The Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at University of California, Santa Barbara promotes discussion of how ethical teachings and values relate to civic life – at local, national, and global levels. It is committed to the fundamental belief that public dialogue and an informed and engaged citizenry are vital to democratic society. Non-partisan and non-sectarian, the Center seeks to strengthen and extend the principles on which such diverse, modern society rests, namely, tolerance and respect for the views of others, the practice of civility, and efforts at achieving the common good.
To advance its broad goals, the center sponsors a diverse set of programs and activities including:
Public lectures and conversations within the Santa Barbara community and at UCSB bringing well-known speakers on a range of topics each year;
Forum discussions within the community and at UCSB;
Internship programs that send students to University of California Centers in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, plus a service-learning program for interns in nonprofit organizations within Santa Barbara;
Ethics courses on Environmental, Medical, Diversity and Justice, and Enterprise and Leadership;
Graduatefellowships in support of student research on cultural literacy and related ethical themes;
Jointly with the Faith and Politics Institute in Washington, D.C., the annual Capps-Emerson Lecture for members of the United States Congress and the public;
To serve as a center where students, faculty, and visiting scholars can carry on conversations on a variety of ethical topics.