Second Annual Hopkins Institute for Business Ethics featured ethics center director, philosophy professor
March 25, 2010 - Dr. Andrew I. Cohen, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics at Georgia State University, was the featured speaker at Shorter College’s second annual Hopkins Institute for Business Ethics.
Dr. Cohen visited several Shorter College classes throughout the day, speaking with students about ethics in the business world. He also delivered two lectures as part of the Hopkins Institute. Dr. Cohen first addressed a crowd of Shorter College students, faculty and staff at 11 a.m. inside Brookes Chapel on the college’s campus. Later that evening, Dr. Cohen spoke to a group of local business leaders at a 6:30 p.m. dinner held at the Coosa Country Club.
Dr. Cohen’s lectures focused on the way ethics is defined and implemented in both our daily lives and in the business world. He argued that creating a culture of ethics is not an easy task. “But we also don’t need to surrender to forces around us and give in,” Dr. Cohen said. “I don’t know if we can actually ‘create’ a culture of ethics, but we can certainly model ethical behavior. Culture is a body of shared traditions, shared rules of conduct and common patterns of behavior. Ethics can be defined as a certain body of norms that evaluate and prescribe our conduct. So, is it possible to build or create a culture of ethics?” Dr. Cohen asked. “It’s difficult, some would say impossible. Cultures can emerge, but aren’t necessarily created … but it is important to express and promote ethical behavior among managers and employees.”
Dr. Cohen studied philosophy at the University of North Carolina and has taught at several schools throughout the southeast, including the University of South Carolina, Washington and Lee University, and UNC-Wilmington. Dr. Cohen is co-editor (with Christopher Wellman) of Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics (Blackwell, 2005), and his articles on topics such as rights theory, friendship, early modern philosophy and reparations have appeared in journals such as Philosophy and Public Affairs, Social Philosophy and Policy and The Journal of Social Philosophy. Dr. Cohen speaks widely to academic and lay audiences on themes in practical and professional ethics, ethical theory and political philosophy.
The Hopkins Institute for Business Ethics is an annual lectureship established in the fall of 2008 thanks to a generous gift from Shorter College Trustee Col. Harvard Hopkins and his wife.
“A central lesson we want students to understand from these seminars and from all of our business ethics teaching is that it is possible to be ethical and successful at the same time,” said Dr. Robert “Dub” Darville, dean of Shorter’s Ledbetter College of Business. “This is a vital conversation to have with our students in these days after Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and moving forward to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. People are looking for individuals to be leaders who exhibit ethical decision-making, and Shorter, as a Christian institution, wants to be a voice promoting the importance of ethics instruction and practice.”
Founded in 1873, Shorter College is a Christian college committed to excellence in education. Since 2003, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Shorter among the South’s best baccalaureate colleges. The college offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 48 major areas as well as undergraduate degree programs for working adults, the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Arts in Leadership. Online courses are also available. Shorter will transition to university status June 1, 2010. For more information, visit www.shorter.edu.