Britain gets its first 'Professor of Morality'

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The University of Birmingham has appointed Professor Randall Curren as Britain’s first ‘Professor of Morality’.

The post is the first of its kind in the UK and comes with the full title ‘Professor of Moral and Virtue Education’. It has been assigned to the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values, established in May 2012 in the wake of the 2011 London riots.

The Centre aims to contribute to the ‘renewal of character and values’ in Britain through research and development activities.

Professor Curren said: "The Jubilee Centre is rapidly establishing itself as a leading centre for the study of character and related issues in philosophy of education."

"Joining the Centre and School of Education offers exciting possibilities for collaborations productive for both fundamental research and service to the global community through the advancement of sound education."

Projects at the Centre cover a range of different aspects of British society: from character education in schools, to examining the values that motivate professionals such as teachers, lawyers and doctors. The newly created post was announced just a week after acclaimed biographer of recent Prime Ministers Dr Anthony Seldon called for schools across the UK to offer compulsory qualifications in good manners and behaviour.

Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre and Head of the School of Education, said: "This is a very significant appointment. The Royal Institute of Philosophy has never supported such a Chair before, and we are delighted to be able to offer this post in the School of Education."

"It is a very proud moment for the School and for the Jubilee Centre. We are delighted to appoint someone of the stature and standing of Professor Curren to this position. He will bring a wealth of experience to the Jubilee Centre, and help us in producing first class research."

The Professor of Moral and Virtue Education role is a joint appointment with the Royal Institute of Philosophy; the first of its type that the Royal Institute has established in the UK. Chairman Professor John Haldane said he has ‘high hopes’ for what the new post can achieve.

Professor Curren, who currently holds a Chair in Philosophy and a secondary Chair in Education at the University of Rochester, will begin his new post in summer at the end of the academic year.