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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

  •  Business and Organizational Ethics Partnership Highlights

    Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 10:26 AM


    Pictured in photo are panelists from the ethics of working from home session: Kristin Major, Hewlett-Packard, Patty Woolcock, California Strategic Human Resrouce Partnership, Laura Maechtlen, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and Eric Severson, Gap, Inc.

    The Ethics Center presented its quarterly "Business and Organizational Ethics Partnership" (BOEP) Roundtable on Thursday, August 22, providing attendees with plenty of food for thought on prominent issues in business ethics.

    After greetings and introductions by Jim Balassone, the Center's Executive-in-Residence, the morning agenda included the following program highlights: thought-provoking ethical case studies, presented by Jim O'Toole, Senior Fellow in Business Ethics; "Multitasking: The Short and Long-term Effects on Ethics and Business," presented by Clifford Nass, Professor of Communications, Stanford University; and "Economic, Ethical, and Legal Attributes of Working from Home," presented by Kristin Major, VP and Deputy GC, Hewlett-Packard, Eric Severson, SVP, HR, The Gap, and Laura Macctlen,  Sayfarth Shaw, moderated by Patty Woolcock, Executive Director, CSHRP.  Afternoon sessions included "You Can Make Money Without Doing Evil," presented by Andy Hinton, Ethics and Compliance Officer, Google; and "Transforming an Organization's Ethical Culture," presented by Greg Coplans, EVP Corporate Affairs,
    Hitachi Data Systems.

    Takeaways and soundbytes from two of the sessions, the ethical effects on multitasking and working from home, respectively, include:

    *Today, the average college student uses 3 forms of media at once.
    *For the past 20 years, studies have shown that multitasking impedes performance. focus, memory,  problem-solving ability, and social interaction
    *The 20-minute rule - meaning focusing on one task for at least that time, can help control the task management challenge.
    *The Gap Inc. makes for an interesting case study in ROWE (results-oriented work environment), which showed increased productivity, communication, and quality of work, after implementation.
    *Some of the challenges involved with allowing employees to work at home or from other locations, include increased and more formalized communications on work-related issues, such as email response time and equipment needs,
    and trained and active managers who can effectily oversee these scenarios.
    *In the near future, working from home will become increasingly commonplace, particularly with the continuing evolution  and sophistication of technology and communications.


  •  Solar Decathlon Kick-Off Event Shines

    Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 3:09 PM

                                                   The Solar Decathlon Team is
                                                   Ready for the Competition!

    Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Environmental Ethics Fellows Melissa Giorgi (top) and Allie Sibole

    The Solar Decathlon "Send Off" event held on Monday, August 19, was a great success, as Santa Clara University students involved in the construction of "Radiant House" gave tours of their nearly completed net-zero home, to staff, colleagues, press, and fellow students. The project, part of the U.S. Dept. of Energy's national Solar Decathlon Competition, has become one of the hallmark's of Santa Clara University's sustainability programs, and participation in recent years has produced impressive results, including placements in the top winner's group. Unique features of this year's home include innovative uses of bamboo, and the first-time use of Sunplanter, which eliminates separate solar racking and roof structure systems by combining them into one innovative technology. In two weeks, the home will be broken down into three sections and transported to The Great Park in Irvine, Orange County, CA, for the final competition.

    Two Markkula Center Environmental Ethics Fellows, Allie Sibole and Melissa Giorgi, played important roles in the evolution of the Solar Decathlon project this year. Sibole wrote a report, "Material Evaluation Sheets: Ethical Considerations for Selecting Building Materials," which explores the ethical implications of various building materials. In "The Sun and the City: Making Solar Power More Accessible," Melissa Giorgi explores making solar installations more affordable for low-income populations.

    New! SCU would love for Bill Nye to come check out Radiant House, and created a clever video explaining the reasons why...go team!

  •  Ethics and Law in Public Service

    Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 1:36 PM
    L-R: Joan Cassman, partner, Hanson Bridgett; JoAnne Speers, executive director, Institute for Local Government

    Not every legal action a government official may take is also ethical. Law provides a floor of minimum standards, but public officials who are concerned with ethics may want to go beyond what is simply legal when they consider how to act in the public interest.

    The interaction of law and ethics was explored at the August 2013 meeting of the Center's Public Sector Roundtable by panelists Joan Cassman, partner with Hanson Bridgett L.L.P. in San Francisco, and JoAnne Speers, executive director of the Institute for Local Government in Sacramento.

    Meeting Summary

  •  Pope Francis, Reform in the Church, and Organizational Ethics

    Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 4:33 PM

    A talk highlighting the new Pope, Reform in the Church, and Organizational Ethics. Where have we been, where are we, and where do we go from here? Father Thomas Reese is Senior Analyst, National Catholic Reporter, and Visiting Scholar, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Formerly the editor of America magazine, Reese is the author of a trilogy examining Catholic Church organization and politics on the local, national, and international levels: "Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church" (Harper & Row, 1989), "A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops" (Sheed & Ward , 1992), and "Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church "(Harvard University Press, 1997). He is a frequent commentator for national news outlets such as NPR, and major news networks.

    Sponsor: Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

    Date: Thursday September 12, 2013

    Location: The Wiegand Cente, Arts & Sciences Building

    You're Invited to Tweet! Tweet with us on this topic before, during, and after the event at: #ethicsreese.
    First, following us on Twitter at @mcaenews.

