The 2015 Jesse Fine Fellows

The Poynter Center is pleased to announce four recipients of the Jesse Fine Fellowship* for academic year 2015-2016. The Jesse Fine Fellowship supports the development or substantive revision of courses that address ethics in any field or discipline at IU.

The Fellowhip is a cash award in two installments. It is made possible by the generous donation of Dorothy Fine in order to support a flourishing of ethics across the curriculum. Applications for 2016 will be accepted starting during the Fall semester of 2015, with details posted at this page. For more information or to sign up for notification when applications open, please contact

Emmalon_Jesse_Fine_Photo.jpgEmmalon Davis, Department of Philosophy

"Practical Ethics and the Ethics of Community"

Davis, a PhD student, will revise the department's Introductory Ethics course to incorporate practical ethics more centrally into the course themes. The course is aimed to raise consciousness about systematic injustice that is created not by individuals acting alone but instead by groups, institutions, and other structural entities. Questions explored throughout the course include the following: What is the scope of the moral community? How do institutional vices contribute to systemic harms? What role should individuals play in alleviating social injustice? The course is designed to help students develop their analytic thinking, speaking, and writing skills while exposing them to a wide variety of ethical issues and major philosophical texts.  Students will explore issues surrounding economic injustice and wealth inequality, extreme poverty and homelessness, factory farming and animal rights, racial injustice and systemic racism, sex discrimination, and LGBTQ justice and marriage equality.  Scholarly texts will be enhanced through opportunities for practical application. To this end, the course implements a service-learning component—students become familiar with (and are encouraged to participate in) local organizations offering programs and services to community members in need.


faculty_dGreiner.jpgRae Greiner, Department of English

"The Ethics of Intelligence"

Greiner, an Associate Professor, will revise existing courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels for greater emphasis on philosophical and scientific approaches to intelligence, in particular to changing rubrics for evaluating intelligence in the long shadow of the Age of Reason, culminating in the rise of eugenics. Because at this time ethical objectives were routinely (if uneasily) bound together with scientific, empirical, and literary aims in works seeking to explain how humans know what they know, and how our ways of knowing might be curtailed or improved, the materials used in these courses will be interdisciplinary, combining moral philosophy, scientific discourse, literary history, and aesthetic theory.

Kutnicki_narrow.pngSaul Kutnicki, School of Media

“Ethics in Ruins: Image Cultures and Abandoned Histories in the American Mediascape”

Kutnicki, a PhD student in Communication and Culture, will develop a new course that will address the need for innovative curriculum as the Deparment of Communication and Culture is incorporated into the Media School. This undergraduate course will highlight ethical dimensions of visual communication studies, media assemblage practices, and documentary reporting that compliment a close and prolonged study of “ruins” and abandoned spaces represented in American media, thus helping students to develop skills in media literacy as well as cultural criticism.


moyd_lg.jpgMichelle Moyd, Department of History

"The Ethics of Helping Others: Humanitarianism in Modern History"

Moyd, an associate professor, will develop a new course in the History curriculum that addresses two objectives. First, it will survey the history of humanitarianism, using specific examples to illustrate how different historical contexts produced different responses to the question of how to help people recover from natural disasters, epidemics, famine, drought, enslavement/trafficking, and warfare. Second, students in the course will participate in activities designed to guide them in thinking through the complexities of humanitarian action, with a central emphasis placed on questions of ethical behavior, whether individual or institutional.


About Jesse Fine


Jesse David Fine was born July 20, 1907 in Evansville, Indiana. Fine graduated from Central High School in Evansville and attended Evansville College (now University of Evansville) from 1923-25. He received an AB degree from Indiana University in 1928 and received his law degree in 1930 from the Indiana University School of Law.

Fine practiced law in Evansville from 1930 to 1936. Fine and his two brothers owned Premier Theaters in Evansville, which at one time included nine theaters. By the late 1950s and early 1960s the brothers had sold or closed a number of the theaters, selling the last theaters around 1966.

In 1953 the Fine brothers started WFIE television station in Evansville. They sold the station in 1956. They opened and later sold other stations in St. Joseph and Jefferson City, Missouri.

Fine married Dorothy Seegal in 1958 in Sarasota, Florida. Dorothy and Jesse retired to Florida in 1966. Once he arrived, Fine partnered with two other broadcasters and established a new radio station in Ft. Lauderdale, which was later sold. Fine played golf and did community and charitable work. He wrote the IU Alumni Association in 1978 that he and Dorothy traveled “quite a bit.”

Fine died Nov. 11, 1985 in Hollywood, Florida. Once Dorothy Fine became involved with Indiana University, she wanted to create a fellowship in practical and professional ethics in her husband’s name. She died in 2010. This fellowship is the result of her generosity.

* This Fellowship was purposed to support the development of top-quality ethics instruction at all levels. To honor this donor intent, applications are accepted from all persons who teach courses at IU. In keeping with current IU policy, faculty recipients are awarded Fellowship funds, while graduate student recipients are awarded RA positions purposed to develop their course.