Ethics First Kickoff offers student, staff chance to collaborate, discuss ethical scenarios

October 10, 2017

Lily Spencer

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     On Oct. 5, the UCCS Ethics Committee hosted the Ethics Kickoff for students, faculty and staff to discuss ethical issues on campus and come up with resources and strategies to solve them.

     From 8 a.m. to noon in Berger Hall, the Ethics First Kickoff intended to facilitate a conversation about ethics on campus. The Daniels Ethics Fund Initiative sponsored a free breakfast for participants.

     Chancellor Venkat Reddy presented the results of a cultural survey conducted among academic departments to evaluate ethics on the UCCS campus.

     The survey was only given to faculty, but the Ethics Committee intends to include students in the future.

     According to the survey results, 51 percent of employees felt they can raise ethical concerns to their employers without facing retaliation. Furthermore, 31 percent of employees felt that ethical conduct was included in their organization’s performance evaluations.

     Jim Parke, CEO of Blue Ocean, the company that invested in Otter Box phone cases, discussed the importance values and ethics play in his hiring process and throughout the company’s environment.

     For the rest of the event, students and faculty were placed into small groups to identify ethical issues on campus and workshop different resources and strategies to solve them.

     Prior to the event, Deborah O’Connor, director of Campus Compliance and privacy officer at UCCS, said the event was important in order to improve UCCS’ ethical culture.

     “We try to make it so that it is worthwhile and that were trying to get feedback to build upon it and act on what is given in that workshop,” she said.

     “We want to get feedback on what they want to see in the future, what future trainings would be helpful to them, what kind of topics and if there are speakers they would like to see on campus.”

     O’Connor created the UCCS Ethics committee one year ago under Chancellor-emerita Pamela Shockley-Zalabak. The committee’s goal was to give UCCS students and faculty an opportunity to report unethical behavior and discover more resources about ethics.

     O’Connor believes ethics and values are an incremental part to building a credible university with high integrity.

     “All it boils down to is trust and confidence in each other; you don’t want to go to a school where you know there is a bunch of cheating because then what kind of integrity does that school have?” she said.

     For more information on the ethics survey or the Ethics and Compliance Program, visit