Brainstorm for Edge

On Thursday, Nov. 1, Guilford’s Ethical Leadership team held a community brainstorming session to discuss an upcoming Ethical Leadership program from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Gilmer Room of Founders Hall. The new program will be implemented in Fall 2019 as part of the Guilford Edge.

The discussion-based community event aimed to explore the goals of the Ethical Leadership program and the possibilities of how that program could be implemented at Guilford.

“This is completely new to Guilford College and it’s a part of the Guilford Edge,” said Krishauna Hines-Gaither, interim associate vice president for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department. “There are four components to the Edge, and those are rallying campus spirit, teaming for success, collaborative learning and ethical leadership.”

The new program alreadt has a definite model and mission, but no plans for implementation.

“Ethical leadership is a program where we incorporate ethics and leadership,” Hines-Gaither said. “We have created a model of what we mean by that, and today we are here to hear from the community about how we should implement that model into a program.”

In order to make the Ethical Leadership program more applicable, Guilford faculty wanted to hear from current students.

“We think it’s really important to have community input before we actually implement a program,” Hines-Gaither said. “A lot of times the community complains that a lot of things are implemented without first hearing from them. So we do have a model but nothing has been implemented yet.”

In addition to providing input on how the Ethical Leadership program should be implemented, the discussion also allowed community members to share their views on the definition of ethical leadership.

“When I think of ethics, I think of, on the individual level, moral development,” said Mark Justad, director of the Center for Principled Problem Solving. “On the corporate level, I think of how we govern ourselves and how we interact with each other because the two are related, but they’re not the same.”

Another prominent discussion topic included how ethical leadership should be taught to students and then applied to real-world situations.

“Literature has been a very useful tool in the past because looking at characters as templates for people to think of them as ethical or problematic role models allows us to externalize our own behavior,” said Christian Matheis, visiting assistant professor of Justice and Policy Studies. “But the hypothetical scenarios in literature allow for some moral imagination before we go into case studies. That kind of think could be a fantastic component to ethical leadership.”

Although there will be a standard form that the Ethical Leadership will take upon its implementation, the program will still vary slightly based on each student’s interests.

“It would still have room for lots of individual shaping of what that would look like for each student,” Justad said.

Community members also see the Ethical Leadership program as a chance to expose students to different views and opinions than they have previously encountered.

“You arrive to Guilford with some sort of sense of what is right and wrong, yet you may not have had much time to think about where that comes from,” Justad said.

Some see the Ethical Leadership program as a set of courses or project that all students would be required to take.

“It could be something that is in every First Year Experience course,” Hines-Gaither said. “It could be something that happens in all senior capstone courses. It could be not a course at all, but instead a service project that everyone has to do that incorporates this. It could be a combination of courses and service. We just don’t know yet.”

Regardless of how the new Ethical Leadership program takes shape here at Guilford, it will be something that affects students across all majors and interests.

“This has to be a program that is designed for all students,” Hines-Gaither said. “Whatever we end up with, it has to touch every student at Guilford College. Every student has to leave understanding this model.”