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Business Ethics Forum draws lecturers to campus

Nov. 2, 2004

By JANICE MARIE FERGUSON, reporter

As part of the Hankamer School of Business' mission to produce ethical business leaders, the school's officials organized the third annual Business Ethics Forum.

The purpose of the forum is to encourage dialogue between faculty, students and business professionals about ethical issues in business today and issues students may have to examine when they join the work force.

According to Dr. Donald Schmeltekopf, conference planning committee chairman, officials expect at least 400 students to attend the free, three-day conference set for Nov. 3-5.

Sponsored by the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Endowment for Christian Ethics in Business and the Ethics Officer Association (EOA), the forum will provide a platform for speakers from across the nation.

According to Schmeltekopf, Baylor provost emeritus and the current Harry and Hazel Chavanne Professor of Christian Ethics, business ethics is a hot topic, especially after the recent, widely publicized, corporate scandals.

"It's a very timely topic and one that's not going away," he said.

Schmeltekopf said business students need to be aware of ethics in the workplace.

"Most students want to do what's right," he said. "[They] need to be careful, and mindful and pay attention."

According to C.J. Jackson, director of business school communications and marketing, students will know how to handle questionable situations better if they've had a chance to think about possible solutions and outcomes.

Jackson said Baylor business students are taught in three areas of business practice -- theoretical, hands-on and ethics and values. She said ethics and values is one of the most important aspects of professional business conduct.

"We feel like it's so important that it's worth setting aside a week to focus on ethics," Jackson said.

The conference will begin Wednesday with presenter Gary Weaver, professor of management at University of Delaware, speaking on "What I Wish I'd Known Before I Started That Job."

Weaver's lecture is from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. with a complimentary luncheon on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center.

The second session will feature Edward S. Petry, EOA executive director.

Petry will speak Wednesday about "Emerging Trends in Corporate Ethics" from 4 to 5p.m. on the fifth floor of Cashion with complimentary Dr Pepper floats served before the session.

Nine business practitioners, sponsored by EOA, will be guest speakers in business classrooms Thursday. These speakers come from several nationally renowned business corporations.

Friday's activities will focus on accounting, according to Schmeltekopf.

An invitation-only lecture and luncheon is scheduled Friday from noon-1:15 p.m. on the fifth floor of Cashion.

As part of the Ben H. Williams Distinguished Speaker Series, Charles Niemeier, member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, will speak about "The Value of Integrity."

Concluding the conference activities will be a "Roundtable on Integrity and Reporting." Roundtable discussion will focus on issues involved with complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, an investor protection reform act passed into law in 2002.

Jackson said anyone interested in entering a business career should be concerned with business ethics and this conference gives those students an opportunity to think about how one might react to a situation beforehand.

Conference lectures, with the exception of the Friday lecture and luncheon, is free and open to all students, faculty and business professionals.