  •  NSA Revelations

    Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 11:14 AM

     In an article for USA Today, Internet Ethics Program Director Irina Raicu reflects on NSA surveillance from the point of view of someone who grew up in Communist Romania, where everyone assumed that the government was spying on individuals.  She writes:

    It goes without saying that our government is nothing like the Romanian or Cuban governments that set their secret services on their own citizens. And many of us are perfectly willing to countenance data mining by the NSA, on the theory that its purported benefits for national security provide the greatest good for the greatest number. In this context, though, we might remember the words of Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, who famously wrote, "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born of freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

  •  Ethical Dilemmas of Non-Profits: It May Be Legal, But...August 20 - 11:45-1:30

    Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 5:01 PM

    "Ethical Dilemmas of Non-Profits. It May Be Legal, But..."
    August 20, 2013 -- 11:45-1:30 pm


    Event guest speakers, clockwise from left: Moderator Ervie Smith, Focus Business Bank, and Panelists Brian Adams, Bellarmine College Prep, Judith Kleinberg, The Knight Foundation, and Peter Hero, The Hero Group.

    Join distinguished panelists Peter Hero, The Hero Group, Brian Adams, Bellarmine College Prep, Judith Kleinberg, The Knight Foundation, and moderator Ervie Smith, Focus Business Bank, as they discuss 21st century ethical issues that can affect fundraising and your organization's reputation. Come prepared with your own questions for discussion, and become part of this interactive panel.



    *Presented by AFP Silicon Valley Chapter, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and Focus Business Bank

    *Buffet Luncheon and Parking Fee included.

    *Parking passes will be available at the Santa Clara University Main Kiosk, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA.

    *Price: $30 preregistered, $40 on-site

    Lucas Hall, Forbes Family Conference Center

  •  A New Perspective on the Trayvon Martin Case

    Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 2:53 PM

     Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Chris Boscia and SCU Professor of Law Margaret Russell offered fresh perspectives on the Trayvon Martin case and the acquittal of shooter George Zimmerman at a panel discussion yesterday, sponsored by the Ethics Center and the University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  (Listen to the podcast)

    Boscia compared Florida gun laws and "stand your ground" legislation to similar California statutes, concluding that Zimmerman would likely never have been permitted to carry a concealed weapon in California, which might have averted the tragedy.  Russell compared the case to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, another innocent young black man whose killers were acquitted.  Both speakers offered suggestions for social and legal changes that might prevent such tragedies in the future.

  •  Meet Patrick Coutermarsh, First Fellow in Applied Ethics

    Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013 2:13 PM

    The Center is pleased to welcome Patrick Coutermarsh as its first Fellow in Applied Ethics. He will work under the direction of Executive Director Kirk Hanson, primarily on researching and writing for the Center's new interactive webpage project. He will also provide research and assistance in case writing and commentary on ethical dilemmas in business ethics, government ethics, and other fields.

    A recent graduate of Santa Clara University, Patrick worked as a Hackworth Fellow during his Senior year, and created and lead SCU's first Ethics Bowl team in the California Regional competition. His other hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Blue Belt), and participating in triathlons and ultra-marathons.

    Patrick states:"I am honored to be a part of the team at the Center, and am excited to get started!'

  •  Trayvon Martin, Race, and Justice: A Panel Discussion on August 5 at Noon

    Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 4:44 PM

    Join us for our next Ethics At Noon panel discussion on Monday, August 5 at the Markkula Center, on race and justice in the Trayvon Martin Case, featuring panelists Professor Margaret Russell, Santa Clara University School of Law, and Chris Boscia, Deputy District Attorny, Santa Clara County.

    Professor Margaret Russell has been a member of the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty since 1990, and is affiliated with the University’s Center for Social Justice & Public Service, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and the Center for Multicultural Learning. She has been honored for her contributions to student life at Santa Clara by the Asian Pacific Law Students Association and the Black Law Students Association. In 1991, she traveled to South Africa with a delegation of legal scholars to provide consultation on constitution-drafting for the post-apartheid transition. Prior to joining the Santa Clara Law faculty, Professor Russell was a fellow at the public interest firm Public Advocates, Inc., a law firm in San Francisco. She served as the director of Public Interest Programs and as the acting assistant dean of student affairs at Stanford University, and also clerked for the Honorable James E. Doyle of the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin. Christopher Boscia is Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County.

    Chris Boscia won the Robert L. Webb Award for Trial Advocacy in 2011 for his work in the case of People v. Gill, which led to induction into the Jurisprudence section of the American Academy of Forensic Science.  Chris was a guest panelist at the Academy's 2013 annual meeting in Washington D.C. on the topic, "Science in the Courtroom: A Matter of Perspective?" His forthcoming article, "Strengthening Forensic Alcohol Analysis in California DUIs: a Prosecutor's Perspective," will be published in the third issue of Volume 53 of the Santa Clara Law Review. Prior to joining the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office, he worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Contra Costa County, a staff attorney at the California DNA Project, a law clerk for the Honorable John F. Moulds at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, and as a staff member to the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice. Chris has a strong connection to Santa Clara University.  In addition to being a law school alumnus, he co-authored the University's $2 million grant proposal to Lilly Endowment. He has also taught courses at the Law School and the College of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the Board of the St. Thomas More Society of Santa Clara County, and is a Barrister of the Honorable William A. Ingram American Inn of Court.

    Sponsored by The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

  •  WhoseLife Is it Anyway?

    Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 4:11 PM

     Should parents dictate what their children major in during their college years?  In the latest case study from the Center's Big Q project, an online dialog for undergraduates, a sophomore finally gets up the courage to tell his parents that he isn't interested in accounting.