Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30 to 1:30 pm
R, 11:00am to 12:15pm
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.
Students will complete two 5-7 page papers (typed in 12-point font and double spaced with 1” margins) that analyze 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.
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.
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. Writing coaches will hold office hours prior to each section’s paper deadline. Students who are interested in receiving feedback on their writing prior to submitting their assignments are encourage to contact an “on duty” writing coach to schedule an appointment. (The schedule and email contact information will be posted on Blackboard.) Writing coaches will read and evaluate paper drafts in terms of the following criteria:
Coaches will provide comments on the paper to the student and send a summary of the comments to the instructor. Instructors will evaluate final submissions and may or may not take these comments about the writing process into consideration as they exercise judgment about the quality of the finished product and assign grades accordingly.
Whatever topic the papers might address, their contents should show evidence of practical reasoning that integrates three distinct, though interrelated forms of thought (adapted from Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession, Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, William M. Sullivan & Jonathan Dolle (2011):
The instructor will make comments on the paper’s content in reference to these criteria, take into consideration the quality of the writing itself, assign a grade, and then return the paper to the student.
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 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.
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. Additional or alternative readings for each module may be spontaneously chosen by the instructor.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to introduce the course themes and to initiate the process of practical reasoning.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUSINESS AND SOCIETY
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to frame the relationship between business and society in terms of a basic tension between market mechanisms and moral judgments as means of determining value.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to explore how specific types of market imperfection give rise to particular ethical dilemmas for organizations and consumers.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to examine selected aspects of the recent financial crisis (and its historical antecedents) and to reflect on the ethical values that justify particular policy solutions to the crisis.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to reflect on alternative (e.g., natural, cultural and/or theological) conceptualizations of the origins of ethical value in general, and to reflect on the sources of our own values in particular.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to consider how specific ethical values are institutionalized in systems of money, property and wealth.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to consider how specific ethical values are institutionalized in the political concept of human rights.
PAPER #1 DUE October 27
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to consider how specific ethical values are institutionalized in the form of laws.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to consider how specific ethical values are institutionalized in the form of professional standards and codes of conduct.
THE EXERCISE OF LEADERSHIP IN ORGANIZATIONS
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to consider the extent to which people can maintain their integrity as they seek to balance competing interests while remaining loyal to the firm and to colleagues.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to reflect on the standards of truth and disclosure that pertain to different personal and professional contexts.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to consider how the virtues associated with leadership can be enacted through words as well as deeds.
Learning Objective: The objective of this module is to reflect on one’s own leadership style in view of several alternative models of leadership.
Learning Objective: The objective of this final module is to conclude the course by reflecting on the students’ personal values in light of their professional trajectories.
PAPER #2 DUE December 15