As I begin the final week of Accounting Ethics, I am overwhelmed by the ground we have covered and the issues we have encountered over the past five weeks. Of course, many of them have been centered in Arkansas: the firing of head football coach Bobby Petrino for lying about a relationship with someone hired in the athletic department, the questionable hiring of his replacement who had only been head coach at Weber State for 4½ months, and the burgeoning Wal-Mart Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scandal. We have heard first-hand accounts of events at Adelphia and Enron, and we have been face-to-face for a conversation with an insider trader waiting to be sentenced.
By the middle of next week I will have read something close to 2000 papers and exams written by my students. I can only imagine that they are, as I am, sometimes overwhelmed by the constant drumbeat of bad behavior and excuses. It is only too easy to become cynical as we constantly focus on the bad guys and try to examine the motives for unjustifiable actions.
But there is something going on in some of my students that gives me a sense that they understand the importance of struggling with these issues now, rather than waiting until they are in the midst of an ethically problematic situation in a few years. I have seen leaders emerging in the classroom in ways that are not as evident to me when I teach Auditing, because they must wrestle with challenging one another about what is true and right, while still respecting one another enough to listen to opposing viewpoints. As usual, their freely chosen outside reading is varied, but I have had a number of students take on very challenging thinkers. Many of these students would not embrace the viewpoints they are reading, but they want to understand why others have come to different conclusions.
At the end of the week the students will submit to me ten or fewer principles to guide their professional lives, and their reasoning for anchoring on those principles. Some will arrive at them through their reading, some despite it. Some of those principles will be influenced by other members of their ethics accountability groups; many will come from their historic commitments to faith, to family, and to habits that already exist in their hearts.
For six weeks I am the conductor, not so much of an orchestra as of a train. I set the thing in motion in a direction, and a number hop on for the whole ride. As I look in my mirror, I can see others bailing out of a boxcar and rolling down the embankment along the tracks. I even get the occasional call from someone who was left behind in the station.
But there are some who will discover at the end of the week that this train is just a short hop run to the central station, and they will have to make a choice about which train they will hop on next. What is exciting is that I can already see some of them pulling the money out of their pocket to buy that next ticket, because their ultimate destinations matter to them.
They are well aware that they could be headed for honor or for shame, and that the choice is largely theirs. One of the most frequently repeated words I have seen used in their weekly reading summaries is “courage.” It is a virtue that they will need in great measure if they are going to swim against a societal current that does not always value ethical leaders.
But as I turn the train around and head back, I can tell you that I am hopeful. I have had long conversations with students in this class that give me great hope that they will choose well. If they do, it will not be because of me. But they have learned something of valuing the company they keep and the habits they build.
What lies ahead of them, on tracks that will never be seen by me, is the great adventure of a life lived well. It includes investment in people, valuing others and not simply personal gain. It includes the ability to say no to bad priorities and unethical people. It will also involve saying yes to things that matter and things that cost them something.
Of course, some of them will sit in the station, look at the choices, call a cab, and go home. I am not teaching this course for everybody, but for somebody. I may never know who that somebody is. But I have no need to, as long as that somebody catches the right train.
That is why I teach ethics.
Categories: Texas A&M
First, thank you for your dedication to the development of future ethical leaders. I have certainly enjoyed your course and the discussions we have engaged in for the last 5 weeks.
I am curious about not only resisting the “societal current that does not only value ethical leaders,” but also how we, as a generation, can influence that current in the opposite direction. One thing is for certain: leaders are needed to stand out and first-followers are needed to ensure those leaders don’t stand alone. In either case, courage is certainly a requirement.
I have attached a link to an interesting TED Talk about “starting a movement”:
As I review the last few weeks of ethics, I have truly been challenged to think about situations and circumstances that I have never considered before. Through the teaching provided in this class, I believe that I will be more aware of what we will face and how to overcome caving in a world that is prone to unethical behavior. Being ethical is not something that comes naturally, it is a choice to stand up for what you believe in and takes courage. One thing that really stuck out to me was Professor Roach’s talk about how one of the hardest things we will face is not necessarily that we will make unethical decisions ourselves but that we will be tempted to tolerate them. It is a scary thought to think that in doing nothing you can still be unethical. It is truly a matter of courage; courage to make the hard decision; courage to take a stand even it could cost you everything. I am grateful for this class and the principles it has strengthened in me. It is through this class I believe I will have a better understanding of the situations I may face and start to build a strong ethical foundation before the situation ever occurs.
Thank you for investing so much of yourself in this class. It is admirable how much you truly care about us and want us to lead ethical professional and personal lives. I completely agree that courage has become a big part of our discussions in this class. Most people have the ability to recognize an ethical dilemma and even to know which is the most ethical decision to make. The true issue is whether or not you have the courage to follow through with that decision. Most of the time that decision will not be the most popular or easiest thing to follow through with. Like one of the groups said, it takes twenty seconds of insane courage to accomplish great things.
I have to be honest and say that when I started this class I was hoping for a ‘blow-off’ class where we would just show up, take some notes, and all get A’s. However, throughout the course of the last 5 weeks, I have to say this class has definitely challenged my thinking and I have truly enjoyed some of the class discussions. I think it’s neat getting to hear perspectives from our peers and seeing how they view certain issues.
I think one of the things that made this class so interesting is the conversations that would carry on after class was over. Our class discussions got us thinking about topics in a different light, even if it was just asking each other, “Would you take 5 years in prison for $10 million?”
Overall, I certainly got more than I was expecting out of this class. Thank you for that.
I agree with Kelsey. Professor Roach’s speech was an interesting topic and perhaps the most relevant to us as students. His speech made me realize we face situations everyday which test our courage and how we must not sit back and tolerate unethical behavior. Of course, that’s easier said than done. This class allowed me reflect on my past behaviors and reanalyze principles that I had developed my life around. It was also interesting to see how approaches to ethical situations varied throughout the class. But, perhaps the most intriguing part of this class was listening to guest speakers who had faced tough ethical challenges. Some followed their principles and truly inspired our class while others took the easier road and lacked the courage to do the right thing. Thank you Dr. Shaub for your dedication to this class and providing thought-provoking speakers and ethical scenarios.
As I know many have already told you, I wanted to say thanks for all you have put into this class. It is evident you have a desire for your students to really grasp and understand this material in order to make those “courageous” decisions in life. I believe this class has equipped me to make smarter decisions in my future and helped me think about some tough issues I had not considered before. It is easy to see you have an honest desire to get to know each of your students on a personal level. That is something that could not be said about every professor. I like the perspective you gave on this post. It is true that this is only the beginning of a long career ahead of all of us. But even now, I catch myself thinking more over daily decisions as well as decisions I have made in the past. It has been great to have a class that is not only relevant in our career but also in our daily life.
There are various aspects of the class that have stimulated me to evaluate who I am and how i think. You have given us a tremendous gift in inspiring us to ponder and think about the impact that ethical decision making will have upon our lives and the the lives of those we love. You seem to involved and passionate about the subject. This passion i think is what has moved many of us to search for what drives us as we go through life and make decisions. I have come to a realization that now is the time to establish a solid forward looking moral foundation that will guide us as we enter the work force.
The ethics reading summaries have also inspired my to look at my past and evaluate how it has manifested in my life. I wish to thank you for encouraging me and granting me the opportunity to reflect in such a unique environment. Your passion for what you do is truly an inspiration.
I expected this class to be a boring, pointless, easy class. I was completely wrong. I found myself wanting to come to class every day to learn more about how to protect my future. While I wasn’t one of those people who actively participated in the class discussions, I loved listening to everyone’s view point and then forming my own opinion. It changed a lot of the way I look at things.
I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who got to have Dr. Shaub for audit but I am so glad I got to experience him as an ethics professor. His passion for ethics is very apparent and I have learned so much from him. I look forward to using all of the knowledge he taught he in my future career and life.
I can’t believe it is almost to the end of this semester! We have discussed so many ethical topics within a short amount time and it is really mind-blowing when think about how much I have been exposed to and learned in this class. Every weekly reading group discussion that we did and every speaker that we had, all helped to enhance my ethics learning. Some of the messages were so strong that I still think about them today. It is interesting to hear what other students’ points of view are. I would often be like, I haven’t thought about that before, but I can see his/her argument. The way Dr. Shaub leads the class is very different from his auditing class. I had to adjust myself at the beginning. Dr. Shaub rarely commented on people’s arguments. He is more directing the class discussion than telling us this is right and that is wrong. That’s the beauty of this class; it makes your mind think. How would I react in this situation? What’s my ethical standard? What do I value the most?
Thank you Dr. Shaub, for investing so much time and effort into this class. I have enjoyed the train ride.
First, thank you, Dr. Shaub, for investing your time in this class and in the students. When Garrett Bauer said he never thought of himself in an ethical context, it made me realize how relevant this class is. This class has set our minds in motion and started preparing us to face ethical dilemmas in our personal and professional lives. As we have discussed previously, our decision-making will come down to our courage to acknowledge what is wrong and take action. Professor Roach mentioned that not doing anything in an unethical situation is just as unethical as perpetrating the action. Therefore, we will each have to find the courage to break through societal norms and make the right decision.
