Emory Report
March 5, 2007
Volume 59, Number 22

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March 5, 2007
Campus forums discuss responsibilities of an ethically engaged community

BY kim urquhart

Emory’s vision for ethical engagement is the focus of an ongoing series of campus forums led by President Jim Wagner and Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration Mike Mandl. In a Feb. 28 forum in the Winship Ballroom, Wagner used a “working definition” of ethics — “making decisions and taking actions based on moral principles”— to guide a discussion of what it means to live and work as part of a community built on integrity.

Wagner spoke of the need to adopt and apply a set of moral principles to “achieve a sense of aspiration among the community to be ethically engaged.” He asked the 50 or so employees present at the forum for words that represent community trust. Honesty, joy, respect and understanding were just a few of the responses. Mandl urged the community to “think about these principles in the spirit of trust and trying to be the best we can be.”

Each spring the two administrators choose a topic of broad interest to the community and host a series of informal exchanges that give Emory employees a chance to share ideas or air questions. This meeting focused mainly on financial ethics.

In its efforts to promote the highest degree of financial transparency, the University has voluntarily adopted governance practices mandated for public companies. “We have a responsibility to be good stewards” of the resources Emory is entrusted with, Mandl said.

“There are a whole host of ways we carry out our fiduciary duties,” Mandl said. These include the Emory Trust Line, a confidential telephone resource that allows Emory University and Emory Healthcare employees to report a workplace concern; an enterprise risk management committee, formed last August to guide Emory’s response to risks; a fraud awareness program by Emory’s internal audit division; and a series of reports and tools to help managers and supervisors detect unusual activity. In addition, a report is due out later this spring from a group formed by Wagner to define how culture helps foster an ethically engaged community.

Ethical engagement does not pertain only to financials, Wagner said, but is also important in research and in teaching. Wagner and Mandl closed the forum by offering their e-mail addresses: wagner@emory.edu and mandl@emory.edu. “Thank you for being Emory,” Wagner concluded, “and talk to us if we can help with anything.”

Next meetings:
Thursday, March 22
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Campus Services Training Room,
Building B

Wednesday, April 4
8–9 a.m.
Tarbutton Theater,
Oxford College