C. Judson King Becomes First Speaker to Deliver Two ChBE Named Lecture

Josie Giles
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
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C. Judson King Becomes First Speaker to Deliver Two ChBE Named L

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C. Judson King, a 45-year veteran of the University of California system, became the first individual to deliver both of ChBE's named lectures. In 1989, he was the fifth Ashton Cary Lecturer and last fall, he gave the tenth ConocoPhillips/C.J. "Pete" Silas Lecture in Ethics and Leadership.

C. Judson King, a 45-year veteran of the University of California system, became the first individual to deliver both of ChBE's named lectures. In 1989, he was the fifth Ashton Cary Lecturer and last fall, he gave the tenth ConocoPhillips/C.J. "Pete" Silas Lecture in Ethics and Leadership. This honor is not surprising given the diverse roles in which he has excelled throughout his academic career. Dr. King officially stepped down from his eight-year position as provost and senior vice president of academic affairs of the University of California system in 2003, but has remained on the Berkeley campus as the director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education. Since joining the University of California in 1963, Dr. King has served in a variety of academic and administrative posts, including as system-wide vice provost for research. At Berkeley, he has served as provost of professional schools and colleges, dean of the College of Chemistry, and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering.

In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. King is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has chaired a number of activities of the Academy and the National Research Council, and has been closely involved with the California Council on Science and Technology. He was a co-founder and subsequently chair of the Council for Chemical Research. He has received awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Engineering Education, the Council for Chemical Research, and the Yale Science and Engineering Associ-ation. Dr. King has published more than 240 papers with colleagues and wrote the textbook Separation Processes, which was widely used through two editions.

Dr. King's successes in chemical engineering and in academia are rivaled by very few, making him a natural choice to speak on the ethical challenges facing research universities today. He began his lecture, entitled "Ethics and Leader-ship: Reflections from a Public Research University," by commenting that the broad subject of ethics and leadership is one that those who work in science and engineering must pay particular attention, especially those who work at a public research institution. He then narrowed the topic into five major categories of ethical consideration: selection of research topics, handling of ethically sensitive material, relationships with industry and donors, and the less expected topics of admissions procedures and the content of education itself.

The drive towards accountability is very important, Dr. King said, and as the climate of ethical concerns changes, research institutions must adapt and change with them. He said that public interest combined with the financial support of both individuals and industries places universities in a position where they must balance issues such as academic freedom, research topics, and admissions criteria. Citing an issue that arose in California, Dr. King illustrated how public opinion can impact research funding. Once the tobacco industry came under attack after the revelation that they had full knowledge of the addictive and damaging effects of smoking, about 15 different University of California professors were pressured to relinquish their funding from the tobacco industry. People believed the tobacco giants could not be trusted to use the results of the research in an ethical manner. Essentially, because they had been deceptive in the past, they lost credibility in the public eye. Now that universities commonly partner with industries to fund and advance research, engineers and scientists must consider not only their own ethical decisions in the lab but also the ethical choices of those who fund their research.

"Academic research needs to be cross-fertilized with industry," Dr. King said. "It helps make things move along more efficiently and more economically." He believes that ethical issues may be controlled through practical policies such as technology licensing, publication policies, facility usage, and handling research misconduct. Scientists must also consider the potential restrictions that may be placed on their research when securing private and federal funding. They must be mindful that when working with industry partners, public access may be restricted due to confidentiality requirements, damaging results may not be publicized, and ownership of patents may not belong to the research investigator.

When federal programs fund research, the influence on the nature and scope of the project often increases because scientists must draft proposals on topics that have a better chance for approval.

When dealing with an ethical question, whether it is a sensitive topic such as stem cell research, selection of curriculum content, or industry relations, scientists must put themselves apart from the controversy at hand. Dr. King said that it is "useful and perhaps necessary when dealing with these issues that you have to be able to explain to all sides that you are looking at it seriously, that you do not have a predetermined position, and that you are simply looking for the best outcome and taking all views into account."

Dr. King concluded his lecture by emphasizing that maintaining strict ethical standards is an integral part of what engineers must do in the laboratory, in the classroom, and in the workplace.

The ConocoPhillips/C.J. "Pete" Silas Program in Ethics and Leadership was established to incorporate principles of ethics into the ChBE curriculum and to bring a lecturer to campus each year to speak on practical methods of applying these complex ethical principles in the current scientific community. Dr. King believes that engineers have an advantage when faced with ethical dilemmas. He said, "engineering tends to be solution oriented, and the tools of engineering thinking are useful because of the tendency to be able to structure a very complex situation and derive the essentials back out of it."

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School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Institute and Campus, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Special Events and Guest Speakers, Research
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C. Judson King, chemical engineering, conocophillips c.j. pete silas lecture in ethics and leadership, Jud King, special lectures
  • Created By: Josie Giles
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jul 15, 2008 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:06pm