Growing up, I’ve always thought that I was an ethical person and thus this class won’t have too much to add, in the sense that ethics seemed to be a common sense. However, so far I’ve been living in a society where I have been much protected by my family, school, professors, and friends where I didn’t encounter situations that require “hard-core” ethical decisions. The real deal will begin as I start working professionally (I guess that’s why people call it a “real-world”).
Dr. Shaub, this class was a good reminder and enforcement to think about ethics seriously and to take ethics seriously. Moreover, we now know that ethical dilemmas do not happen all of sudden, but rather they happen through the course of choices we make. I am glad that there is somebody to turn to when I am forced to make tough decisions later on. 🙂 Thank you, Dr. Shaub!
This class went by way too fast. My favorite part was when Garrett Bauer spoke to our class. I remember bragging to all my friends and family about the experience I shared with my classmates. It was a once in a life time opportunity that I will never forget, so thank you Dr. Shaub for making it happen. The idea of the Top Ten Principles instead of a final is brilliant! I cant wait until I have my own office to hang them up in. They will be a constant reminder of what I learned in this class and the importance behind it all.
Thank you very much for putting in countless amounts of your time and effort into this class. I have never had a professor do “class coffees” before, and that shows just how much you really care. I truly enjoyed this class!
Like others have mentioned in their comments, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from an “Ethics” course built into the PPA curriculum. I figured this course was meerly designed to expose us to mainstream accounting scandals (such as the Enron case) as a means to deter future accountants from repeating history. Watever the case may be in regards to what the Texas CPA board requires, I feel the time and effort you’ve invested into this course have truly made this course both relevant and constructive in shaping our ethical frameworks.
My favorite aspect of the course would have to be our discussions on the weekly summary days. Allowing students to pose thought provoking questions and engage in an open, peer-to-peer discussion was perhaps more valuable and insightful for our learning than reading fact-oriented articles and teaching ethical theories. I feel this course really left a lasting impression on us due to both your engaging teaching style and willingness to cover serious ethical content.
To be honest, when I originally registered for this class I had the same feelings that I’ve had when forced to take a defensive driving course – I understand that the class is required, but am highly doubtful that I will gain anything from it. After all, how does one teach someone to be ethical?
However after a few short classes (well, not that short) I realized that this class is not explicitly designed to teach students right from wrong, its designed to teach students about themselves. This is important because as we’ve studied in class, many of the participants in some of recent history’s worst accounting frauds were not inherently bad people. They were average people just like us, but were not prepared to face ethical dilemmas in the work place because they didn’t know the warning signs and didn’t hold true to their personal values.
This class has caused me to explore and examine my own personal values and how they can guide me both in my future career as an auditor, and in my personal life. I have thoroughly enjoyed this class and believe it is one that students across all majors should have the opportunity to experience.
I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to have taken this course from you. Whenever I thought about an ethics course, I thought the material would be boring and would be a class that I just have to go sit through and do a few outside assignments. I could not have been more wrong. This class has made me begin to think about my decisions and try to practice ethical decision making now. Even though I am not making any huge life altering decisions, I now realize that I may be in a difficult ethical position later in life and if I have not practiced making the right decision, I may not make the right decision in the future. I believe you have done an excellent job with the layout of the course. We have outside assignments, but since you have let us choose the topics of our assignments, we can really enjoy and relate to them, which encourages us to actually put in some thought instead of just getting them done for a grade.
Thanks Dr. Shaub!
Before actually taking an ethics class, I assumed it wouldn’t expand beyond simple ethical decision making models and common-sense scenarios of right and wrong. As we near the end of the course, I realize I couldn’t have been further off. Dr. Shaub operates the class in a way that offers students the ability to advance tremendously on a personal scale. He brought it over half a dozen guest speakers, some ethical, some not so ethical, to provide the students with exposure to people who have actually experienced serious ethical dilemmas in the business world. This gave me the realization that these ethical dilemmas can happen to anyone, and it is extremely important to know what your ethical principles are before your thrown into a situation. However, the part of the class that I personally benefited the most from was the full class discussions. It was a huge learning experience for me to hear all the different perspectives and the corresponding reasoning. I sometimes found myself completely changing my initial view on something after hearing a fellow student give an outstanding argument for the opposite viewpoint. Overall, this class has helped me develop professionally and personally and has really challenged me to assess my core values and find out who I am (for lack of better words). That being said, you are totally awesome Dr. Shaub. I appreciate the commitment and respect you show towards your students. Furthermore, I think you serve as a terrific role model for those you choose to surround yourself with, and I’m glad I could be bundled into that group as one of your students. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working.
The thing that struck me the most is the echo of the word courage. I think that has been the most important thing this course has taught me. It takes courage to do the right thing and to stand up for what you believe in. Doing the easy thing often results in an unethical decision, but taking the hard route and choosing to confront someone takes courage. May we all have courage as we embark on our own careers.
I have loved every second of accounting ethics. I feel that I learn something new every day. I really appreciate the fact that you care so much about your students, Dr. Shaub.
Thank you for sharing your insights on the class. I agree with you when you said, “they will have to make a choice about which train they will hop on next.” What I have really taken from this course is that we are not just sitting in a classroom and learning something for our future employer, but we are learning something that can apply to everything in our lives. We are learning how to make good choices. Whether everyone sees eye to eye on what choice to make is not the point. The point is that you must realize that there is a choice to be made.
This class has been an incredible experience. We have learned from people who have first hand committed fraud, but also from those who have been witnessed the fraud. My favorite part of this class has been making my Ten Principles to Live By. Before this class, I did not think something like the Ten Principles would be necessary. I thought good people would just act ethically, but the slippery slope is seemingly powered by a black hole, pulling you down. I see the value in grounding my feet in a solid ethical foundation. I will frame my principles in my office to remind me every day how I have committed to live. It is also my goal, that others will see and practice these principles on their own train rides through life. So thank you Professor Shaub for changing my life and many others in the future.
This is my first opportunity to take a course from you and I would really like you to know that I have tremendously enjoyed it! It is all the more meaningful to know that you were my Fish Camp Namesake. The thing with the most impact that I will take away from this class is the idea of professional skepticism. I heard it in several classes and obviously knew the definition of it, but it wasn’t until listening to Garrett Bauer that I could see the importance of it. As I sat there listening, it was amazing to see how drawn in I was to him and how much sympathy I felt for him. It wasn’t until the discussion afterwards that I could see how easy it was to forget being skeptical. It was the first ‘real-life’ time I could practice that. I was so enlightened by that and will definitely use it in my career. Thank you for teaching this class and for your genuine love for your students.
When I have described this class to others, I have always prefaced it with an: “I wish the typical learning process was constructed like this class.” I have found the fundamental curriculum of this class, the required involvement, the guest speakers, the class discussions, and the integration of real life to be quite profound when compared to all other courses I have taken at the university level. I find myself enjoying what otherwise may be dry material. I can see the spillover of what I learn in class as it affects my every day life and decision making. When I jotted out a rough draft of my “10 Principles” the other day, it felt absolutely nothing like a class assignment. I understand that some courses inherently require you to memorize facts and figures, where as ethics not so much, but nonetheless, learning is taking place. Thank you, Dr. Shaub, for investing in your students, for being hospitable, and preparing us as we begin to transition into the next stage of our lives. We are learning great things.
Dr. Shaub, I continue to be honored by your commitment to the University, Mays and the stewardship of its most prized. I think there are plenty of somebodies, looking at your blog comments alone I’m going to use a non-statistical approach and assume there are at least 100 in your class. You do it for the right reasons, I enjoy watching you and take so much pride in the fact of having had the world’s best professor, twice.
I have enjoyed this class more than you will ever know. It was a refreshing change from most other business classes, and at the same time it is one of the most essential. You challenged us to confront issues that I have never even considered, and hopefully I will never have to deal with. I believe this class gave me a solid foundation to build upon throughout my career. After one short ethics course, it is impossible to think that I have all the right answers, but I know that I have a solid footing and have the right tools to aid me in my decision making in the future. I am so glad you teach this class; it is evident how much you truly care about each and every student. I hope you continue to teach this course for many years to come.
Looking back on all of the the cases that we studied, it looks like one common theme that surfaces is that the individuals involved felt fairly isolated. I repeatedly heard speakers claim that they felt like either nobody else involved in their dilemmas cared about the ethical dimension of their decisions, that they were opposed to it, or that they were too timid to act on their qualms. I feel like one thing that I can definitely take away from the course is the confidence that it isn’t true, and that is definitely an assurance that goes a long way.
Also, I do feel like the cynicism is a bit unwarranted. After all, ethical behavior is not controversial and therefore not particularly newsworthy, and so I feel like the only instances that we hear about are the bad ones.
One of the main takeaways I have from this class is that I am not perfect. After listening, reading, and listening some more about all the mistakes people have made in their professional careers, I was reminded about some of the mistakes I have made in the past. When first hearing a lot of the cases, I wondered how could anyone let themselves sink that far? Then I remembered, through past experiences, how easy it can be to fall down the slippery slope. This class humbly reminded me that I have traveled the darker path before, and the fruits at the end of that path were not so sweet. I greatly appreciate this reminder, and hope to continue to use the lessons from this class to help me stay on the light side of the force.
