Interdisciplinary Ethics Bootcamp Held at Western Colorado University (a Daniels Fund Southern Colorado Ethics Consortium institution)

Students listening to presentation in brightly lit auditorium
Students at Western Colorado University listen to and participate in a Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program Ethics Bootcamp Garrett Dahms

By: Michael Vieregge, Ph.D., Profession of Business Administration, Western Colorado University

For the Fall 2021 semester, the Ethics Champions at Western focused on involving other disciplines on campus in order to share and advance the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative’s (DFEI) principles. The Champions proposed and received support from the School of Business and the Rady School of Computer Science & Engineering for planning an Ethics Bootcamp mainly for incoming freshmen to the three disciplines.

The Ethics Bootcamp idea was driven by the belief that students from the three disciplines have to collaborate in the marketplace to design, improve, and/or market products. To collaborate effectively, students need to understand the ethical dilemmas each party faces. It is the hope of the Ethics Champions and organizers that the Ethics Bootcamp develops participants’ sensitivity to ethical issues faced by the collaborators. Additionally, the Ethics Champions hope that the competing teams enjoy this friendly case competition and are encouraged to participate in the Fall’s Ethics Case Competition on the UCCS campus.

The 2021 Ethics Bootcamp was scheduled for Friday, Sep.17, 2021. Early September students were alerted to the upcoming Ethics Bootcamp and by the Sep. 9, 2021 deadline a total of 33 students indicated interest in participating. A total of 18 students formed six teams. While originally intended for freshmen, this first year Bootcamp also allowed upper-classmen. In an organizational meeting on Monday, Sep.13, 2021, each team received information about Bill Daniels, the DFEI, the DFEI Ethics Principles, a copy of the Besla-Pear case from the Daniels Fund casebank, and a case presentation rubric. Each group had until Friday, Sep.17, 2021 to prepare their case analyses for presentations to a six-member expert panel. Five teams ended up competing for the $100 first place prize (per student) provided by DFEI. The expert panel included two faculty members from Western’s School of Business, one each from Western’s Rady Schools of Computer Science and Engineering, and two PhD students from the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business.

The introduction to Bill Daniels, the Daniels Fund and the DFEI Ethics Principles should guide the students not only in the analyses of the ethical dilemmas presented in the Bootcamp’s case competition, but also in their future studies and careers. To measure the impact of the Ethics Bootcamp, participating students completed a survey on Friday after working on the ethical dilemma over the previous week. Data from the participating students will be compared with data from a control group of students that did not participate in this ethics event.

The event has been made possible by financial support from the Western Schools of Business, Computer Science & Engineering as well as by the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program at UCCS College of Business. Western Colorado University is a member of the DFEI at UCCS Southern Colorado Ethics Consortium.

For more information about the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program, visit business.uccs.edu/resources/ethics.

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