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Virtues / Physical & Biological Sciences

Rafael Vicuña

(Formerly) Full Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, CHILE


Excessive concern of professors for promptly moving forward in their academic careers and for obtaining funds for research are currently damaging the very essence of the university. Indeed, nowadays professors have less time to interact in fruitful discussions, show little willingness to collaborate in tasks for the common good and, what is more worrying, dedicate less time to the personalized attention to students, especially those at the undergraduate level. Consequently, institutions that are highly prestigious may not necessarily be delivering formative education according to the standards they exhibit. The latter represents a problem of profound ethical connotations, which calls for the cultivation of virtues and a culture of virtues such as generosity (i.e., to devote more time to personal conversations with students or to show disposition to undertake academic management responsibilities), justice (i.e., to give faculty members and students the dedication they require for their own flourishing) and courage (i.e., to consciously give up personal rewards for the benefit of others).