Skip to main content

Research Repository

See what's under the surface

Cultivating virtue in postgraduates: An empirical study of the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative

Brant, Jonathan; Lamb, Michael; Burdett, Emily; Brooks, Edward


Jonathan Brant

Michael Lamb

Emily Burdett

Edward Brooks


Although virtue ethics has emerged as an influential ethical theory within the academy, universities have not generally taken up the practical task of virtue cultivation. Some academics even resist the effort altogether. In response, this article presents an early-stage evaluation of one effort to cultivate virtue in postgraduate students, a theoretically derived and empirically measured character development programme at the University of Oxford. The study uses a pre- and post-test experimental design to assess whether participation results in measurable growth of four character virtues. Quantitative data offer evidence for modest improvement with respect to two of the four focal virtues measured, while qualitative data suggest that future iterations should ensure that participants are given both reflective, conceptual tools and practical, everyday tasks to cultivate virtue. The article provides both empirical support and future directions for ongoing research and programme development for cultivating virtue in the university.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 13, 2019
Journal Journal of Moral Education
Print ISSN 0305-7240
Electronic ISSN 1465-3877
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Brant, J., Lamb, M., Burdett, E., & Brooks, E. (2019). Cultivating virtue in postgraduates: An empirical study of the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative. Journal of Moral Education,
Keywords Character; Virtue; University; Higher education; Postgraduates; Measurement
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Moral Education on 13.11.2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline....0/03057240.2019.1682977