NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Brenner, Karen


By appointment

KMC 10-179


Course Meetings

M, 2:00pm to 4:45pm

Tisch T-UC01

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:



In the Social Impact Core Curriculum, NYU Stern undergraduate students: 



Professional Responsibility and Leadership is an interdisciplinary capstone course that builds on prior coursework within the Social Impact Core Curriculum as well as other coursework both at Stern and in other NYU colleges. 

In this course, students have the opportunity to pursue the following learning objectives:  1) to become more familiar with the variety of ethical dilemmas that can arise in the course of business practice; 2) to understand the different values and principles that can inform and guide decisions in such ambiguous situations; and 3) to gain experience articulating and defending courses of action that are coherent with their own values. 

The basic format of the course is a discussion seminar.  Each class session may include a variety of activities, including:  discussion, in-class reading and writing, role-playing, and other participatory exercises.  These various activities will be designed and facilitated by the instructor in order to allow students to engage in reflective dialogue with each other. 

The overarching themes of this dialogue include:  1) the relationship between business and society on a global, national and local basis; 2) the foundations of personal and professional business ethics; and 3) the exercise of leadership in organizations.  

These themes are developed in reference to a series of cases that have been either drawn from recent news reports on business practice or drafted specifically for this course by NYU Stern faculty.  These cases will typically be provided in class by the instructor to the students, then read and interpreted collectively. 

The course readings provide lenses through which to view and interpret the cases.  Drawn primarily from classic works of philosophy, literature, psychology, legal studies and theology, these readings inform the class discussions and allow students to synthesize the case material and exercise reflective judgment about how they would act in similar situations.  These readings are posted on Blackboard, and students are expected to come to class having read them and reflected on their meaning with respect to the topics addressed in that class session. 

The course proceeds cumulatively so that all themes, cases and readings inform subsequent discussions.


Written Assignments

Students will complete two 5-7 page papers (typed in 12-point font and double spaced with 1” margins) that analyze specific issues introduced in the course, synthesize these issues in reference to the cases and the readings, and present reflective judgments about ethical action in business and organizational contexts.  Specific topics for these papers will be assigned in class.  The first paper is due on November 15.  The second paper is due on December 6.  Papers will be graded for both content and quality of writing; the grading breakdown appears below.  

All students are required to turn their papers in using the Assignments tab in Blackboard.  Integrated in Blackboard is an online plagiarism prevention and detection software – Turnitin – that enables faculty to compare the content of submitted assignments to data on the Internet, commercial databases, and previous papers submitted to the system. Additional information about expectations regarding academic integrity appears below.


NYU Stern Grading Policies

NYU Stern Grading Policies

At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate differential mastery of the subject matter. Assigning grades that reward excellence and reflect differences in performance is important to ensuring the integrity of our curriculum.  In core courses, our faculty have adopted a standard of rigor for teaching where: 

Note that while we use these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course (as well as each individual grade) will depend upon how well each student actually performs in this course.  Please see www.stern.nyu.edu/undergraduate/grading "Teaching and Grading at the NYU Stern Undergraduate College” for more information. 

In line with Grading Guidelines for the NYU Stern Undergraduate College, the process of assigning of grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. This means that students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.  If a student feels that an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have that grade re-evaluated may be submitted. Students should submit such requests in writing to the professor within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why he or she believes that an error in grading has been made. 

Grade Breakdown and Evaluation Criteria

Class Discussion                                 40%

Written Assignments                           60% 

Class discussion will be graded using the following rubric: 





A student receiving a 6 comes to class prepared; contributes readily to the conversation but doesn’t dominate it; makes thoughtful contributions that advance the conversation; shows interest in and respect for others’ views; participates actively in small groups.


A student receiving a 5 comes to class prepared; makes thoughtful comments when called upon; contributes occasionally without prompting; shows interest in and respect for other’ views; participates actively in small groups.


A student receiving a 4 comes to class prepared, but does not voluntarily contribute to discussions and gives only minimal answers when called upon.  Such students show interest in the discussion, listening attentively and taking notes.  They may also participate fully in small group discussions.


A student receiving a 3 participates in discussion, but in a problematic way.  Such students may talk too much, make rambling or tangential contributions, interrupt others with digressive questions, or bluff when unprepared.  Such students also participate actively in small groups.


A student receiving a 2 does not come to class prepared; does not contribute to discussion voluntarily or when called upon; and does not participate in small group discussions.  Such students may listen attentively but fail to contribute due to lack of preparation.


A student receiving a 1 disrupts class discussion, whether actively by being negative or rude to others, or passively by appearing distracted, bored or sleepy.


A group of professional writing coaches has been hired to provide students with feedback to improve their writing skills.  In the two weeks prior to each paper deadline, students will have the option of presenting a draft to a coach for feedback and guidance.  Students interesting in this optional feedback will need to contact Kristy McCadden, Associate Director for Social Impact Programming at kristy.mccadden@stern.nyu.edu. She will help to make the necessary arrangements. 

Once the papers are submitted via Blackboard, a writing coach assigned specifically to each section of the course will read and evaluate them in terms of the following criteria: 

Coaches will forward their written comments directly to the instructor, who will take them into consideration while evaluating the paper contents.  Whatever topic the paper might address, the instructor will evaluate the extent to which the paper shows evidence of practical reasoning that integrates three distinct, though interrelated forms of thought: 

The instructor will make additional comments on the paper’s content, assign a grade, and then return the paper with all content- and structure-related comments to the student.  As a general rule of thumb, the formal, structural elements of the paper will make up one-third of the grade, and the content will make up two-thirds of the grade.


Plenary Session

There will be one plenary session (course number C40.1012) held on [date] at [time]

The PRL Plenary is a separate, Pass/Fail class and attendance is mandatory to pass this session.  An excused absence can only be granted in cases of serious illness or grave family emergencies, and must be documented.  Attendance will be taken through a card swipe process outside of Paulson Auditorium.  Out of respect for the plenary speakers and your fellow classmates, please plan to arrive early to swipe in.  Card swiping will begin at [time



Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. All students are expected to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct. A student’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to: 

Please see www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct for more information.


Students with Disabilities

Students whose class performance may be affected due to a disability should notify the professor early in the semester so that arrangements can be made, in consultation with the Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students with Disabilities, to accommodate their needs. 

Please see www.nyu.edu/csd for more information.


NYU Stern Course Policies


Course Schedule

Due to the fact that this semester the course is being offered in a variety of schedules (i.e., 1x/week over 14 weeks; 2x/week over 7 weeks; and 1x/week over 7 weeks), the themes, learning objectives, readings and cases are organized in modules that can be adapted to fit the circumstances.   Readings and cases marked “TBD” will be selected by the instructor.



Module 1



Module 2

Module 3

Module 4



Module 5

Module 6

PAPER #1 DUE November 15

 Module 7

 Module 8

Module 9



 Module 10

Module 11

Module 12

Module 13



 Module 14

       PAPER #2 DUE December 6     


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