or discuss your interest in a course. 

Being, Thinking, Doing (Or Not!): Ethics in Your Life (Course 24.191, in cooperation with the MIT Philosophy Department)

Tuesdays, 7pm-8:30pm (includes free dinner)

The aim of this seminar is to prompt you to reflect on your own ethical commitments. Through consideration of various ethical case studies and topics, special attention will be given to our own ethical formation: how do we attune to our own deepest values? What inhibits us from speaking out when ethical leadership is necessary? How do we discern when further contemplation is necessary and how do we relate to those who disagree with us? How does our own personality help us and limit us as ethical leaders?

This 6-credit, pass/fail seminar is a place to build relationships, share resources, and explore tools and frameworks for discerning responses to ethical problems. Many meetings will be led by guest speakers and MIT faculty, with topics that may include anger and forgiveness, communication in relationships, funding issues in research, and the civic role of the scientist/technologist. Reading is minimal and writing assignments consist of weekly one-page reflection exercises.

Our Spring 2024 seminar is  co-hosted by Eliot Watkins (Postdoctoral Associate in Philosophy) and Nicholas Collura (Director of Radius). 

Some comments from student, Spring 2021:
I really enjoyed this class and appreciated having a kind of a "breath of fresh air" course where we could discuss interesting questions that we were interested in. 

Awesome and relevant material!

We were always encouraged to place topics under scutiny, making for a more productive class. 

I loved the guest speakers!


Community, Ethics, and Leadership, ES.S90

Fridays, 10-11:30am, all classes virtual

Our partners:  MIT's Educational Justice Initiative and the Maine Correctional Women's Center

Led by Thea Keith-Lucas (Chaplain to the Institute, MIT)

How do communities work together to create change? In this course, we will draw on philosophy, economics, psychology and other social sciences to understand the written and unwritten rules that shape our communities. Topics include shared resources, community organizing, charity, reform, and mutual aid. We will also explore the skills that leaders need to find creative, collective solutions. Taught by Thea Keith-Lucas (theakl@mit.edu) in partnership with The Educational Justice Institute (https://www.teji.mit.edu/) MIT students will learn alongside incarcerated students from the Maine Correctional Women's Center. This course is taught on Zoom.

What students say about our ethics seminars:

  • “This class provided me with a foundation and vocabulary to be able to articulate my thoughts.”
  • “I really value that I got to talk with other students—especially those who didn’t think the same way I do. It was helpful to find common ground.”
  • “When I would hear other students’ thoughts, it would shake me up.”
  • “This class gave me the opportunity to study ethics in an applied way using solid information—great combination of facts and ethics!”
  • “I loved the different voices and opinions.”
  • “Now I have to figure out how to sustain my awareness and commit to change.”


It is a great honor for us that Bill Leitch '56 has agreed to a new name for Radius’s course offerings, which will now be known as the William R. and Betsy P. Leitch Ethics Seminars. Future students will receive a clear message that this MIT alum is watching out for them and championing their ethical growth. We know Bill will be as much of an inspiration to them as he has been to all of us.