Cultivating Virtue in the University

While moral formation has historically been one of the university’s central purposes, universities in the modern era have become shy of intentionally shaping the character of their students, even while they do it in practice. But recent scandals and ethical failures in government, politics, banking, business, journalism, and health care invite us to consider whether universities should recover an intentional focus on moral education and, if so, how they should cultivate virtue in an increasingly global, multicultural, and ideologically plural age.

These questions were the focus on the McDonald Centre's 2017 conference on 'Cultivating Virtue in the University,' which brought together distinguished scholars and practitioners to explore the role of character development in higher education. The interdisciplinary conference focused on what the disciplines of history, literature, philosophy, theology, and the social sciences could contribute to this important conversation. The conference concluded with a special presentation by the Oxford Character Project team on how we developed an innovative practical program to cultivate virtue among Oxford postgraduates.


  • How Might Universities Cultivate Leaders of Character?

  • How Might Universities Cultivate Leaders of Character? primary image Leadership

    How Might Universities Cultivate Leaders of Character?

    Jonathan Brant, 15th July 2017

    A full-length video of the panel discussion held at Rhodes House on 24th May 2017.

  • Presenting The Oxford Character Project primary image Academic Research

    Presenting The Oxford Character Project

    The Oxford Character Project, 14th July 2017

    A presentation of The Oxford Character Project at the 'Cultivating Virtue in the University' conference, May 2017

  • How Might Universities Cultivate Leaders of Character?  primary image

    How Might Universities Cultivate Leaders of Character?

    The Oxford Character Project, 8th November 2017

    A four minute highlight video of the panel discussion held at Rhodes House on 24th May 2017.