Who Am I?: Identity and Moral Development

"Who Am I? Identity & Moral Development" is a psychology course that will focus on issues related to cognitive moral development, identity, discernment, meaning and purpose, which are fundamental to human existence. Through a series of debates on fundamental moral and ethical questions/issues and by engaging the writings of various psychologists, essayists, novelists, and philosophers, students will be challenged to examine their own assumptions and values and to understand and be able to articulate differing moral and ethical claims. The course will address issues such as the formation of identity and selfhood, the possibilities and burdens of making one’s own choices in life, finding meaning in a world which seems to promote isolation and anonymity, and discerning one’s vocation in life and what it means to be a “good person.”

The course aims to discuss conceptualizations of and approaches to identity and cognitive moral development; and further, the comprehension of related terminology, concepts, and theorists. The course aims to deepen your thinking around moral psychological theory and foster the development and articulation of your own perspective, values, and beliefs through reflection and classroom conversation. We'll also examine how cultural, societal, educational, and other factors impact identity and meaning. Through classroom debates and written work, you'll develop the ability to articulate clear, well-supported, and persuasive arguments, and use moral development theories and principles to analyze relevant social issues. Class discussion of readings (and other course activities, e.g., videos, movies, etc.), individual analytical-reflections, and group presentations will make up the bulk of the classroom work. Class discussion will focus on understanding the authors' purposes and intentions as well as how the readings are relevant to and enrich your understanding of your own search for meaning, purpose, and direction.

Course Schedule

Program Date: March 15 - April 24, 2021

Students will meet online Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00PM - 6:15PM (Eastern Standard Time). Class time will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Academic Director

Fr. Jim Lies

Fr. Jim Lies

Fr. Jim Lies, C.S.C., is Catholic priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and a member of the teaching faculty at Notre Dame. He serves as Senior Director for Academic Initiatives & Partnerships for the Notre Dame London Global Gateway in the UK, where Fr. Jim has lived since the Fall of 2017 (until his return to campus in March, 2020, with the onset of the pandemic). He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota; a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley; a Master's in counseling psychology from the University of Notre Dame; and a B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He was a tenured faculty member at the University of Portland, in Oregon, and at Stonehill College, near Boston, where he also served as the vice president for mission for five years, before moving to the Notre Dame London Global Gateway as the Director for Catholic Initiatives & Outreach.