The Auburn Creed embodies several virtues that the Harbert College embraces and encourages as we aim to provide our enrollees with a superior student experience. One element is to integrate the virtues of the Creed into the fabric of our educational offerings. While this is accomplished in a variety of ways, the Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures of the Harbert College plays a key role in this endeavor. One key target of the center is providing faculty with the resources and classroom materials necessary to help infuse organizational ethics education into our business curriculum.
While always important, given today’s very public and often highly sensitive business environment, many recruiters look for ethical leadership practices to be addressed as part of an undergraduate business curriculum. This is a challenge, as perceptions of ethical behavior may vary by individual and what is considered to be an ethical practice may vary by industry, discipline or even global region. Therefore, the Harbert College has elected to target ethics education by making a variety of resources available to faculty, staff, and students. This allows the topic of ethical leadership to be addressed in multiple ways, including embedding the topic into the coursework of each discipline, offering education through participation in a student organization, and hosting guest speakers to address various ethics topics.
Not only do business decision-makers need to practice ethical leadership to be successful, but they must also foster a culture of highly ethical behavior throughout the entire organization. How to practice ethical leadership and foster a culture of ethical behavior has become a focal point of the ethics education program of the Harbert College. As a result of our ethics program, students now have the opportunity to obtain a certificate in ethical leadership. Students who earn this credential further differentiate themselves from many of their peers in the job market.
I challenge each of our students to think about the contents and meaning of the Auburn Creed and consider how closely many of the virtues of it align with our educational emphasis on ethical leadership. Many of today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders. Those students who aim to be leaders will be well served by following the virtues of the Auburn Creed and the principles of the ethical leadership program of the Harbert College of Business.
Joe B. Hanna, PhD
Interim Dean and Regions Bank Professor