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Program partnership teaches area high school students ethics

CEBL Fall Ethics Program
Dr. Robert Orwig speaks to high school students about organizational ethics during the Business Ethics Program hosted by the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership and Junior Achievement of Northeast Georgia.

The BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership at the University of North Georgia and Junior Achievement of Northeast Georgia have partnered to teach high school students about ethical decision-making in personal and professional realms. 

The center, which is a component of UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business, and Junior Achievement provided ethics programs to high school students on the university's Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses to some 500 high school students from 10 area high schools. Five high schools visited UNG's Dahlonega Campus on Sept. 24, and five visited the Gainesville Campus on Sept. 26. The visits also offered campus tours and exposure to student life at UNG.

"Part of the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership's mission is to help students understand business ethics before they arrive on a college campus," said Dr. Donna Mayo, dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business. "By partnering with Junior Achievement to reach high school students, we can instill some of the concepts around business ethics before they enter college and the business marketplace."

The breakout sessions were facilitated by faculty from the Mike Cottrell College of Business, as well as Rose Procter, director of the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership, and Lee Highsmith, executive director for Junior Achievement of Northeast Georgia.

"Our partnership with the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership is a natural fit as both entities are seeking to help students succeed," Highsmith said. "Because ethics are integrated throughout our curriculum and the center's operations, and because our students come from the same region as UNG, we are excited to help encourage and inspire students to get their diplomas and proceed to secondary education."

Topics discussed during the program included organizational ethics, ethical decision-making and ethical simulations allowing students to get a more in-depth look at how ethical dilemmas may present in their own lives, and the decision-making process that should accompany those issues.

"You are already making ethical decisions every day," said Dr. Bryson Payne, head of the Department of Computer Science. "Imagine how this is going to increase as you progress in your education to your career and into an adult life with a family. Ethical dilemmas will arise when your values clash with things you value, such as when your integrity clashes with your desire to make more money."

The BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership was created in 2012 through a $1 million gift by BB&T to the Mike Cottrell College of Business, and develops ethics education programming for students and community partners.

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