The BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership, created in 2012 through a $1 million gift by BB&T to the University of North Georgia's Mike Cottrell College of Business, is developing ethics education programming for students and community partners, and two center administrators recently visited BB&T headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., to discuss the center's progress and future.
Dr. Donna Mayo, dean of the Mike Cottrell College of Business, and Rose Procter, director for the center, traveled to BB&T University at the company's headquarters to meet with BB&T executives.
"BB&T places a great deal of importance on developing a culture of ethics, rather than a code of ethics," Procter said. "To see firsthand the care the company takes in the ethics education of its managers provided a sense of pride for having BB&T as a partner for the center."
The center is developing experience-based programming, such as simulations, to provide students and community an applied education in business ethics. Learning will be centered on having participants make decisions, then showing impact of those decisions.
Programs are being developed in four key areas: K-12, higher education, business, and community. The programs will be based on a reinforcement model, allowing for business ethics to be introduced in early education, and then reinforced through higher education and on-the-job training. Each segment will focus on the key initiative "educate and experience."
"We are very pleased with the plans and direction for the new center under Rose Procter's leadership," said Tim Davis, executive vice president for BB&T's Human Systems Division. "With its rich heritage, the University of North Georgia is well-positioned to provide leadership in this field, and BB&T is pleased to support this important initiative. The values held by BB&T and UNG are highly complementary, making this a natural partnership."
UNG is designated as a state leadership institution by the University System of Georgia and a primary component of the university's mission is to develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society.
"We want to challenge the people throughout our north Georgia communities to develop an understanding of business ethics, ethical decision-making and the ever changing ethical dilemmas that our business leaders face," Procter said. "We hope to serve as a resource, and to create and support a leadership community that understands and incorporates ethical values into all business decisions."
Procter added that receiving feedback from BB&T on the annual report and the strategic goals moving forward was very important. The business experience the company has in a difficult industry such as banking and the ethical decisions that they have had to make over the years is a priceless resource, she said.