I feel lucky as student to have had the opportunity to be part of such an amazing experience that has not only shaped my professional career, but my personal life as well. There were many times in class after reading an article or listening to one of the guest speaker, I was unsure if my reaction was “right”, but being part of the class discussions and hearing others prospective really challenged my mind. I was able to listen to a variety of viewpoints and reasoning behind various students’ answers. I especially enjoyed the chances where you shared your insight on an issue, while I know many times it was probably difficult to remain bias. My mind was really stretched beyond my normal ethical range throughout the duration of the course. I especially enjoyed the weekly readings, I don’t think I would have ever read the “Audacity of Hope” if it wasn’t for this course.
I thank you for granting me the opportunity to challenge myself and place into perspective the importance of my values. Thank you for your time and dedication to our learning experience. It is truly an inspiration to watch you fulfill your passion.
Thank you for the heart and soul you pour into teaching this class and investing in your students. Your work has not been in vain. It is because of teachers like you that I have considered teaching one day myself, because I know the potential a professor has to make a profound impact on his students. Grace Harms said it well: the class itself was phenomenal (and I echo Whitney in wishing more courses were structured similarly), but what was truly remarkable were the conversations that took place beyond the classroom. Students, including myself, were challenged to think about things they had never considered before. At the least, I have been able to identify the type of ethical framework I am employing in the midst of any given situation. At the most, I have been equipped to will and encouraged to act according to my own ethical standards. Thank you for being such a humble role model; it’s not so much about what you are doing as it is how and why you are doing it.
As always, thank you for your devotion and hard work. You are among one of the professors that make A&M such a prestigious place to study accounting.
I agree that our class has spent a lot of time discussing how courage, particularly the courage to the do the right thing in the face of superior pressure, will be one of our defining attributes. In addition, there was excellent discussion about what amount of courage would actually be needed to prevent oneself from becoming a discussion topic for future ethics classes.
Thank you for all that you have shared with us throughout this semester.
I have to admit, and the beginning of the course I was feeling a bit cynical. It seemed to me that the cases we were studying were just about bad people. I judged them for the decisions they had made, and could never see myself making such huge mistakes. However, over the past few weeks I have been able to actually put myself in their shoes. I have been able to sympathize with the tough situations they were faced with, and I feel like I have learned a lot. The easy decision is normally not the right decision, but I think having gone through a course like this will greatly help us all in making ethical decisions throughout our career.
At the beginning of this class, I expected it to be more focused on the different ethical philosophies. While we did thoroughly discuss this information, I definitely think that the most important parts of the class were the discussions and lessons we learned from people who have made mistakes. Many students will never have a chance to focus on these issues and think about them in such a safe setting. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to do so, and think that it will make a difference both in my professional career and personal life. Thank you for the opportunity for honest discussion, Dr. Shaub!
In classes we receive much knowledge, yet it is often knowledge without substance. Yes, our technical proficiency is necessary in the audit profession. Yet, however important learning the “tricks of the trade” may be, they will not prepare us for the ethical dilemmas we will face in our careers. This class allowed us to think past facts and processes. It allowed us to think about who we are and who we want to be and the values we must hold close to our hearts in order to get there. I know I can say I have been touched by several comments made in our Ethics class and they definitely got me thinking. For this, I thank you, Dr. Shaub, for creating an incredibly open and honest environment that permits us to dig deep.
I am happy to see that so many others see the importance of courage. Many of us have a moral compass and know what is right and wrong prior to making a decision, but that means nothing without the courage to make the right decison. Nearly all of the fraudsters we studied in this class knew the decisions they made were bad, though they continued to do so. Many of them were not bad people, yet they are shown as one to the public. The difference in a good person who gets caught in a “slippery slope” of bad decisions and a good person who sticks to his/her ideals is courage.
Looking back on the past few weeks of class, I never thought that it would effect me like it has. We have had in depth discussions about many different ethical situations arising from our readings, class discussions, and real world examples. Before the class started I never thought that this class that I heard was a joke would have such an impact on me. I never thought about the impacts of some of the decisions that we will have to face in our career and the effects it will have on others. I have learned a lot about myself from this class and hope that if I find myself in an ethical decision I will stick to my principals and make the right decision
Thank you for your dedication to this class. I believe that this ethics class has been eye opening to the ethical attitudes that run throughout the student body of the Accouting department.
The class has actually changed my opinion on what immorality looks like and to what degree one can look the other way. I have had to reflect on several decisions I had and will make and have come to the conclusion that more often than not I do not take the time needed to truly explore my ethical motives. Thank you for showing how ethics, faith, and the pursuit of self awareness can lead to a more fulfilling experience.
I want to thank you for taking so much time and energy to teach this class, in hopes that the seeds you plant will grow in at least one student and effect their decision making for the rest of their lives. This class is the best class I have ever taken because it requires us to think, not about equations or journal entries, but about decisions and emotions that matter to our future. Without this course, I think a lot of us would have futures similar to the people we have talked about in class. But now our eyes are opened to the decisions we can make as long as we have the courage to make them. So thank you, and I know that at least for me, your efforts and goals for this class have not been wasted.
First off, thank you for everything you have done for this class. You passion for teaching is so evident in every class, discussion, meeting I have had with you.
I started this semester filling out the information sheet, and the question that you ask, “what do we hope to learn from this class?” I honestly had no idea what I was going to get out of it. As the semester flew by, I found myself questioning the decisions made by the people we talked with, and even past decisions I have made throughout my life, that is something that I never thought this class would bring me. I know now that every ethical decision I am faced with that I will base it off of my own moral code, and I cannot thank you enough for that.
First of all I want to say thank you for the time you have spent not only in class but outside of class.
I really do believe that we always come back to the topic of courage. The courage to stand up to people, the courage to tell the truth and the courage to go against the grain. This class has taught me to think before I act or say something. We need to be true to ourselves and stick to what we believe in. We may not know the right answer but we can do everything we can to make sure we get to the result in an ethical matter.
I really knew nothing about this course when I signed up for it, and it definitely separated itself from other classes in terms of teaching style. Ethics is always a touchy subject, where right and wrong are not always clear in many situations. I’m glad this course was taught in a way for us to exercise our own minds and our own judgments. We rarely think of ethics on a daily basis, and when we do we don’t give it much analysis or the time it deserves.
Dr. Shaub never pushed his ethical principles or his viewpoint onto the class. Instead, he pushed ourselves to find our own values and to build our own foundation through our reading, through the experiences of the guest speakers, and most importantly discussing controversial topics among our EAG.
Discussion is really the key for this class to work. I may not have spoken up in class about my views but my mind was constantly challenged. It made me think of both sides of every situation, and it allowed me the chance to step back and see the bigger picture. This is an opportunity we don’t really get once we graduate and step into the real world.
Like many of the classmates above, I want to thank you Dr. Shaub for finding the right formula for this class. It easily could have been a PowerPoint course, but instead you took the more difficult route and challenged us to think for ourselves. I look forward to reading more of your blog entries even after this class is over.
What will I remember from ethics?
I’ll remember a professor that invested so much of his time reading and listening to all of the opinions and comments of his students. This professor was a leader by example both inside and outside the classroom. This classroom was a honest and respectful group of individuals that made me comfortable talking about my personal experiences and aspirations.
This was a course that taught me about the most important aspect of life, decision-making. We will be faced with daily decisions for the rest of our lives. Students, speakers, and yourself have talked about personal decisions, right or wrong, and the consequences of those decisions. Sometimes we will make mistakes, but we must always remember that we are human beings.
Finally, you have challenged me to be a person of integrity, a person of character. You have challenged me to go against the “societal current.” I can be successful in my career, and keep my faith in God and dedication to my family.
I wanted to start my thanking you for all the time and effort you have put into this course. What I have enjoyed most about taking your classes, including your audit course, is the challenge. You are always pushing us to work harder and think deeper. Whether it is a 100 question audit exam or a goup discussion on ethics, your leadership has allowed us to grow not just as professionals, but personally as well. The most important thing I will take from this class is the idea of tolerating ethical behavior. I have come the the realization that tolerating unethical behavior is the same as acting unethically yourself. It was something that I had never really taken into consideration until this semester. Thank you again for all you have done and I look forward to reading more of these blog entries after the course has concluded.
Thank you for your commitment to this class. The most exciting part for me is to have so many great speakers. I learned from their stories, thought about the situations they encountered, and questioned myself what choices I would make. This is a journey for me. I talked about those speeches with friends from other majors after class. I found out that different people from different backgrounds can have various opinions and reasoning processes, which is fascinating. The most valuable part for me is the ten principles. I developed and organized them throughout the semester. This process makes me think what qualities I have that can help me make right choices, and what qualities I lack that I need to be cautious of. I also learned from the class and group discussion and your presentation. It is an important part for me to understand others and build my own valuation structure.
Thank you so much for putting so much of yourself into this class. It truly makes a difference everyday knowing our professor has so much enthusiasm for the material and his students’ learning.
This class challenged us to not only ask ‘why,’ but also to reflect on the answer and not simply accept it. It is important to assess every viewpoint of the situation in order to make an educated decision. You may not agree with someone else’s opinion, but you can certainly respect it and learn from it. This aspect of the class tied back to Auditing because the underlying theme here is professional skepticism. We cannot afford to be “yes men/women.” We must challenge ourselves and others to think critically throughout our careers just like we have done in this class.
