ISU to host first conference on ethics and corporate responsibility

February 17, 2006

These days, stories about unethical business practices flood newspapers and television stations across America and overseas. The lack of ethics in the workplace and in everyday life has seemed to reach an all-time high, and Indiana State University's top scholars are poised to do something about it.

Since September, junior President's, Networks and Gongaware Scholars have been hard at work planning ISU's first free conference on "Ethics and Corporate Responsibility," which is set to take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 27 in Indiana State's Hulman Memorial Student Union. Conference planning and logistics are part of the scholars' junior year objectives - to enhance both experiential learning opportunities and leadership skills.

"The problem that was placed in front of them was immense, and at first I think they wondered if they were going to be able to do it," said Art Sherwood, assistant professor of management and a member of the College of Business' leadership development team. "But, in the end, they will have accomplished something beyond everyone's expectations. I've never seen anything completely student driven that's of this magnitude."

Organizers are hoping for more than 300 participants for this first-ever event, and they've pulled out all the stops when brainstorming topics and recruiting speakers and panelists for the various sessions.

Conference break-out sessions will feature expert speakers and industry panelists addressing topical ethical issues facing today's business world. For instance, sessions will focus on hot topics such as "Ethics of Genetic Testing," "Sarbanes Oxley," "The Employment of Illegal Immigrants," "Martha Stewart: What Went Wrong?" "Personal Piracy (i.e. music downloads)," and "Truth in Advertising," to name a few.

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Christopher Bauer of Bauer Coaching and Bauer Ethics Seminars. A clinical psychologist, seminar leader, consultant and ethics expert, Bauer helps individuals and companies make more ethically informed decisions while maximizing their bottom line. He teaches them how to take responsibility - how to ?walk the walk and talk the talk' of ethical behavior.

Why all this talk about ethics? How did ethics become the focus of this first conference?

Based on results from a survey last year of employers in the banking, insurance and securities industry, ISU's Networks Financial Institute (NFI) learned that ethics is considered one of the top skills that new college hires should possess. While employers deemed it important for new hires to have a solid education based on traditional curriculum, there was an intense and emerging interest in "soft skills," particularly in the areas of business ethics and financial services-specific coursework.

"In the College of Business our focus isn't necessarily on ethics in all of our classes, so we hope this will enrich the learning experiences for students in the college and across campus," said Networks Scholar Ashley Cameron of Rushville, a junior finance major, with a minor in insurance and risk management. Cameron and fellow Networks Scholar Danielle Thompson are co-chairs of the conference planning committee.

According to Thompson, a Terre Haute junior, planning the conference enables the students to make a solid connection between theory and practice and to tie the content to topics they discuss in the classroom day in and day out.

"All of our Networks seminars have been about ethics in business and in life, and once we knew we were planning this conference, we were able to tie all of that together," said Thompson, who's majoring in insurance and risk management as well as business administration. "This conference covers all areas within the College of Business, so we can learn more about other areas. For instance, there's a session on ethics in genetic testing, and that's something I am studying in my health insurance class right now."

"Whether they know it yet or not, they are becoming more savvy at ethics and the topic of ethical dilemmas," Sherwood said. "How do you make good, solid ethical decisions? I think they know now that it's not as easy and black and white, right or wrong." For more information about the conference, visit ISU's Networks Financial Institute Web site at www.networksfinancialinstitute.org. To register for the conference, go to http://webforms.indstate.edu/index.asp?sec=1073

Ethics & Corporate Responsibility Conference Agenda:

9-9:50 a.m. - Registration and welcome
10-10:50 a.m. - Break-Out Session I:

"Handling an Ethical Crisis" by William J. Wilhelm, assistant professor and business education, information and technology program coordinator for Indiana State University's College of Business (specializations include business education and business ethics)

"Corporate Social Responsibility" by Jeff Taylor, president, Pearson, Inc.

"Sarbanes Oxley" by Larry S. Boulet, chair of the board of directors of the Indiana State University Foundation, on board of directors for Century Reality Trust

11-11:50 a.m. - Conference Topics:

Accounting: Taxes - where do you draw the line between aggressive and fraudulent? >br> Finance: Martha Stewart - What went wrong and how it affected her Insurance and Risk Management: Ethics of Genetic Testing
Management and Human Resources: The Employment of Illegal Immigrants
Management Information Systems: Personal Piracy - Example: Downloading Music
Marketing: Truth in Advertising - Lies or Advertising?
Operations Management & Analysis (OMA): The "Robotization" of the Workforce

Noon-12:50 p.m. - Lunch and Keynote Speaker:

Christopher Bauer of Bauer Coaching & Bauer Ethics Seminars As a clinical psychologist with more than 25 years of clinical and consulting experience, Bauer brings a unique perspective to ethics training and consulting. He really knows what makes people tick. He has seen how individuals can learn to manage matters of ethics more effectively -- and manage in general.

1-1:50 p.m. - Conference Topics:

Accounting: Detecting Fraud
Finance: Stock Options and Executive Compensation
Insurance and Risk Management: Compensation for Brokers
Management and Human Resources: International Outsourcing
Management Information Systems: Privacy and Security - Spying on employees via phone conversation, email and more
Marketing: Truth in Sales - Pharmaceutical Sales Operations Management & Analysis (OMA): Unions

2-2:50 p.m. - Break-Out Session II:

"Servant and Ethical Leadership" by Josh Phillips, store manager, Starbucks Whistle blowing (TBD)
"Ethics Across the Borders" by Arthur L. Sherwood, assistant professor of management, Indiana State University College of Business; senior fellow of leadership development for Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University.

Contact: Art Sherwood, assistant professor of management and a member of the College of Business' leadership development team, (812) 237-2094 or mfarthur@isugw.indstate.edu; or Danielle Thompson, junior Networks Scholar, dthompson12@indstate.edu

Writer and media contact: Maria Greninger, associate director, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, (812) 237-4357 or m-greninger@indstate.edu