UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tim Balliett has been named the first director of the Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose at Penn State. Balliett's appointment began July 12. The center, part of Penn State Student Affairs, offers programs and services designed to challenge students to reflect on questions of personal conscience and character, and equip students with the understanding, motivation and skills of responsible citizenship.
Since 2013, Balliett has been the University ethics officer in the Office of Ethics and Compliance. He will continue this role in parallel with his new role. This dual appointment will increase opportunities for students to strengthen the University’s ethics, values and culture, even as it invites them to explore related issues in their own lives, and encourages them toward more effective and purposeful citizenship.
“I’ve enjoyed collaborating with Student Affairs in strengthening ethical leadership and commitment to our institutional values among staff and students,” said Balliett. “Serving as director of the center creates a remarkable opportunity to build on that momentum. By helping students explore and develop their individual values that shape their consciences, we hope to prepare them to make a difference not just at Penn State, but in their communities as well-formed and engaged citizens.”
The Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose is designed to promote ethical leadership and civic learning among Penn State students through reflection, dialogue and action. Grounded in Penn State’s land-grant mission of preparing engaged citizens and enhancing the University’s general education learning objective of social responsibility and ethical reasoning, the center prepares students for lives of thoughtful and committed ethical leadership in advancement of the public good and a sustainable and successful democracy. Balliett will develop and expand the reach of the center’s activities, even as he continues to lead the University’s thinking and action on matters of institutional ethics.
“We cannot imagine a person more able than Tim to promote the important work Student Affairs hopes to achieve through the center,” said Damon Sims, vice president for Penn State Student Affairs. “A sustainable and successful democracy fundamentally requires morally discerning and engaged citizens. With the addition of Tim’s leadership, the center is well-positioned to advance these important ambitions among our students.”
In his role as ethics officer, Balliett works with administrators, faculty, staff and students to develop, implement and support programs and policies involving the University’s ethics, values and organizational culture. Balliett led the creation of the Penn State Values, the first University-wide values statement and program, and he is instrumental in coordinating, in partnership with the Ethics Research Center, the first comprehensive university ethics and compliance survey in the United States, the Penn State Values and Culture Survey.
Balliett also teaches educational psychology courses in the College of Education and researches the interplay between academic achievement motivation and institutional and personal values.
Balliett earned a bachelor of arts in psychology and social sciences with secondary education teaching certification at Gannon University in Erie. He also earned bachelor of sacred theology and master of divinity degrees at St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, as well as a master of science and a doctorate in educational psychology at Penn State.