I believe that the statements above accurately depict our group as a whole. While some will buy into the program, others will not. It is hard to grab the attention of the whole group and expect everyone to get plugged in and fully engaged with the program.
Despite these comments, I believe that you have done an excellent job with this course through your teachings, your lectures, and the guest speakers you brought in. Regardless of the level that people get out of this class, I believe that it will have an impact on everyone in the class in showing them the right direction on how to live their lives and because of that, I thank you for your willingness to guide us in the right direction.
I have now taken both auditing and ethics with you and just wanted to let you know my respect for you as a professor and as a man I look up to has grown more than I ever expected. The dedication you put forth with everything you do including this class makes the outcomes of your actions exceptional.
This class has been a real eye opener for me, the speakers we have been able to hear from and discussions held in class have showed me real life examples of how people can justify their unethical actions. There was one instance in class where a speaker was asked if they considered themselves ethical before being exposed of a fraud they committed. Their answer was “I had never given it much thought”. I believe to be a moral person you must have confidence in your morals and constantly ask your self if your actions are inline with your code of ethics. After taking this course and asking myself if I think I’m ethical I can say “yes I am”, with confidence.
First off, thank you for everything you have done for us during our college career. Having you for both Ethics and Audit has been one of the most valuable learning experiences of college.
I liked how you mentioned courage in your post. I think this is one of the most common themes in ethical decisions, and it is one of my 10 guiding principles. It’s so sad to see individuals, like Betty Vinson and David Duncan, not have the courage to speak up about unethical situations throughout their career. I also find it amazing how students have had to combat these issues already in our college experiences.
During student body elections, I would wake up and pray every morning that God would give me the courage and wisdom to make the right decisions. Also, in one of the many letters of encouragement given to me throughout the process, I received a quote by C.S. Lewis: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” I eventually started reading this quote every morning, because it could not be closer to the truth. Every single virtue or principle builds on courage, because you have to have the courage to embark on any decision. Whether easy or hard, ever decision requires you to step out on a limb into the unknown. Courage and faith is what allows us to step out onto that limb. I can only hope that I continue to have/further develop courage so that I make the most ethical decisions in the future.
Once again, thank you for everything.
This course has been very surprising and I have learned about a lot of things in class as well as in myself. The quality of the guest speakers as well as your own lessons have been outstanding. What I think is really amazing is the change I have seen in myself over such a short period of time. I’m constantly surprised by how I consider my actions more carefully in very normal situations where I would never have even considered ethics.
Something I was thinking about is how fast your mindset can change depending on your surroundings. Just like this class has caused a change in me in a positive way, I can see how quickly a negative environment could affect a change in a person without even realizing it. It’s kind of a scary thought. If just 5 weeks of an ethical environment can change someone, how much faster could that change happen in an unethical environment?
Aaron, when people ask me if you can teach ethics, they always mean, “Can you teach ethics up?” Everyone knows you can teach them down–and in a hurry. If you can’t teach ethics, what else can’t you teach? What would be so exclusive about this area of learning that it can’t be taught?
That is true. If by “teaching ethics” you mean teaching students about ethics and why they are important. However, there is a very intangible connection between learning about ethics and really internalizing the lessons taught in the course. I think that you have been able to make that connection and drive home the necessity of having strong ethical values in a very effective way.
I was elated to hear that I would yet again have the opportunity to take a course from you. As many have mentioned above, you have a true gift that motivates us as students to dig deeper in even the most unsettling situations. By posing such stimulating and profound discussions you have began to uncover the strengths and vulnerabilities unique to us all. Throughout these six weeks I have developed a true sense of the ethical viewpoint and lifestyle I hope to uphold. Above all, I have learned that our fundamental core values are the driving force to future success and happiness. Thank you for devoting so much of your time and energy into this course, you have truly made a lasting impact.
While I can’t speak for everyone in our class, I can speak about myself when I say what we have learned have made a huge impact on me. I have a very strong ethical background but what I had never been able to understand is how people can make obvious unethical decision. Through this class, I may not still completely understand I have now been more open minded to people’s mistakes. I don’t judge an unethical decision without know all the facts.
Dr. Shaub, you may not remember all of our names and faces through the years. And you may not know what happens to us once we graduate. But know that you have touched our lives in ways that we will all remember. I have a great respect for what you do. You have guided us in the right direction, but now it is up to us to continue on that path.
I admire the students who took on challenging books. It takes courage to ask why, to listen, and to learn from others’ views. Seeking out opposing views in order to learn is something with which I struggle. Often I am drawn to those who see things as I do. While this helps reinforce my current views, it does broaden my understanding. I respect people who challenge the norm. These people will be the innovators of tomorrow. I chose to read Business As A Calling by Michael Novak for my weekly readings. He said, “True creators have a passionate love for learning; they thirst to get reality straight and true.” I think Dr. Shaub has exemplified this thirst over the past five weeks and I hope to continue acquiring it.
This class has really made me think deeply about what I would in certain situations that I will experience in my future. How do I know that I will not be tempted to do the wrong thing? It makes it harder for me to judge people that have committed unethical acts because I know that most of them are just normal people that got caught up in bad decisions. Luckily, those situations and this class has helped me understand that I need to stay true to my personal values. This class made me determine what my true values are and I think they will help me in making not only decisions in my profession, but all the decisions I have to make in my life.
I’m also really glad that you taught us how important our priorities are. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and forget about the other important things in life. I hope to remember my priorities every day that I go into work. This class had a much bigger influence on me than I presumed it would. I know that this will be one of the most important topics that I will use every day. Thank you for all that you have taught us and how much you care for all of your students.
First and foremost, thank you for your dedication to this course and to the students. Whether it is by bringing in high caliber speakers, or presenting us with new ethical theories, you consistently contributed to our learning experience.
As you said, we have gone over a large amount of material over the past five weeks. Through our discussions and listening to people who have made ethical mistakes, one thing is clear. Ethical values are not something to be taken lightly. These decisions will occur in real time with high pressures, and I can honestly say that this class has given students the courage to make ethical choices. While we may be at the train station deciding which route to take in the future, I feel privileged that Dr. Shaub left us pointing in the right direction.
Thank you so much for taking us on your ethics train and I really enjoy this journey. If possible, I hope this train never ends. At least, it will never end in my soul.
It is really my honor and my great pleasure to take your ethics class in this short semester. Some of the thoughts and principles I learned in this class are crucial in helping me develop my life principles. One of the main takeaways for me is keeping asking why. Yes, we are not the ones knowing everything. Having a curious mind can make our life more interesting and valuable. I also got to know a lot from different cases, from our guest speakers, and from your valuable lectures. I believe, at some point or another in my life, when I encounter silimar situations or have some problems, I will figure that out, or at least, I will get to the right track.
First of all, I want to thank you for your commitment to this class and more specifically your students. This is evident given the countless speakers you had come to speak to our class especially when you arranged for Garrett to speak to us. When I came into the class I was expecting to sit in a chair and vegetate for an hour every day based on the stories that I had been told by other students before us. However, this class has been a real eye opener for me.
Prior to taking this class, I have always viewed ethics as something that was black and white. It wasn’t until individuals like Professor Roach and Mike Burwell came into the classroom and posed ethical scenarios relevant to the accounting profession, that I realized how difficult it can be to make ethical decisions. This class really challenged my opinions and made me think more closely about making those decisions. It’s unfortunate that the class is only six weeks long.
Thank you for your full commitment to this class. It is refreshing to have a teacher who is transparently here for all the right reasons. Dr. Fiechtner once told us that trust is believing the other individual has your best interest in mind. I think it is apparent that the students of this class trust you.
Throughout these past few weeks, I have thought about my decisions and the implications of those decisions more than ever. This class has not only been applicable to the business world but in every area of my life. It has challenged me as a person and in my faith. My bible study is about to shoot me if they hear me say “well, in my ethics class we discussed…” one more time. I believe growth is found when we are being proactive. Thank you for making this a proactive class.
One thing I have found to be consistent with the unethical situations we have discussed revolves around the lack of a desire to be moral and to strive for a great life for themselves. Just as you stated, we choose to be great people and do great things because “[our] ultimate destinations matter to [us],” however men such as Madoff, Rajaratnam, and Bauer lack this desire. While their immediate destination may have mattered to them, their ULTIMATE destination had no bearing on their actions.
This gives me hope that if we focus on our actions and the results of these actions then we will reach our ideal ultimate destination.
Thank you Dr. Shaub! Not to be repetitive, but I just want to give credit where credit is due. You truly are one of few professors that I can honestly say I have learned so much from; about auditing, ethics, and life in general. I feel that Texas A&M is so lucky to have a professor on its faculty like you, and I believe we are all better people and will be more successful after being in this course.
Before this course, I never really thought about ethics being a real issue. I felt that I, as well as most of my peers, was a generally good person. Over the past five weeks, we’ve all been challenged and made to think about tough ethical situations. Learning to think in this way really will benefit us as we move into our professional lives and I am so glad that I am more prepared for that.
Thanks again Dr. Shaub!
