Ethics on the Edge: Business, Non-Profit Organizations, Government, and Individuals (PUBLPOL 234)
O'Bryan, J. (TA)
Liautaud, S. (PI)
(PUBLPOL 134, PUBLPOL 234 - 3 credits, Ways - ER) (Same as LAW 7020) The objective of this 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 and the law 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, non-profit, and academia. A framework for ethical decision-making underpins the course. There is significant space for personal reflection and forming your own views on a wide range of issues. Prominent guest speakers will attend certain sessions interactively. The relationships among ethics and technology, culture, leadership, law, and global risks (inequality, privacy, financial system meltdown, cyber-terrorism, climate change, etc.) will inform discussion. A broad range of international topics might include: designer genetics; civilian space travel (Elon Musk's Mars plans); social media (e.g. Facebook Cambridge Analytica, on-line sex trafficking, monopolies); new devices (e.g. Amazon Alexa in hotel rooms); free speech on University campuses; opioid addiction; AI (from racism to the work challenge and beyond); corporate and financial sector scandals (Theranos, Wells Fargo fraudulent account creation, Volkswagen emissions testing manipulation); new corporate challenges (e.g. Google selling drones to the military and Facebook's new Libra crypto currency); and non-profit sector ethics challenges (e.g. NGOs engagement with ISIS and sexual misconduct in humanitarian aid (Oxfam case)). Final project in lieu of exam on a topic of student's choice. Attendance required. Class participation important (with multiple opportunities to earn participation credit beyond speaking in class). Strong emphasis on rigorous analysis, critical thinking and testing ideas in real-world contexts. Please note that this course will require one make-up evening session on a Wednesday or Thursday in lieu of the final class session the first week of June, and two one-hour extensions to Monday class sessions as a make-up for May 11, so the course will end before Memorial Day. Permission numbers are required for enrollment. The course offers credit toward Public Policy core requirements (if taken in combination with PUBLPOL 103E or PUBLPOL 103F), and Science, Technology and Society majors and satisfies the undergraduate Ways of Thinking - Ethical Reasoning requirement. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates will not be at a disadvantage. Everyone will be challenged. *Students taking the course for Ways credit and Public Policy majors taking the course to complete the core requirements must obtain a letter grade. Other students may take the course for a letter grade or C/NC. Students seeking credit for other majors should consult their departments.
Letter or Credit/No Credit