Kathi Badertscher

Director of Graduate Programs, Lecturer of Philanthropic Studies

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy  

Course: Philanthropy Ethics, East & West

In the fall semester of 2017, Dr. Kathi Badertscher and Professor Sherry Wang of Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU) in China, taught Philanthropy Ethics, East & West, a new graduate-level course which they co-created for both the Lilly School of Philanthropy and SYSU’s Institute of Philanthropy Ethics. This graduate-level course provides students with an introduction to comparative perspectives on philanthropy ethics, mainly between China and the United States.

Benefit to the Students

“Through my participation in the course, I was consistently challenged to reconcile the ethical perspectives I have known for years with fascinating, ancient Chinese teachings. The regular analysis and recognition of cultural differences and their impact on society not only enhanced my understanding of philanthropic traditions, both in the United States and abroad, but helped me better understand international politics, events, and collaboration. This course offered by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy sets students on the path to increased cultural competency.” 

-Erin Crowther, Student M.A. Philanthropic Studies, 2019

Students in the course at IUPUI and SYSU leave with an increased sense of empathy for others by being able to recognize universal, shared questions about helping one another. What’s more, students are able to articulate value systems in philanthropy more clearly in both conversation, independent writing assignments, and when engaging with others outside the classroom.

These outcomes are in line with the IUPUI’s International Learning Goals.

Benefit to the Faculty Member

Curriculum Internationalization at IUPUI

“I think we learn more about ourselves and our own culture when we look at another. We all take culture, habits, expressions, and value systems for granted because that is what we know. Just like traveling to another place, studying an aspect of another country illuminates both that country or region as well as your own. Everyone grows from that experience—faculty as much as students.”

- Dr. Kathi Badertscher

Although developing a new course proved challenging, Kathi described the process of collaborating with Professor Wang to create Philanthropy Ethics, East & West, as being “rewarding in every way”. Before each class, Kathi would often get to the room a bit early and find classroom full of students already discussing the readings and weekly topics. “It was sort of a ‘buzz’ in the room that made it clear that [the students] cared and were engaged with the course material,” Kathi mentioned.  At the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy we underscore that philanthropy is a universal human concept.  Students reinforced this notion powerfully.  At the end of the semester, every student said they expected to learn about their differences from their peers in China; instead they learned how much we are alike.  This recognition has informed my understanding of teaching the history of philanthropy and other ethics courses in our curriculum.