I have always been skeptical about classes teaching ethics. This is because I believe people’s principles and values are developed at a much younger age–through family, faith, early experiences, and friends. However this class has impacted my thinking in a way I was not expecting. I think in a sense it has not changed my values and principles, but it has made me aware that situations might sneak up on me where I will end up in an ethical dilemma. With WorldCom for Betty Vinson, she thought she was making a one time entry. I could see how someone would easily rationalize that and think that in a month it would be fixed. However, now that I am aware of that situation and others that start with a small action, I know as I navigate through my career that I will be much more aware of even the small decisions I make.
Also, I understand from this class that duties prevent our actions more than consequences, but I think it has been good for us to see the consequences that have happened to people due to their unethical actions. Seeing how Garrett Bauer has lost everything, is about to go to prison, and still has money he owes once he is out, that right there will keep me from ever considering insider trading. On a smaller scale, when Mike Burwell talked about the lost USB drive in the mail and the consequences that intern might face, I realized that I need to always think before making decisions. So while my awareness of my duties as an auditor have increased, my awareness of the consequences also increased. I believe both awarenesses will help me navigate through ethical dilemmas I will face in my career.
This class has allowed me to view many sides of an ethical dilemma. Before this class, I viewed eithics as being a large event that will have major consequences if the wrong decision is made. I now understand that many of the ethical decisions I will make in my life may be relatively small and only impact myself. However, it is not just about the effect it will have on others, but how it will define my character in the long run. My ethics always need to be reevaluated and kept in check by trustworthy people I surround myself with. I never would have given so much thought into these topics without the help of this class.
Throughout this entire class, and as mentioned in the blog above, I have felt like the theme of courage has been very impactful. My Grandfather on my mom’s side served in the Navy and my other grandfather was a police officer in some rough areas of Houston, and because of this I feel like I have always grown up in a family that has encouraged the value of courage. We have seen examples of this in many of the whistle blower’s lives, as well as the lives of people who would rather leave their job then succumb to unethical behavior. But lately I have found great inspiration of courage in the MSC.
With the new MSC being open just a little longer then the a week, I have spent many hours wondering its halls and rooms, reminiscing about what once was, and experiencing what now is. You would be hard pressed to find a table or even a seat in the MSC right now, but in the north east corner is an area where I have seen few students studying; an area that embodies the word courage. In this part of the MSC stand memorials for Aggies who have received the Medal of Honor as well as a listing of all Aggies who have given their lives for the service of this nation. After taking the time to read each story on the memorials, I couldn’t help but have a better appreciation of the word courage.
If you haven’t already done so, I would encourage you to go read the stories of those Aggies who displayed so much courage. I promise you won’t regret it.
I think courage needs to be something that marks anyone who serves the general public. I try to live a life of courage every day, but one of my favorite verses comes to mind when I feel I don’t have that courage in me: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9
I would like to thank you for all you have done to make this class as interesting as it has been. You have taken a topic that has been drilled into our heads from the first day on this campus and spun it into something that will affect each and every one of us in our careers.
At first, I was skeptical about what I would learn from this class. I assumed that I would learn the basics: do the right thing, don’t steal, etc., but I never thought that I would learn so much about how an average person (much like the rest of us) can be pressured into doing something unethical and even illegal.
I have always considered myself an ethical person but I have never been seriously pressured to commit some unethical act that could ruin my career and further more my reputation. I’ve always believed that I have a strong moral compass but after listening to several stories of unethical behavior, I have found myself asking “Would I have done the same thing?” We can all say we wouldn’t be unethical in our careers in the classroom, but when our job is at stake, can we really say the same?
Dr. Shaub, your class has left an everlasting imprint in my academic career that I am sure will carry over to my professional life. Thank you for your hard work and the lessons that we have all learned in the past 6 weeks.
First of all, I want to say thank you for your dedication to this class and to us as students. I definitely did not foresee how this class could impact my life the way it has.
It is funny how we always seem to come back to the topic of courage, but I don’t think that this is by mistake. We’ve learned a lot about our duties as professionals, understanding what our values are, and being able to consider consequences as a result of our actions. But if that’s all we’ve learned, I count it as lost. I don’t believe that knowing these things is enough. This is where courage comes in. To be able to act upon our duties, our values, and regarding the consequences is what I see as the bigger picture of this course. Sure, knowing and figuring out what our values and our foundation for making decisions is very important, but if we aren’t able to act upon that, to have the courage to act, then what good is that? I also saw this from the various guest speakers we’ve had come talk to us and the different cases we’ve looked at. Some people acted upon their beliefs and others didn’t. This “courage factor” is something I’ve definitely come to grasp as a result of this class.
It is hard to believe that our ethics class is already coming to and end. I have to say in the 4 years I have spent here at A&M never have I had a class make such an impact my growth as a student and a professional, especially in such a short period of time.
I have always assumed that the right or “ethical decision” was usually obvious, but after taking this course I have changed the way I look at these types of situations. Through the various speakers, readings, and discussions we have had, I truly believe I am much better prepared to face tough ethical decisions when I am confronted with them.
I would like to thank you for teaching this class in a way where class participation and real world examples consumed most the course. I have personally learned an immense amount regarding ethical decision making. I have even have grew as a person during the course because I now will think at a deeper level when making tough decisions. Having the guest speakers tell their stories only showed us that we will face ethical decisions in our lives and it isnt a “well it wont ever happen to me” kind of thing. Also, learning from real world past mistakes will better our future. I believe each and every student has learned how to be more ethical and be true to your core values from this class.
I am very intrigued by the word ‘courage’ being thrown around so often. It is undeniable the people we found in many of our cases either had it or they did not, but I often wonder where exactly it comes from. Many I have talked to say it is innate. It is a character trait that any individual may possess, but I feel courage is amplified through fellowship and community.
How many times have you seen a firefighter go into a burning building alone? How often do soldiers enter a fight without their squad, or a pilot their wing-man? Not often.
It is undeniable each of us will enter situations in which we will have to show courage under fire, but one of us is not as strong as all of us. The bonds I have seen being forged in Group 20 are powerful ones. To not use these bonds as support or reassurance would I think be an injustice. I feel the community we have created can be a source of courage as we embark upon each of our careers.
I first off wanted to thank you for your dedication to your students and for leading your classes in the manner that you do. I have had numerous professors since starting my college career four short years ago, and none of them have impacted me in a way like you have. It is evident that you truly care for your students, and I can only hope that I can become a man that is as credible as you are one day.
Before taking this class, I had never really given much thought into what it truly meant to being ethical. I always felt that I was raised by my parents to do the right thing, and as I grew older I took this for granted. I was naive to the world around me, and I always assumed that whenever I was faced with a decision, I would always act ethically. After taking this class, I have realized that I experience ethical situations every day and I need to consider how others will be affected based on my actions. The turning point for myself during this class was the discussion we had on lying. Even though you might have good intentions behind telling a lie, what does that say to others about your credibility when you do so? This discussion has made me step back from situations I am in, and not only ask myself if what I am doing is ethical, but also hold those around me accountable as well. As the Aggie Honor code state “An Aggie does not lie cheat or steal, nor tolerate those who do”.
I can happily say that this class has had a positive effect on me. Of all the class’ components, the weekly ethics reading summaries and discussions have had the most profound effect on me.To be completely honest, I dismissed the idea of reading a book and writing summaries at first, as I am not much of a reader. Fortunately, I soon discovered that the discussions helped me better define my beliefs. I found it extremely beneficial to discuss ethical issues with people whose opinions differ substantially from my own. For the first time in my four years at A&M, I felt that everything I’ve learned in a class is applicable in the real world. Professional or not, everyone will face significant dilemmas in the course of their lives. It is better to prepare now rather than later for these dilemmas.
I can only imagine what an ethics course was like 15 years ago. I also can’t help but think that if I wasn’t stimulated and enagaged in a class such as yours I would be more prone to making unethical choices – even if I didn’t realize I was. It really makes me think how fortunate I am to be able to sit in a class room at Texas A&M taught by such an oustanding professor. I realize that not all are given the opportunities I have been, and for that I am extremely thankful to A&M and to you in particular.
Your dedication to us as students and to our university is something I have never seen before from a professor at Texas A&M. It’s unprecedented the amount of care and hard work you put in to ensure that we as students learn the material and are able to apply what we have learned (for me both in ethics and audit) from class into the real world and avoid being in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
I feel you have given me the tools to succeed in the professional world and make the correct decisions whenever I am faced with an ethical dilemma. Anytime I am asked to do something that would seem ethically suspect I will always look back to this class and base my decision off of the material. Thank You very much for not only being a teacher but for caring that we learn the material and that we have the tools to succeed. You have laid the foundation for me to be an ethically sound person and for that i am forever grateful.
Thank you very much Dr. Shaub
The information we have discussed throughout the course has been beneficial. One thing for certain is that we will all have to make tough decisions at some point. The speakers you brought in to the classroom provided insight on how to go about making these decisions. The theme that it takes courage to act ethically enforced that it is not easy to always make the right decisions, but it is honorable and acceptable to do so. I feel confident that my train will stay on the right tracks despite what lies ahead due to the knowledge I gained in this course.
