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Ethics On the Edge: Business, Non-Profit Organizations, Government, and Individuals

The objective of the course is to explore the increasing ethical challenges in a world in which technology, global risks, and societal developments are accelerating faster than our understanding can keep pace. We will unravel the factors contributing to the seemingly pervasive failure of ethics today among organizations and leaders across all sectors: business, government, and non-profit. A framework for ethical decision-making underpins the course. The relationship between ethics and culture, global risks (poverty, cyber-terrorism, climate change...), leadership, and the law and policy will inform discussion. Prominent guest speakers will attend certain sessions interactively. A broad range of international case studies might include: Ebola; Facebook's mood manipulation research and teen suicides from social media bullying; Google's European "right to be forgotten" and China policy and driverless cars; Space X (Elon Musk's voyages to Mars); ISIS' interaction with international NGOs; sexual assault on US University campuses and in the US military; the ethics of corporate social responsibility (through companies such as Loreal, Whole Foods and Wal-mart); immigration reform; corporate and financial sector scandals; and non-profit sector ethics challenges. Final project in lieu of exam on a topic of student's choice. Attendance required. Class participation important (with multiple opportunities beyond speaking in class). Strong emphasis on critical thinking and testing ideas in real world contexts. There will be a limited number of openings above the set enrollment limit of 40 students. If the enrollment limit is reached, students wishing to take the course should contact Dr. Susan Liautaud at The course offers credit toward Ethics in Society, Public Policy core requirements (if taken in combination with Public Policy 103F), and Science, Technology, and Society and satisfies the Ways of Thinking requirement. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates will not be at a disadvantage. NOTE: This course does not meet the SLS Ethics requirement. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments, and Final Paper. Ethics in Society (ETHICSOC 234R), Public Policy (PUBLPOL 134, PUBLPOL 234).

Instructors for this course (Past and Present)