Clearly, every week should be Ethics Week at Georgia Tech. If the name weren’t so long, we probably should call it “Ethics Education, Awareness, Recommitment, Inspiration, and Celebration Week” because that’s what the next five days are about.

Between now and Friday (Nov. 6 – 10), Georgia Tech — along with our 25 sister institutions in the University System of Georgia (USG) — will be hosting five days of activities to promote the importance of an ethical culture and the USG’s shared values of integrity, excellence, accountability, and respect.

Culture is how we choose to act and interact with each other. Every one of us creates a culture with the decisions we make and how we approach our work — especially when no one is watching. Our achievements depend not just on what we do but also how we do it — the example we set for others and the ways we respond when we or others make mistakes or do something wrong. 

A strong ethical culture starts with the example set by leaders, proceeds from a shared commitment to doing the right thing, and depends on us to report anything that doesn’t seem right. 

As a public institution that uses precious public assets; is supported by taxpayers, families, and donors; and delivers a service that is central to the future of our state and our nation, Georgia Tech must do everything in its power to gain and retain the public trust. Without it, we simply cannot do our job. And while it takes years to build trust, it only takes one mistake to undermine it. 

This year’s Ethics Week programming will feature a combination of in-person and virtual activities, conversations, games, lectures, presentations, and more. At each event, you can join campus experts, guest speakers, and staff from the Office of Ethics and Compliance to explore practical strategies for behaving ethically and responding to unethical behavior — whether in the classroom, lab, or office. 

I’m especially excited to sit down with fellow alumnus Bill George, ISE 1964, an executive fellow at Harvard Business School and the former CEO of Medtronic, to talk about ethical leadership. Learn more and view the full schedule for Ethics Week here.  

Thank you for all you do to promote an ethical culture at Georgia Tech, and I hope to see you around campus. Go Jackets!

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