I have really enjoyed this ethics course and hearing the guest speakers’ stories. Many of these stories have been impactful, like Dr. Nixon’s story of his son-in-law and his courage to go with his gut feeling when there was more than $100 million on the line and Mike Burwell’s real life stories of the intern and the top performer at PWC. Many other courses touched the topic of ethics but I feel like this course has really opened my eyes to what could really happen in the workforce. It also makes me think to myself if I will have the courage to stand up for what I believe and remain ethical. This is not to say that I do not have a good ethical framework, but it is so easy for us to sit in our classroom and claim that we would do differently than, say, David Myers or David Duncan, but would we really? We would never know unless we were in that situation.
I think that the only way we can prepare ourselves for these situations is to really follow our principles day in and day out. There is a quote that I really liked in the book that I have been reading for this class by A.C. Grayling. It states, “A life lived without forethought or principle is a life so vulnerable to chance, and so dependent on the choices and actions of others, that it is of little real value to the person living it.” I feel like taking this ethics class and writing our principles that we will take with us on our profession is a step forward toward living an ethical life.
You have taught an inspiring mini-mester ethics class this year. The life lessons that we’re presented daily will remain a core influence in my daily decision making. My favorite part of the course was how you tailored ethics around each individual. The weekly reading of our choice and the ethical discussions that brought multiple perspectives to the dilemmas were stimulating. It was educational to see that everyone struggles with ethical situations, it’s common for people to make mistakes, and that you have to prepare yourself and rely on instinct and moral background to make the right decision.
Thanks for your integrity and honesty as a professor, you set a great example for A&M students.
I am always blown away by your humility and selflessness; it is truly inspiring. As exemplified above when you state, “I am not teaching this course for everybody, but for somebody. I may never know who that somebody is. But I have no need to, as long as that somebody catches the right train.” That right there is the definition of selfless service. There are so many times in life when we do not ever meet the people our actions and decisions impact, whether it is positive or negative. For me, that is what gets me excited about life: finding a way to serve people knowing that I may never see the result of my work. I think it is easy for us to believe that the only way to validate our work is through the return we receive. I believe this is often what leads to greed, and where we can begin to lose courage in order to produce larger gain. However, I also realize that we live in a world with a “societal current that does not always value ethical leaders.” That is where I feel like your class has helped prepare me to not be afraid to stand out and be different. Over the past few weeks I feel I have developed a deeper meaning of Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Thank you for teaching an inspiring ethics course this mini-mester. The daily life lessons from the presentations and discussions will provide a great background for decision making in the future. I enjoyed that your teaching style was interactive with our own passions and values and that ethical dilemmas were discussed and sometimes debated within the room. Every class was engaging and brought with it a new perspective to a common issue.
I’m very glad that this class exceeded my expectations of a “textbook ethics class” and was able to build on my moral framework in an engaging manner. Thanks for setting a great example for students with your honesty and integrity as a professor.
Oops… Sorry for the double comment. I thought it didn’t post when my Internet went down
Since ethics is such a broad topic and can be taught in about a million different ways, I really wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this course. I understood the some of the underlying principles behind making ethical decisions before taking the course, as much of that is innate in our character. After the six week course full of lectures, discussions, and presentations, it wasn’t all the information I learned that really impacted me. I felt that the most influential part of the course was never spoken. For me, being presenting with ethical dilemma after ethical dilemma caused me to constantly think about what decision I would make in that situation and why I would make it. This, in turn, refined my principles and morals because I had to think about what I believed and why I believed it.
When this class first started I felt like it was just a bunch of hypothetical situations that were pretty much irrelevant. To be honest, I still feel like some of the speaker’s presentations were irrelevant. However, other’s weren’t. I have to say that this class offered some of the most unique experiences I’ve been a part of inside the classroom. At first, I didn’t think this class would have much impact on my ethical decision making. But after 4 weeks of ethics everyday, I’m finding myself listening more and more to my conscience when making decisions. This class has definitely had an impact on my decision making and improved my judgement.
I must admit that, when I came into this course, I had an entirely different expectation of what the course was going to entail. I guess I expected the class to be more or less just a course where we would memorize different parts of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and other types of uninvolved thought. Rather, the course was quite the opposite. I found the class discussion to be very involved, and unlike many of the accounting courses we are required to take, even the material itself was interesting.
I think the sole reason that this class was so effective was the fact that you, as the teacher, seemed so genuinely enthusiastic about the implications of ethical decision making. I realize that many of the other students have already said this, but I sincerely appreciate the amount of yourself that you have poured into this class. Without a leader that is so genuinely interested in the growth of his students, a class like this wouldn’t have impacted so many students in such a positive manner. This is one of the few classes in my college career that I have actually looked forward to attending.
Thank you very much for all your help through out this course. I learned much more than I expected. I know what integrity, honesty and trustworthiness mean since I was little but I never think about them so seriously as what I have been doing for the last six weeks. The point impressed me the most is “most of us are bad calculators.” I think the reason ethical scandals occured is because people do their calculations wrong. Wealth and fame are overestimated and virtues and duties are underestimated or even ignored. Precise calculation is rarely possible since a lot things are really unmeasurable, but I will try to be a good calculator in future and balance carefully between duties and consequences.
I have always considered myself as the “play by the rules” type, and even more so after joining the Corps of Cadets. As a senior in the Corps of Cadets, I have had to make decisions that impact many people, especially impressionable freshmen. We’ve gone through many Corps leadership classes that are supposed to help us think ethically, and although they’ve helped me a little, I feel like I learned much more from your class. I attest this to your teaching style, and also to the content. By repeatedly referring back to the different types of decision making techniques in class lectures, WERs, and ESEMs, I have found it natural to transfer these concepts over into real life decision making.
The Aggie Corps prides itself on its corps values of Honor, Discipline, Integrity, and Selfless Service, but I feel like we often fall short of these values. We are on the right track to bettering our leadership program, but correctly tackling ethical awareness in the Corps is necessary. I’ve done my best to address these issues with the people around me, especially the freshmen and sophomores in my outfit. Although they may not be able to name the different terms for ethical decision making, they’ve all heard me remind them to consider consequences, our moral code, and our duties as cadets before making a decision. Thanks for all your lessons this year, and I hope I have managed to pass down the importance of making balanced ethical decisions to the cadets around me.
Denise, you haven’t waited to leave this place to have a significant influence. I have every confidence that you will be an incredible leader for a lifetime. Thanks for being committed to that role.
I want to start by saying you have been the most inspirational professor I have ever had the fortune of having. This my second class taught by you and in that time, I have learned and noticed many things. One that really jumps out at me is how hardworking you are and how much effort you put into your work. I can only imagine how long it takes for you grade all the papers and evaluations that we do and what you give up to spend your time on doing that. Obviously you would rather be spending that time with your wife and family, but it means so much to you that we take in the foundations of being a professional and ethical human being, that you are willing to sacrifice those things for us. I admire everything you do and what you stand for, and will strive to follow the principles that you helped us set out for ourselves so that we have a successful and honest career. I feel this class will affect my future more than any other class i have ever taken. While all the technical details are important, I believe the most important knowledge I have gained is from the class. I know that if I follow the ideas learned in this class, that my life will be successful including outside of the workplace. After taking this class, I know that my judgement when dealing with situations involving ethical decisions has vastly improved. Thank you.
I personally I liked your comment that this was just the beginning of our professional lives. I found the principles assignment to be difficult in terms of depth. We have so much to experience in the coming years that will shape who we are as people, that I found it difficult to set down meaningful principles to myself that would always be applicable. I think this class gave us time to think about the decisions we make and the motives behind them. Often we overlook the core of what we do. I appreciate you providing an avenue for us to explore the often ignored subjects.
I admit that I was one who did not “understand the importance of struggling with these issues now.” When dealing with situational ethics in previous classes, I was always a bit disillusioned when it came to class discussions. In my experience, the result was often moral grandstanding on issues of a gravity which students did not fully grasp.
That was not the case with this class. While I still feel that at times we can get a bit self-righteous, our experiences on campus and as interns have given us a legitimate outlook on ethical issues. Furthermore I have realized the importance of facing these issues before they actually arise. If we can think about these situations with a cool head and nothing on the line, we will be better prepared to face them when everything is on the line.
As I read your post, I realized that one word you used at the end of your second paragraph embodies the most important concept I will take away from ethics. You state that the actions committed by the fraudsters we discussed in class were “unjustifiable.” While that may be true for outsiders evaluating the situation, the overwhelming majority of the frausters themselves had a way of justifying the crimes they committed. In my opinion, this process of rationalizing and justifying unethical decisions, is at the core of the foundation for why people make decisions that result in scandals which cost people their jobs and cost institutions millions. I would venture to guess that the majority of people who commit fraud do not, haphazardly, decide to do so in the form of a single, intentionally unethical, $100mil entry. It begins with them taking an unethical situation and simply asking themselves “am I seeing this right?, is there a way that this can actually be ethical?.” Asking those questions is usually the beginning of the end, and your council in class, on developing overriding principles, is one of the only things that can combat that temptation. Thank you for your time, both in and outside of class this semester. Your dedication to your students is greatly appreciated.
First of all I want to thank you for taking the time and patience to teach this class. I know that most of us just came back from our internships not motivated to be back in school. For me, you changed that, I looked forward to the discussions we had in class and enjoyed the outside readings.
