BE/PH 475X Topics in Bioethics

BE/PH 475X Topics in Bioethics
Course Syllabus – Spring 2024
Location: Remote Synchronous
Time: Selected Thursdays (Jan 25, Feb 8, Mar
14, Apr 25), 7pm – 9:30pm
Credit hours: 3
Professor: Dr. Michael J. Sleasman
Virtual Office Hours: To sign up for an appointment, go to If none of my offered
times fits your schedule, please email me and suggest at least two alternative times to meet, and I will get back
to you.

Important Course Dates
• The last day to drop a semester-long class without record is January 25, 2024.
• The last day to drop a semester-long class with a “W” is March 29, 2024.
Course Description
The Bioethics Colloquium meets periodically during the term, with a professor of record and presentations by
the professor, guest lecturers, and students. Parts of the first three colloquia are open to the university and
surrounding communities.
Course Learning Objectives: At the completion of this course, the student will have completed assignments
that measure the ability to:
1. Identify the bioethical and biblical/theological expertise of selected leaders in bioethics who can serve
as resources on bioethical issues.
2. Gain theological insights on a number of bioethical topics
3. Formulate a theological position on a bioethical topic.
Required Reading
• C. Ben Mitchell and D. Joy Riley, Christian Bioethics: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, and
Families. B&H Academic, 2014. (I recommend ordering the book from the publisher Broadman &
Holman for only $29.99 or through for $12.34 for the eBook unless you are able to
find an inexpensive used copy).
• Select readings posted in the online Canvas classroom.
And, Choose One of the Following:
• Best, Megan. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Ethics and the Beginning of Human Life. Matthias
Media, 2012.
• Foreman, Mark and Lindsay Leonard. Christianity and Modern Medicine: Foundations for Bioethics.
Kregel, 2022.
• George, Robert, and Christopher Tollefsen. Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, 2nd ed. Witherspoon
Institute, 2011.
• Meilaender, Gilbert. Bioethics and the Character of Human Life: Essays and Reflections. Cascade, 2020.
Additional Recommended Resources
• Lysaught, M. Therese, Joseph Kotva, Stephen Lammers, and Allen Verhey, eds. On Moral Medicine:
Theological Perspectives in Medical Ethics, 3rd ed. Eerdmans, 2012.
General Expectations
Students are expected to attend every class session and when relevant actively participate in discussion with
video enabled. Student participation in discussions through questions and comments is considered vital to the
goals of this course. Students are encouraged when possible to complete reading assignments prior to class in
order to be prepared for the material. Students will also be expected to turn in written assignments reflecting the
guidelines defined in this syllabus and set forth in class and by the assigned deadlines. Failure to turn
assignments in on-time will result in a grade reduction at the professor of record’s discretion. Given the course
emphasis on research and critical thinking as the basis for the development of ethical reasoning, generative AI
products, LLMs, or other AI software should not be used for the generation of course assignments, such usage
will result in referral to the Academic Dean’s office.
Academic Honesty
Trinity, the DOE, and I personally, expect honesty and integrity in all your work. The TIU catalog says,
“Plagiarism and cheating in any form will not be condoned within the Trinity community.” Trinity views all
academic dishonesty to be a serious academic infraction and a breaking of the Community Expectations. A
professor may give a failing grade for the specific assignment, or for the entire course in cases of cheating or
plagiarism. A student receiving a disciplinary failure in a course may not withdraw from the course.
PLAGIARISM is defined as using another person’s work or words as if they were one’s own without
identifying the source. Paraphrasing the written work of another author is a form of plagiarism and
should be scrupulously avoided. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in any form. This includes in written
papers, exams, or oral presentations.
CHEATING is defined as any form of fraud or deception that results in a better grade or even a better
impression of the student’s performance than he/she actually earns or deserves. Aiding or treating a
fellow student with either favoritism or unfairness by a student leader in the class is also considered to
be cheating. One or both parties may be held responsible. Cheating will not be tolerated in any form.
INCIDENTS OF PLAGIARISM OR CHEATING will be dealt with severely by the professor. All
incidents of plagiarism and cheating will be reported in writing to the Academic Dean, who has the
authority to take further disciplinary measures in accordance with TIU policy. Education majors are
reminded that two incidents of academic dishonesty will be grounds for dismissal from the Division of
Students with Disabilities
In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 (ADA), it is the policy of Trinity International University to provide appropriate and reasonable
accommodations and resources to students with a documented disability to help ensure an equal educational
opportunity. Students seeking reasonable accommodations should meet with Dr. Wright, Coordinator of
Student Accessibility Resources, at the earliest possible time. You can contact him at
Information is available at
Writing Resources
Effective communication (including writing, grammar, spelling, and paper formatting) will be a factor in how
papers are evaluated and graded. Students needing writing assistance should make use of the resources of the
Thrive Center. Additional writing resources are available for students including various style guides and paper
templates are available on
Learning Assignments
• Reading: All reading (unless otherwise noted) will be completed at a level of competency that will allow
the reader to critically interact with concepts (NOTE: this may require the reading of materials more than
once). Students must submit a reading report twice during the semester (February 23 and May 9) to
confirm the percentage of reading completed.
