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					College teams delve into ethical problems

Sunday, March 12, 2006 Kym Pokorny Dilemmas – Students and professionals ponder case studies at the Business Ethics Bowl In a world of insider trading and jailed industry leaders, Oregon college students and business leaders gathered Saturday to discuss the fine points of how to keep from sliding down the slippery slopes of ethical dilemmas, some as complex as Enron’s financial books. Teams from the 10 members of the Oregon Independent College Foundation gathered Saturday at the University of Portland for the Business Ethics Bowl. The goal: a big shiny trophy. The outcome: Warner Pacific College, whose members considered themselves the underdogs, took it home. The long-term consequences could be more important, though. “These are the employees of the future, and we want them to understand that ethics is a key ingredient in success,” said Ernesta Ballard, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Weyerhaeuser Corp. Ballard was a judge at the ethics bowl and the keynote speaker at the dinner Friday night. But it wasn’t just about the students. At least two dozen business leaders from companies such as Schnitzer Steel, Portland General Electric (itself embroiled in a tax controversy with the city of Portland) and Intel stepped up to judge the contest, asking questions to make the students delve even deeper into each of the case studies that made up a match. “It’s good for the business com-

munity as well to get together to spend an afternoon discussing ethics,” said Scott Andrews, president of Melvin Mark Properties. “One day isn’t a silver bullet, but it begins a conversation that will continue.” The 10 teams, each with three to five students, were well-prepared. Given the case studies ahead of time, the competitors were able to study them. But the judges’ specific questions were not known in advance and couldn’t be rehearsed. A coin flip decided which team went first in answering the ethical questions raised by the case studies, which ranged from corporate sponsorship on college campuses, to an employee who backdated reports, to a cigar company planning an ad campaign with a cartoon dog. The students, dressed in business attire, huddled as a team to come to a consensus. “The cases were very real situations, things easily seen in real-world business situations,” said judge Kathleen Baker, Pacific Northwest Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank of California. “And one of the things that impressed me was that they had a pretty good grasp of what the ethical issues are.” Heather Phillips, leader of the Warner Pacific team, said the ethics bowl was a new experience for her and her teammates. “Our school doesn’t even have a debate team.” Still, they pulled out a win. “I’m a social-work major, so the whole idea of ethical dilemmas and the need for respect for human dignity go hand in hand,” Phillips said. “We need to balance the human need, the social need, with the companies’ need to survive.” “I’ll certainly take that into the future.”

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“Thanks to OICF for including me in this thought provoking event. I have often wondered about our collective ability to resolve issues that have plagued us over the years. Having listened to the wisdom of the participants discussing the ethical issues of our time, I am comforted. These young people represent our future leadership and I think we are in capable hands. Congratulations and thank you for hosting such a successful event and for having these important discussions.” – Terry Shanley, Reader and CEO, SMART® (Start Making A Reader Today)

ConCordia University • PaCifiC University • GeorGe fox University reed ColleGe • lewis & Clark ColleGe • University of Portland • linfield ColleGe
17600 Pacific HWY, Davignon Hall P.o. Box 23 MarYlHurst, or 97036-0023

warner PaCifiC ColleGe • MarylhUrst University • willaMette University

503.496.3420 phone 503.496.0292 fax oicf@oicf.org e-mail www.oicf.org web

The OregOn IndependenT COllege FOundaTIOn’s (OICF) eThICs BOwl
is an academic competition designed to increase awareness and discourse among students from the OICF’s 10-member colleges and area business and community leaders about the importance of ethics in leadership, decision-making, interpersonal relations, and all aspects of life. Using the college bowl model of academic competition between teams of students, the Ethics Bowl offers a distinctive platform that matches student teams from the ten OICF member colleges in debates over case studies that address a variety of contemporary ethics-based dilemmas.

engagIng, persOnalIzed, ChallengIng
OICF member colleges are on the leading edge of actively engaging students in thoughtful discourse about ethical decision making in all parts of our lives. The ten OICF colleges and universities offer a supportive, personalized environment where all students can excel. OICF colleges are small communities that value each student as an important member of that community. And, with faculty to student ratios that average 12:1, the personalized education experience offered by the OICF colleges has produced scores of thoughtful leaders for generations. Meaningful investment in programs, “What a terrific concept to have this competition. such as the Ethics Bowl that encourage I thoroughly enjoyed it, and save for the stress, discourse about ethics, leadership, my students loved the experience. Kudos to you and the others for making this happen. I look for- and personal character aligns with the ward to the opportunity to do it again next year!” priorities of the OICF and the member – Victor L. Kane, Ph.D., Pacific University colleges, and provides substantial op(Pacific faculty team leader) portunities for thoughtful young people from the colleges to interact and openly discuss real world ethical issues and dilemmas with top business and community leaders from across the region. This dialogue is critically important as these young people become the next generation of community leaders.

prOgram FOrmaT
The Ethics Bowl is unlike other academic programs because it connects students and community leaders through the debate and discussion of issues and events of relevance to broader society. Approximately 50 business executives and community leaders serve as judges and evaluate team arguments. The Ethics Bowl exposes students to individuals from a variety of professions – these are not individuals who necessarily have extensive academic preparation in the field of ethics, but who have vast experience dealing with complex business issues. The Ethics Bowl truly connects the classroom with the boardroom. The Ethics Bowl is more than a day away from the office or time out of the classroom; it’s a rare opportunity for substantial dialogue between the leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow. This unique event allows students to interact with high profile business and community leaders in a setting that permits for dialogue and exchange that would rarely occur otherwise. “The Ethics Bowl is a fabulous event for Oregon’s In some instances, corporate contacts have ten leading private college and university students. also viewed the Ethics Bowl as an excellent Sponsoring corporations will expand their views on ethics in this forum as well.” opportunity to consider students as prospec– Mohan Nair, Executive Vice President & Chief tive new employees for their organization.
Marketing Executive, The Regence Group


				
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