Center for Academic Ethics

Ethics Conference 2017

3rd Biennial Cedar Valley Conference on Ethics

Ethics and Social Responsibility

University of Northern Iowa
Maucker Union

Friday, September 22, 2017

"Excellent, thought-provoking information that expanded the point of view for many!"

"Engaging and applicable to large audience."


What an amazing day of ethical discussion! Special thanks to our Keynote, Stephen Black, and to all of our presenters for engaging campus and community members in the importance of ethical and social responsibility. We have provided some information below for those who either could not make it this year, or who want to reflect on the event.


The 2017 Ethics Conference aimed to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, research, and best practice in facilitating and promoting social ethics and personal responsibility among our students and our communities.  Oral, panel, and poster presentations were offered from faculty and staff from UNI, Hawkeye Community College, Allen College, and other colleges and universities in Iowa, as well as public officials, experts and community members from across the Cedar Valley.   


Addressing Culture Change in Renewing the Civic Mission of Higher Education
In addition to his role as keynote speaker, Mr. Black offered a pre-conference workshop on the UNI campus on Thursday, September 21, 3:00-5:00 pm, in the Commons Slife Ballroom.  The workshop discussed the importance of campus - community partnerships and how to create opportunities for students to build capacity for service-learning and community engagement.  The importance of comprehensive support for students and the need for building agency to create successful experiences will be addressed.  Mr. Black will highlight that communicating IS the work and will share how using imagery and film in telling the story can support culture change for higher education.

RECEPTION for Stephen Black

A reception was held in honor of Mr. Black on Thursday September 21, 5:00-6:00 pm, in the Georgian Lounge, across the hall from the Commons Ballroom.


Stephen Black photo

Stephen Black, grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, grew up in New Mexico after most of his family left the state of Alabama in the 1950’s and 60’s following his grandfather’s role in controversial Civil Rights decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education.  Despite growing up over 1,000 miles away, from a very young age, he was fascinated by Alabama and the legacy of his family’s commitment to public service in their home state.

Mr. Black received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated magna cum laude and his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School in 1997. Following his graduation from law school, he returned to Alabama to join the Birmingham law firm, Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC. After three years with the firm, he was called to public service — serving for a brief time as an assistant to the Governor focusing on policy and economic development projects.

Encouraged by the enthusiasm of thousands of students he encountered when speaking across the state, he turned his focus to founding and leading the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama, where he has served as Director since 2005. In 2004, Mr. Black founded Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative and currently serves as its President and Chairman of the Board. Housed at the UA Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility, Impact Alabama is the state’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing substantive service-learning projects in coordination with colleges and universities throughout Alabama. In October 2014, Impact Alabama became Impact America, which currently operates in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida.

In 2008, Black received the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award for his work with FocusFirst. This national award is given annually to individuals who demonstrate creativity and commitment in addressing society’s most pressing health issues. Ten recipients were chosen from over 800 nominations. In 2013, Black was asked by Chancellor Robert E. Witt to serve as Special Advisor to The University of Alabama Chancellor for Outreach and Community Engagement. 

Photo and text courtesy of Stephen Black, University of Alabama.

KEYNOTE TOPIC:  The Future of Ethical Citizenship

Our civic organizations, nonprofits and institutions of higher education cannot, in good conscience, merely be occasional volunteer providers for the poor.  Often best situated to offer vision, credibility and direction, our civic, business and education leaders must participate in helping Americans increase the realm of duties we define as moral responsibilities.  Especially those leaders with extensive social capital and advanced degrees must realize that with the privilege of being well educated comes an obligation - an obligation to understand that every individual's life has dignity and worth, and everyone's health, education and potential to succeed is worth fighting for.


View abstracts for each of the sessions


CONFERENCE SCHEDULE on Friday, September 22






Ballroom Lobby



Ballroom A, B, & C

Keynote – Stephen Black

The Future of Ethical Citizenship


Ballroom A, B, & C


A. Fake News:  What it is and How to Rein it in

B. Culturally Competent Communication

C. Addressing Wicked Problems in Practical Ways: Empowering Ethical Action in Higher Ed and Beyond


Breakout rooms

Morning Break with Refreshments


Ballroom Lobby

MORNING PLENARY – Moderated by Joe Gorton

Ethical Dilemmas in Promoting Transparency and Community Input in Public Service Work


Ballroom A, B, & C


D.     Slippery Slope of Greed: Le-Nature’s Inc. case study Part 1 Fraud Detection

E.      Words in the World: Developing Social Responsibility through Critical Learning Practices across Language Disciplines

F.     1) Ethics: A Socio-Politico-Ideological Wishful Principle or Reality in “Social Responsibility?” 

        2) Trump, the media, and the American Dream: The ethical implications of societal myths



Breakout rooms

Luncheon with topic tables


Ballroom A, B, & C


G.      Slippery Slope of Greed: Le-Nature’s Inc. case study Part 2 Fraud Prevention

H.      University of Northern Iowa Youth Arts Summit: Mentoring and Empowering Youth Voice Through the Arts

I.       1) The Responsibility to Heal: Dr. Richard Clarke Cabot and the Creation of Medical Social Work in the United States
         2) Faculty & Community Partners Co-Creating Service-Learning



Breakout rooms

Afternoon Break with Refreshments


Ballroom Lobby

AFTERNOON PLENARY - Moderated by Abbylynn Helgevold

Building a Culture of Ethics in Higher Education


Ballroom A, B, & C



To navigate around campus, download a campus map.  The best place to park to attend events at Maucker Union and/or the Commons is probably the Multimodal Transportation Center on 23rd St.  The cost for visitors is 80 cents/hour for up to 10 hours.  You must have cash (bills & coins) to pay, and you must pay in advance by entering your stall number into the meter machine in the lobby and paying for the number of hours you need.  (If you need more time, you'll have to go back and "feed the meter" again.)  If the time expires, you will be ticketed by UNI parking officials.  A second option for visitors going to Maucker Union is the metered lot near Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, off University Avenue.  These meters are the same - 80 cents/hour up to 10 hours - but only take coins.  There are also some free street parking spots in the neighborhood across from campus off Seerley Blvd.  Further information and a contact for questions are available here.

QUESTIONS may be directed to:

Direct general questions about the conference to:
Anita Gordon, University of Northern Iowa, Conference Committee Chair, 213 East Bartlett Hall, 319-273-6148
Direct questions about the Call for Presentations to
Jerry Durham, Chancellor, Allen College, Conference Planning Committee
Direct questions about the Service Learning workshop to
Julianne Gassman, Associate Professor, UNI School of KAHHS



Allen College

Center for Academic Ethics, UNI

Character Counts! in Cedar Valley

Hawkeye Community College

UNI Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

American Democracy Project

Iowa Campus Compact

Institute of Management Accountants