January 30, 2009 - Make plans to join us on March 24 for a dramatic view of global society in the year 2025. Our speaker will be Erik Peterson, director of the "Seven Revolutions" project at the Global Strategy Institute of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.. The project identifies and analyzes some of the key challenges that policy makers, business executives, and other leaders will face in the future. It is used by governmental agencies and leading corporations to promote strategic thinking on long-term trends that few leaders take the time to consider.
"Seven Revolutions: How Will Your World Change by 2025?" will be presented March 24 at 10 a.m. in Brock Recital Hall at Samford University. (Convo credit is available to Samford students.) It is a program in the Mann Center's A. Gerow Hodges Lecture Series, conducted in partnership with the Brock School of Business.
This lively, multimedia presentation will look at global trends in population, resource management, technology, information, conflict, governance and economic integration. "When taken together, the change that we can envisage in these seven areas suggests the need for far-sighted leadership animated by vision and innovative approaches," Peterson says. "This, I believe, is where higher education is especially important. Our overarching challenge is to provide the knowledge for leaders to develop vision, to inculcate them with the understanding to execute on their vision, and to help them develop a conceptual and ethical foundation on which difficult -- sometimes excruciating -- tradeoffs will have to be made."
January 25, 2009 - John Knapp is not a cynic, though it would be easy for his work to make him jaded.
The editor of two books on ethics and the director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford University has witnessed and studied his share of ethical lapses.
Of course, you don't have to be an ethics professor to see people exhibiting unethical behavior - whether its Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme or Marcus Schrenker bailing from an airplane over Harpersville in an apparent attempt to fake his own death to avoid prosecution for alleged financial fraud.
"Ethical lapses make news because they are the exception," he said.
But tough times might make them more common. Knapp completed a survey of 300 chief executives a few months ago and found that "business executives are more likely to make ethical compromises during economic downturns."
He said that means company leaders need to signal that doing the right thing matters now more than ever.
"There needs to be no misunderstanding about the organization's commitment to ethical means," Knapp said.
January 3, 2009 - Samford University has started offering a new degree in social entrepreneurship, a program designed to equip students aiming for careers in public administration or leading nonprofit agencies and businesses supporting social causes.
The goal is to prepare future nonprofit, corporate, and government leaders with the skills essential to helping Alabama leaders deal with social needs such as fighting poverty, improving the environment and community development, said Jeremy Thornton, an assistant economics professor in the Brock School of Business and social entrepreneurship program coordinator.
The curriculum will focus on three areas - theory, practice and ethics - and work closely with the Brock School of Business' Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, started last year through a gift from Lexmark Inc. Chairman Marvin L. Mann and named for his late wife.
"We are responding to a need from a lot of our students desiring to go into the nonprofit sector or interested in working at for-profit companies that have a social component," Thornton said. "Those type of careers require different skills from regular business courses."
The social entrepreneurship minor requires 22 credit hours, with classes on accounting concepts, economics, marketing and personal finance. The final course is entitled Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management.
John Knapp, hired from Georgia State University in Atlanta to run the ethics center, has experience creating ethics programs and has started similar efforts at Clemson and Kennesaw State. He is glad to see ethics play a vital role in Samford's social entrepreneurship program, he said.
"It is a privilege to be here at Samford and play a role in the formation of students prepared to lead professional lives with meaning," Knapp said. "Strong ethics are at the core of good leadership."