• Online Discussion Forum
Undergrad students are expected to participate in our Online Discussion Forum on the Canvas classroom
site, where they will contribute in additional reflection and discussion of the 3 Spring Bioethics Colloquium
sessions to foster additional application and discussion of course materials. Additionally, students will be
expected to respond to at least two other students posts from each of those three sessions. A total of 3 posts
and 6 response posts are expected by the end of the semester. Posts should be a minimum of at least 250
words in length identifying something from the respective Bioethics Colloquium session that stood out to
the student. Reflections should incorporate relevant considerations from the assigned readings and promote
additional analysis and discussion by the student. Response posts should be at last 100 words in length and
continue the conversation of the original post in a substantive way.
• Research Paper #1
Paper #1 should be 2,300-2,700 words in length (approximately 9-11 pages) that develops a biblicaltheological approach to the primary issue addressed in one chapter of the Mitchell & Riley text. 1) The first
third of the paper should introduce the topic from additional research in academic bioethics and Christian
ethics beyond the Mitchell & Riley text, noting critical issues, key concepts, historical developments of
significance, etc. 2) The second third of the paper should discuss Mitchell & Riley’s analysis of the topic,
including the strengths and weaknesses of their argument. 3) The remainder of the paper should draw upon
the analysis of Mitchell & Riley to sketch a robust Christian outlook on the issue that engages with other
Christian bioethics resources. Several additional academic bioethics and biblical-theological sources on the
topic should be used, at least four of which must be peer-reviewed journal articles or scholarly books in
academic and Christian bioethics other than the Bible or assigned readings.
Papers should be double spaced, 12 pt. font, 1” margins, and use footnotes or endnotes in a consistent style
(TIU style guide, Turabian, Chicago, or SBL are examples of acceptable formats). Cover page and
bibliography (works cited only) should not be included in the word count. Due on February 23.
• Research Paper #2
Paper #2 should be 2,300-2,700 words in length (approximately 9-11 pages, with the same formatting
guidelines as the first paper) that focuses on a primary issue addressed in a chapter of the Mitchell & Riley
text other than the chapter addressed in the first paper, using the same three-part structure as the first paper,
but developing a more developed Christian outlook on the issue. The Christian outlook should constitute
at least a third, but no more than half, of the paper. Papers should also incorporate relevant discussion
from whichever of the second assigned volumes has been selected. Several additional academic bioethics
and biblical-theological sources on the topic should be used, at least six of which must be peer-reviewed
journal articles or scholarly books in academic and Christian bioethics other than the Bible or assigned
readings. Please provide a cover page that is not included in the page count. Due on May 9.
• Paper #2 Presentation. This will be an overview of one’s paper-in-progress. During the final class session
on April 25, all students will be allocated a portion of the session to discuss their final paper. The first half
of the time should be devoted to sketching out the main points that the student is making in the first and last
sections of their paper. (In other words, the bioethical issue should be introduced in 2-3 minutes and then
the key biblical-theological concepts identified and unpacked.) The remainder of the time assigned to the
student will be devoted to class discussion. Time assignments will be determined once course enrollment
has been finalized.
Assessment & Final Course Grading
• Papers will be graded with respect to organization, quality of composition, depth of research,
demonstrated competency with respect to the issues at hand.
• Late papers or those in excess or deficient of the page length will be evaluated more strictly, out of fairness
to other students. Unexcused late papers will be assessed a penalty of up to ½ letter grade reduction if
submitted within two weeks of the due date.
Reading (self-report) 10%
Online Discussion Forums (x3) 15%
Paper #1 35%
Paper #2 35%
Paper Presentation 5%
Grade scale: 98 or above = A+ 88 = B+ 78 = C+ 68 = D+
93 = A 83 = B 73 = C 63 = D
90 = A- 80 = B- 70 = C- 60 = DCourse Calendar
Class date Session Topic Assignment(s) due for class meeting
January 25 Course Introduction and Lecture
Guest Presenter: Theo Boer, PhD
Topic: “How Assisted Dying Creates New
Realities: Looking back on 40 Years of
Euthanasia Experience”
Text: Mitchell & Riley (1-2
Canvas Readings: Session 1 Folder of
Assignment: None
February 2 No Class Session Assignment: 1
st Online Discussion
Post & Responses Due
February 8 Presenter: Adeline Allen, JD
Topic: “This Incarnational Life: Surrogacy
and Christian Anthropology”
Texts: Mitchell & Riley (3-6)
Canvas Readings: Session 2 Folder of
Assignment: Statement of issues
selected for papers.
February 16 No Class Session Assignment: 2
nd Online Discussion
Post & Responses Due
February 23 No Class Session Assignment: Reading Report #1,
Paper #1
March 14 Presenter: Lauris Kaldjian, MD, PhD
Topic: “The Problem of Brain Death and
the Meaning of Persons”
Texts: Best, Foreman & Leonard,
George & Tollefsen, or
Meilaender Book Choice
Canvas Readings: Session 3 Folder of
Assignment: None
March 22 No Class Session Assignment: 3
rd Online Discussion
Post & Responses Due
April 25 Selected Issues in Bioethics
Presenters: All students taking the course
for credit
Texts: Mitchell & Riley (6-8, and
Canvas Readings: Select Readings
from On Moral Medicine
Assignment: Paper Presentations
May 9 No Class Session Texts: None
Canvas Readings: None
Assignment: Reading Report #2,
Paper #2