Nov 21, 2011

Self-Promotion: How Much is Too Much? (part 1 of 3)

self promotion lesboprof chronicle higher education truth falsity lie bragging disclosure virtue vice ethics moral colleagues academics virtuous vicious
A thought-provoking piece by the equally provocatively self-titled Lesboprof in the Chronicle of Higher Education today raised but did not resolve a question, one particularly intended for academics -- but by extension, others as well --to what degree ought one engage in self-promotion?  How much -- and how precisely -- ought one to bring to or even impress upon the attention of others one's own accomplishments, successes, projects, qualities?  She doesn't provide a hard-and-fast answer, writing that:
I discussed with my friends the issue of what counts as shameless self-promotion and what is wanting to share excitement and pride in one’s accomplishments. It is difficult to clearly delineate between the two.
 As I reflected upon the matter -- well supplied for rumination on this by experience of more than a decade in the academic racket, during which I've seen many cases that crossed the line into blatant, tasteless self-promotion, as well as many other people's achievements or contributions go unrecognized, held similar conversations about how to decide and determine cases and rules for this, and even had to gradually work out my own position and practice -- it struck me not only that this would in fact be precisely the kind of topic to which Virtue Ethics could bring some needed clarity and guidance, but that in point of fact, some of the classic proponents and developers of that moral approach in fact had written relevant passages bearing on the matter.

Nov 11, 2011

Lessons From the Ethics in Business Education Workshop (part 2 of 2)

ethics business teaching eduction assessment best practices AACSB philosophy partnership
Back at Fayetteville State University last spring, I developed and delivered a workshop for faculty of the School of Business and Economics, titled Best Practices for Addressing Challenges in Teaching Ethics.  It was the third of a set of workshops I provided as part of the Ethics in Business Education Project, a collaboration between philosophers -- brought in as subject-matter experts in Ethics -- and business educators, the main goal being improvement of teaching and assessment of Ethics in FSU's Business courses and curriculum. 

For this particular workshop, I reflected on my years of teaching a variety of Ethics courses -- some of them straight-out theory courses, some of them various "applied" ethics courses -- as well as other courses in which ethical content either inevitably entered into components or key concepts of the course (e.g. Intro to Philosophy, Social-Political Philosophy, World Religions, and all the history of Philosophy courses) -- or where discussions involving Ethics always seemed to arise, whether I'd intended them to or not (e.g. Critical Thinking, Religion in American Culture, and other Religious Studies classes).  What I learned through experience in the classroom, thinking about what had worked and what had failed, broader-scope comparison and rumination, and redesigning courses, components, and content was that -- at least in our educational culture -- there were certain critical junctures, certain potential roadblocks, certain places in discussion where students would raise challenges, present problems, present objections, often exhibit strong emotional reactions.  These supply, to use that worn-out phrase, "teachable moments," and my goal for the workshop was to supply business educators with some tools and insights for transforming them into educational opportunities.

Nov 7, 2011

Back from the Conference Season: Notes from POD

It's a tad flip, ad hoc, made up on the spot, just for this occasion, for me to joke about now having made it through the "conference season," as if I've been out on the road, hitting place after place, speaking, meeting people, then moving on to the next location, the next audience. There are some people who do live like that, on the circuit, spending less time at their home base with their core of friends and family than they do at a string of scattered stops -- but I'm not actually one of them.  It only feels a bit like that because I've (or really, we've, since my partner and I have done all of this together) traveled to and presented at three very different conferences in the last month -- sort of like taking a lifestyle out for a test-drive, the best part about which is that after you're done, you do get to hand back the keys.

Early in October, it was the CUNY Supplemental Instruction conference -- a local conference, mainly faculty and administrators concerned with developing, using, or improving  that type of pedagogical resource.  When asked, I did end up finding something to first think about, then talk about:  how a Virtue Ethics perspective can inform and complement the other ways of looking at SI (slides, draft paper, and video available).  I just got home from the MAPACA conference over in Philadelphia, where I talked (slides, video coming later) about how Aristotle's moral theory (understood broadly, through the two Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, and Poetics) can illuminate George R.R. Martin's epic and still unfinished Song of Ice and Fire.  Sandwiched between them, just two weeks ago, down in Atlanta, was the Professional and Organizational Development network conference, which is what I'm going to write about today.