Partners in Business Ethics Symposium attracts leaders in business ethics

December 06, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Smeal College of Business hosted business school deans, corporate leaders, and ethics experts in November for the sixth Partners in Business Ethics Symposium.

Held in the Business Building on the Penn State University Park campus, this year’s symposium theme was “Fostering a Speak-Up Culture.”

Eight deans from six universities, faculty and ethics officers from five others, and representatives from eight companies were among the 54 people in attendance.

Several distinguished speakers addressed the gathering, and attendees were able to sit in on a variety of panel discussions. Everyone in attendance also participated in breakout sessions and helped to create a list of action items.

“In light of recent news events, our theme of fostering a speak-up culture was particularly timely and relevant,” said Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. “Through many frank discussions and enlightening presentations, our group arrived at more than a dozen unique action items.”

Where appropriate, symposium participants were encouraged to pursue implementation of the action items within their communities.

Among the items proposed were the creation of elective ethics modules to be taken during co-ops or internships; inviting international faculty and companies with international operations to talk to students about how ethics concerns are handled, such as speaking up across cultures; and providing organizations and alumni with venues and programs to share their successes in creating speak-up cultures within their companies.

The 2018 Partners in Business Ethics Symposium will be hosted Oct. 23-25 by the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and coordinated by the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society and the Deloitte Analytics Center.

The general theme will be “A Look at Ethical Challenges in Big Data and Data Analytics: Research, Teaching, and Application in the Classroom and Business Settings.”

For more information, or to express interest in attending or supporting PBE 2018, email Gretchen Winter, executive director of the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society, at

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Last Updated December 07, 2017