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Nomikos wins UB Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award

Published March 22, 2017

The Department of Philosophy is pelased to announce Ariane Nomikos has been selected as an award winner through 2017's Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Awards competition. The university community will honor Nomikos and her fellow award recipients at UB's 13th Annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence ceremony on Thursday, April 20, and at the Excellence in Teaching awards luncheon on Friday, April 21.

Ariane Nomikos

Rigorous nomination and review process

According to Graham L. Hammill, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School, Nomikos' selection "culminated a rigorous nomination and review process, and the resulting award is designed to publicly recognize exceptional skill and dedication as a teacher."

In Fall 2016, Nomikos taught PHI 237 Medical Ethics: Social & Ethical Values in Medicine. The description reads: "In this course we will consider a variety of ethical questions that arise in the biomedical field, and we will survey various attempts to answer these questions through the lens of different ethical theories (e.g. deontology, utilitarianism).  Questions to be addressed include: Is it immoral to genetically engineer humans? How should we adjudicate the conflict between one’s right to control one’s body and duties to save another’s life? Is screening for disability immoral?  Is cloning morally permissible?  Is there a difference between killing and letting die?  Is there a difference between refusing treatment and suicide?  How should we distribute limited healthcare resources?  What constitutes an appropriate relationship between medical professional and patient?"

In Spring 2017, for PHI 234 Environmental Ethics, her course description reads:  "Consider the following situation: You are the last human being, and you shall soon die. When you are gone, the only life remaining will be plants, microbes, and invertebrates. For some reason, the following thought runs through your head: Before I die, it sure would be fun to destroy the last redwood.  What, if anything, would be wrong with destroying that last remaining redwood?

Perhaps the most fundamental question in environmental ethics concerns our attitude towards nature. Thus, in the first part of this course, we ask: what really matters? Do beings without experiences, such as redwoods, have moral standing?  In other words, are trees the sort of things to which we can have obligations? Are ecosystems?  And how about nonhuman animals?  Does the ability to suffer imply that an organism should be treated with respect, or is something more required, like the capacity for self-conscious moral agency?  In the second part of this course, we will ask: what really works? That is, how can we apply our answers to the previous questions to concrete problems like overpopulation and climate change?"

Nomikos earned her B.A. at Fordham University. Her current interests include Aesthetics, Environmental Philosophy, and Climate Ethics.