Neely Center holds first ethics competition

Photo courtesy of USC News

Beginning this semester, students will be able participate in “Towards an Ethically Sensitive Society,” a competition on ethical decision making through the Jerry and Nancy Neely Center for Ethical Leadership.

The competition is open to all USC students, and the institution encourages entries that reflect multiple facets of ethics and strategy.

“There is a misconception that if it is legal, it has to be ethical,” Neely Center Director Ali Abbas  said. “We’ve seen that rules change, so we can’t tie ethical conduct to a legal system that is constantly changing.”

Abbas emphasizes the intersection of three circles in decision making: ethical, legal and prudential, or to govern oneself through reason. He hopes that the competition will help students analyze ethical dilemmas and ultimately make better decisions.

Submissions may include a variety of mediums, such as written articles, presentations and videos. Students can submit anything from real-life case studies to reflections on ethically sensitive behavior to ethical considerations involving technology.

Abbas said the Neely Center has a lot to learn from students, too.

“This enables us to do multidisciplinary research encompassing three schools [Marshall, Viterbi and Price],” Abbas said. “It is an intellectual convergence that is the result of a very unique opportunity.”

Those who wish to participate in the competition must submit an intent to participate, including a title and brief description of work, by Sept. 30.

The period from Nov. 15, 2017 to Feb. 15, 2018 will include expert feedback on submissions. Students don’t need to be ethical experts to participate, Abbas said. Everyone is encouraged to apply, so they will receive coaching, guidance and resources to advise their creativity.

Finalists will be announced on March 1, 2018, after which they will have the opportunity to present their submission in the annual Next Generation Ethics Conference, scheduled for March 15, 2018. The winners of the competition are declared at the conference, which includes a $3,000 first prize, $2,000 second prize and $1,000 third prize.


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