The McGowan Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility has a threefold purpose.
- Acting as a catalyst for the integration of ethical study and reflection within the academic and professional programs offered by the College, and drawing from the Catholic intellectual tradition, the Center seeks to enliven the College's intellectual life by advancing discussion of matters of ethics and social justice through lectures, conferences, seminars, reading groups, and faculty-supervised student research.
- Answering a pressing need in higher education, the Center seeks to foster discussion of the aims of ethics education at the college level, to identify best practices with respect to these aims, and to develop methods of assessing the achievement of these aims. — Initiatives in this regard include the forum "Ethics in Focus," published once per year in the journal Expositions: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (soon to be relaunched under the title Zeal: A Journal for the Liberal Arts), and participation in the Catholic Social Teaching Learning and Research Initiative.
- Extending its reach beyond King's and the academy, the Center seeks to serve the greater community as a resource in applied ethics through advising services, seminars, and workshops