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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.

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  •  Modeling Character

    Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 1:36 PM
    2012 Ethics Campers
    2012 Ethics Campers

    "Character is who I am today as a result of everything I have become and overcome in my life so far, plus what I become and overcome today." That was the definition of character Steve Johnson, director of character education at the Ethics Center, offered on the opening day of Ethics Camp 2012, a program for teachers on how to integrate character education into the school curriculum. The August 7-10 camp was a special session for new teachers in Catholic elementary and high schools.

    Johnson pointed out that a person's character plays a major role in his or her success, and that schools can inculcate the habits of good character that will serve their students well, not only academically but in their everyday lives. He cited a study of basic habits that increased people's odds of being successful in the workplace. They included:

    • Show up
    • On time
    • Start promptly
    • Follow directions
    • Finish tasks
    • Get along with others

    When the these good habits--accountability and responsibility, for example--become ingrained, they make up our virtues.

    Ethics Camp focuses on showing teachers how to foster the virtues. Where do children learn virtues (or, for that matter, vices)? From role models, legends and heroes, family stories, literature, and other sources, Johnson said. "Whoever spends the most time with a child has the greatest influence on his or her values," he added, warning that today's young people often spend more time with peers and the mass media than they do with parents or other adults.

    In this context, teachers are especially important role models. "The job of a teacher is often counter-cultural," Johnson observed. Insisting on respect, kindness, and honesty in the classroom provides a crucial counterweight to the values children may encounter in the media or on the playground.

    This modeling is not just about teaching a particular content, he went on. "There's an old saying: 'The Catholic school teacher teaches in every breath and glance and move." Johnson stressed that teachers convey their values through how they set up their classrooms. "How can you make sure," he asked the participants, "that what pays off in your classroom are actually the values and behaviors you say are important?"

    Ethics Camp was developed by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in collaboration with the Diocese of San Jose.

  •  Leadership in Government Ethics

    Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 1:55 PM

    Ethics is not just about following rules; it's about core values, said Judy Nadler, senior fellow in government ethics, addressing a recent conference in Dallas, sponsored by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility in collaboration with the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business.

    Further, she argued, "it's not just about knowing your core values but also about having the courage to actuallys stick to those values and speak hard truths."

    Nadler was one of four participants in a panel on "Ethical Leadership and Values."

  •  We Cannot Rely Purely on Rules to Govern Ethical Behavior

    Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 2:37 PM

    Judy Nadler, senior fellow in government ethics at the Center, argued that "the law is the floor, not the ceiling" when it comes to ethical behavior in a talk she gave Nov. 2 at the conference "Ethics, Trust &Transparency.

    The conference was sponsored by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at Southern Methodist University’s Dallas campus.

  •  Managing Ethics in a Company

    Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 11:36 AM

    Four different strategies for managing ethics are analyzed by Center Executive Director and nted business ethicist Kirk O. Hanson.  He reviews relying on employee values, compliance, ethics exhortation, and managing values.