On another note, I agree with the statement that we are “sometimes overwhelmed by the constant drumbeat of bad behavior and excuses.” I wanted to believe the best in people, but after hearing, first hand, these stories, it’s hard not to be cynical. I hope that I will be able to look past all that and focus on the good and just be aware of the bad. I think you have placed me on that road and I look forward to continuing down it.
I really appreciate all the time that you spent teaching and grading for this class. At the begining of the semester and all through BUSN 205, I believed that a person could not be taught to be more ethical, but after this class, I believe that you can be taught ethics. I really enjoyed this class and am quite disappointed I did not have you for auditing. Thanks for the great semester.
Shaub for President.
I appreciate everything you have helped me with the last two semesters. You have gone above and beyond your duty as a professor both in and outside of the classroom and I will always remember that.
One of the key things that will stick with me from the class is how I was forced to reflect on my own ethical character and put my self in specific situations. I feel that this gave me a foundation to be able to work through dilemmas later on in the real world. It was apparent that many people got dragged into fraudulent behavior because they were caught off gaurd and not because they were bad people. Perhaps if they had just taken some time to reflect before hand they could have worked out the situation in their heads a little better and made different choices.
None of the classes I have taken so far had a profound effect as this one. We have learned so much during a short period of time. And the lessons learned are so valuable that they’ll equip us to deal with situations throughout our lives.
From the discussions we had to the speakers we got a chance to interact with, it was an invaluable experience. I really appreciate you telling us stories about your life and the challenges you faced during your career. It definitely gives us an insight on how to balance our life well
I am only in the second week of this ethics class and I can already see the profound effect it will have on me, my professional life, and my personal life. I have grown up in a Christian home, founded on Biblical principles of right and wrong. I have been protected from difficult situations that challenge me ethically; my family and friends are more than “good.” But, I just got back from my internship and quickly learned what the “real world” looks like. It is not full of rainbows and sunshine, although there are moments of that, but it is a world of problems and darkness. This class is instilling in me a stronger desire and recognition of the need for ethical behavior, no matter the positive or negative effects. I am excited to continue to develop principles to live by as I continue in accounting and whatever else I know God has for me. Thank you for leading the class well in discussion and being open with us about your own experiences.
Dr. Shaub, I can clearly see the role that you play as a conductor, where you help guide our discussions as we navigate through the grey areas. I can see that a lot of us struggle with similar questions, as displayed by the questions we come up with on Monday. I am looking forward to the rest of this class – I feel it will be instrumental in my life.
Thank you for all the work you put into this!
First, thank you for your dedication and kind suggestion. I wish I had chosen more couses of you. Before coming to this class, I thought it would content more about ethic theory. But the interesting contents (typical cases), your humor but inspiring comments, and the creative form of the course suprised me in the first class. Combining with those unethical cases doesn’t cast a shadow on us, instead, it causes us to think deeply about what we should do under that situation, whether it’s possible for us to make any difference if we were the one in the case. And students are really active in this class under your encouragement. Everyone has a different idea. My view was broadened a lot while listening to them stating their perspectives. This couse definitely will have an impact on both my way of acting, and my way of thinking.
“One of the most frequently repeated words I have seen used in their weekly reading summaries is “courage.” It is a virtue that they will need in great measure if they are going to swim against a societal current that does not always value ethical leaders.”
This paragraph really stood out to me when reading this blog because I have found courage to be a big theme throughout this class as well. In the book I’m reading about Cynthia Cooper, courage is a consistent theme. In addition, our textbook defines integrity as having the courage to stand by your principles. This course has opened my eyes and challenged me to think about my own ethical principles. I have never thought in such detail about how big of a role ethics and morals play in our everyday lives. From the guest speakers to reading articles about some of the biggest fraud scandals in corporate history, I have learned how susceptible we really are to being in a similar situation. I’ve learned valuable lessons about honoring your integrity and having the courage to stand your ground in tough ethical situations that I will strive to adhere to as I enter public accounting. And for that, I thank you for teaching this class.
I am writing this in response to the below sentences from your blog.
“One of the most frequently repeated words I have seen used in their weekly reading summaries is “courage.” It is a virtue that they will need in great measure if they are going to swim against a societal current that does not always value ethical leaders.”
Last week I was at the doctor’s office and I had taken my ethics book to read as I waited in the waiting room. An office worker called me up to sign some paperwork and I brought my book along with me. He asked me what I was reading and I replied accounting ethics. He then proceeded to take the book from me and turn it to page 1. He pointed about half way down the page and he said that he would be asleep about right here. I kindly asked him why. I asked him what this world would be without ethics. I asked him if he would feel comfortable living in a world in which ethics meant nothing, in which laws did not govern society, in which there was no such thing as trust or commitments. He was shocked. In fact he really did not know how to respond. I am sure that he wanted me to give him the simple laugh and the response, “ya, I would be asleep too.” But I didn’t. Ethics are important and they should be taken more seriously. People say they are ethical, but are they really? We need ethics professors like you to reinforce the importance of being ethical.
It is a rare and special occurrence to be taught by a professor who you respect not only from an academic standpoint but also because of his/her moral character. Thank you for the honesty and transparency you offer us every day in class. It has given us all encouragement that we can successfully live out ethics in the midst of a largely unethical world.
I have thought to myself over the last six weeks, “How many ethical people are there really?” Reading all the stories and hearing all the cases of people falling into bad decisions or knowingly putting greed ahead of integrity, does have the potential to make you somewhat skeptical that you will find a career with respectable leaders. But simply by being in your class and hearing the discussions of my group members and classmates, I am reminded that “good people” do exist, you just have to be willing to seek them out. I am made aware that the best way to facilitate an ethical environment is to first, fight for your own ethics, and then to also help others fight for theirs.
My group members and I have challenged each other to think differently, to look at other perspectives, and to develop strong defenses for what believe and the values we uphold. We have questioned and debated, agreed and encouraged. It has been a truly eye-opening experience for me to watch how different backgrounds, cultures, and interests have combined together to fill the semester with both personal and professional growth.
I don’t know where each of us will end up once we leave this ethics class and eventually leave A&M to put our ethics to the “real-world” test. But I know one thing for sure. Having the opportunity to spend a semester pondering and defining my own ethics amidst peers that face the same dilemmas is a lesson that spans far beyond any classroom or textbook.
Dr. Shaub, thank you again for the incredible investment you make in us as students. We are truly blessed to be learning from someone who not only knows the facts and principles, but stands before us as an outstanding example of what moral courage looks like in practice.
Your class has been a lot more interesting than the name sounds. I appreciate the speakers you gave us the opportunity to hear and the different challenging discussions you started. You have made us think about topics and situations that we would normally not take the time to do. Your class has made me think more about what I want to do in the future and the type of company that I want to work for. One of the most important lessons I have learned is to make sure that my employer’s values align with mine. Your class not only impacts us from a professional standpoint but also in our personal lives. Thank you for taking the time and truly caring about us students to teach us these lessons.
While I was sitting in your class the first week coming back from my internship, I wasn’t really for sure why this class was required. I didn’t know if you would really be able to “teach ethics” per se. However, after the past five weeks, I have really gained an understanding of why this class should be required for anyone who is thinking about becoming a CPA. Personally I wish there was a way that every student in the business school was required to take this course. It has been a great semester, and thank you for the experience.
Although this is a different semester, I too have learned that standing for what is right takes courage. I know that if I had encountered the same evidence that Cynthia Cooper did I would be terrified and would definitely doubt my gut instinct. This class has made me extra committed to take courage in my stance and not waiver! So thank you for all of your hard work.
It is rare that we get the opportunity to take a class that truly develops us, not as future professionals, but as human beings. The road that lies ahead for all of us is unpredictable. I am not sure where I will be, but I can say with certainty that I feel better equipped to make the right choices because of this class. We have been able to learn in ways that a typical classroom does not afford; be it from speakers who have had first-hand experiences, our peers, or you. We have been challenged to think differently, and search deep within ourselves for the answers to some of life’s tougher questions. I truly feel that I have walked away with valuable skills that I will be able use forever. Thank you for all of your hard work; it has always been greatly appreciated.
It is interesting to be reading this a year later, as we end the 2013 spring semester of your ethics class. Although we have had different guest speakers and covered some different ground, the overlying lesson of your course is more than clear.
Hopping into your class right after my internship was interesting, to say the least. Through talking to my fellow students about their experiences and discussing issues within the accounting world, it quickly became clear the deep need for ethics class.
You say, “But there is something going on in some of my students that gives me a sense that they understand the importance of struggling with these issues now, rather than waiting until they are in the midst of an ethically problematic situation in a few years.” I could not agree more. As you say in class, “I hope you will at least think differently after taking this class.” You can rest assured that this goal has been accomplished. I find myself thinking more and more about ethics in our every day life, through many different situations. My thinking and mindset about my future career has already vastly changed.
This class is one of the best classes I’ve taken thus far at A&M and for that, I thank you with a grateful heart.
Most classes we take in college are based on helping us prepare for our future careers. Like Jordan said in the previous post, this class has not only helped prepare us for our future careers, but has also developed us as human beings. While I still do not know exactly where I want to end up in the future, I now have a better sense of where I do not want to end up. I know what kind of people and companies I don’t want to work for. Through all the guest speakers and articles, I now know how important it is for me to stand by my values as I enter the workplace. This class has made me take a step back and really evaluate how I want to live my life. These values and principles that I stand by are probably going to be shaken at some point, and I have to have the courage to keep to what I believe in. I believe this class has better prepared me for these difficult situations I may run into. I am very grateful to have a professor who truly cares about each of us and where we end up in life. Thank you for teaching this ethics class.
I am very glad that you were able to bring the train back and take us along on this journey. You have done a great job in formulating a class that challenges our principles so that we are able to become more confident in those we choose to carry on through our lives. Although we did not focus on troubles in Arkansas, I think we were treated in an unexpected way with Francine McKenna and the emotional story of Helen Sharkey. It is somewhat of a wake up call to learn about the amount of ethical issues that are close to home(Andersen/Enron) and that they can happen to completely normal people(Helen). Since we are fortunate enough to decide which train we want to get on, I hope that everyone will at least stay true to themselves and the principles they have reflected on. During the past few weeks a recurring theme in my reading has been to fix your eyes on others and to deny personal gain. But as we learned in class there could be different ways of getting to that destination. I don’t think I would have been as aware of the journey just a month ago, so thank you for the tools you have equipped us with. Next stop: the real world.
Although this class seemed to fly by, I feel that it has been one of the more valuable ones I’ve had the opportunity to take in college. You have successfully opened my eyes to the ethical challenges a career in accounting poses, and you have encouraged me to define ethics in my own way. I want to emphasize the second part of that sentence. I appreciated that you never pushed your beliefs or ideas on us as a class, but you let us figure out what kind of person we want to be on our own. I felt that I was allowed to take the stories we heard in class such as Helen Sharkey’s and form my own opinion. We were able to see every different side of an argument, and I think that is extremely important when it comes down to defining your own personal set of values. Thank you for a fast, but insightful semester.
First of all I sincerely appreciate what you do this semester, I really enjoyed this six week journey. Studying in Texas A&M is so different from what we used to do in China. In a traditional Chinese class, we always seek for the means of profit manipulation and try to find out the fraud motive and hand in a dried thesis at the end of the semester. But in this class, you really opened our eyes. You lead us to think from the viewpoint of the fraudster or whistleblower in a fraud case rather than just dig into the case itself. From this way and from several seminars and discussions in the groups, we can use what we learned from the case to our real life and conclude principles that conduct our life. Now I know that the truth of all the ethical issues is to care about the humanity. Hope you can continue to turn the train back and lead more foreign students like me to a new ethical world, by stepping principles we can finally catch on the right train someday.
I want to thank you for not only providing an example to us, but also challenging us over the past six weeks. I didn’t get the chance to take Auditing with you and I can recall everyone raving about what an amazing professor you were. I am not going to lie, I didn’t get it then, but I get it now. I come to class every day excited to see what may come up. It amazes me how much you invest into us and really want us to succeed. My favorite part about this class this semester has been the transparency and the honesty. I truly appreciate that everything is laid out there for us to discuss and I think that is the only way we can learn about such a tough subject like ethics. I gave my presentation today and the number one thing we talked about was “courage.” I know it is going to take courage to not only remember everything we have learned, but apply it to situations I am going to face. This course reminded me of the person I want to continue to strive to be and I am so glad I was able to be a part of this class.
To be honest, I was skeptical about the idea of “teaching ethics” before the classes started and afraid of spending two hours in four days every week listening to boring stuff like code of conduct and some philosophy principles. But I’ve heared so many good things about Dr. Shaub from friends who have taken this class so I decided I should be more optimistic and give it a try. And turns out, they were right. This class is very worth taking and probably the best that I have ever taken in this school. I think Dr. Shaub really took this class above and beyond the level required by the state board. Within 6 weeks, we have listened to some very thought-provoking presentations, criticised ethics in literature and discussed our thoughts with group members. All these things contributed to the reviewing of our own professional ethics, which would eventually lead us through our future career. Although I have not decided which train I would like to take for my next destination, I’m glad that this class helped me know more about where those trains are heading to and what’s the danger on the road.
Before taking ethics I never truly gave ethics a lot of thought. I have my deep rooted moral principles that I have always followed, but have never truly related those principles to the work environment. By taking your class, you have opened the door to deep thought about ethics in the work field. I think that I have discovered new principles that I will live by in my professional career and life and general. One of my biggest take aways from this class is “trusting my gut” and not being vulnurable to gulibility. I now have the courage to trust my gut and balance my skeptism and trust in order not to susceptible to gulibility.
When I had the first class, I was shocked, because I didn’t know this class was actually a graduate student class, though it also opened to the undergraduates. I felt kind of regret that I had chosen this class, since I was in the junior year and what would be taught in the class might be difficult to me. However, I am writing this comment and feeling I am lucky to spend four weeks with all other students. Dr. Shaub had the magic to make class attractive and educational. Just like the bran donuts, tastes good and healthy. It was different from other classes I had taken. I could learn more from the outside speakers, my group members and other groups. It was more like a collision of thoughts than a plain teaching. Also, it gave me the courage to fight harder for my goals, to face the unknown and to welcome all the coming challenges.
Earlier, I commented on the blog “Can you teach ethics?”. My response centered around the idea that I believe ethics are derived from our early childhood and much how we act is because of how we were raised; however, I do realize that there is a benefit to teaching ethics in a classroom setting. I think it forces us to understand how and why we act the way we do in ethical situations. It makes us more aware of the reasoning behind our decisions, and also makes us aware of the of actual ethical dilemmas in our life. I think this class has opened my eyes to the potential for unethical situations I may face, which has better prepared me to make those decisions.
How grateful I am that you do choose to teach this class! I do think my ethics have been, for the most part, shaped by my faith and the way I was raised, but I also believe that this class has made a profound impact on my awareness of ethical situations that I did not previously think were in fact dilemmas. Small ethical decisions may in fact impact bigger ethical decisions I will be forced to make. You have taught me more in this course than I thought possible in such a short time. Through my readings and class presentations, I have never stopped learning. Each case discussed in this class has shown me that though I think I know what decision I will make if faced with an ethical dilemma, in that moment I need to be equipped and have the courage we often talked about to make the right choice. This course has without a doubt influenced my ethical decision making, and I thank you so much for that!
I did not know I would get as much out of this course as I did when I went in to it. The lectures as well as the amazing speakers really made me think about ethics in a different way. The effort you put in to make this class great really shows how much you care about us learning from this course. The class never felt like you were just telling us things you had to tell us for CPA requirements. I could truly see your passion about ethics and helping students learn and grow.
I have heard from family members and friends how wonderful of a teacher you are, but I am so thankful I got to see it first hand. I thoroughly enjoyed this class as well as the things I learned from it. Before taking this course, I would have probably said you can’t teach ethics. However, through your teaching, the speakers you invited to the class, and the class discussions, I will say that you have done an excellent job of teaching it.
I really enjoyed reading this post, but I have to disagree with one thing:
“I have had long conversations with students in this class that give me great hope that they will choose well. If they do, it will not be because of me.”
This course has no doubt better prepared me to handle any type of ethical dilemma I may encounter in the future, and for that I am thankful.
I agree with Ms. Fox.
While 6 short weeks is not enough to change my personal morals and ethics that have been developing for 22 years, you have forced us to consider how we would handle certain situations, and forced us to examine who we are and what we stand for. The reason I am writing this late is because I just got back from 2 hours pulled over on the side of some back country road, completely away from all distractions, thinking about who I am and how I could boil it down to 8 principles.
That forced introspection does a great deal in allowing us to realize who we are and what we stand for, and helps set us on the train. While other classes have taught me the technical skills I will need going forward in our profession, you have taught me who I am and what I stand for, and that is vastly more important in today’s society. Thank you.
There are a few points in this post that I find really important. The first is that we educate ourselves on other people’s viewpoints, so we can at least see why they make the argument they do, even if we don’t agree with it. So often we see people being so one sided in their arguments that they don’t even consider how other people think. Another takeaway I had was how we have a choice about which train we will hop on. It is important for us to know that we always have a choice in decisions we make, and you have to weigh the consequences and your ethical values when making these choices. The final takeaway I took is how selfless Dr. Shaub is that he may not ever know who catches the right train, but as long as they catch the right train is the reason he teaches.
As an undergraduate who is not required to take this course, I can not express to you how thankful I am that I somehow ended up in this class. It is now 10 days before I walk the stage and head out until the real world, and I feel completely equipped to do so after taking this course. Through your teachings, class discussion, and very powerful speakers I have been able to remind myself of my unique values and who I am. The timing of this course in my life could not have been any better. I appreciate your motivation to impact students by teaching us important life concepts that we can not learn from any other accounting course.
I feel the same way as Sarah in that the timing of this course could not have been any better. This class has been incredibly eye-opening for me. I realized that I am not quite ready to head out into the real world yet, and I am lucky to still have another year before I have to. I was reminded of the values I have and the ones I forgot about that I ought to still have. This course has definitely helped me to get headed in a better direction in life, and that would not have happened without you.