By Liz Warren-Pederson
In the wake of successful outreach programs in Phoenix and Los Angeles, Eller’s Center for Leadership Ethics (CLE) took its framework for ethics education to Irving, Texas, for a program aimed at gifted middle and high school students.
Attorney Frank Broyles, a UA alumnus, chaired the program. It was through his invitation that Paul Melendez, founder of CLE and EthicsPoint Senior Lecturer, got involved.
“At some point in time I read about Eller’s Center for Leadership Ethics and stored that information in my mind,” Broyles said. Asked by a bankruptcy section of the State Bar of Texas to make a presentation in China on a legal ethics article he had published in the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, he contacted Melendez. “I actually attended one of his lectures to get a better understanding of his philosophies and used some of his information for my China presentation.”
Melendez invited Broyles to participate in judging the 2012 Collegiate Ethics Competition. “I found the experience, including the ropes challenge, fascinating and stimulating,” Broyles said. He also learned more about the High School Ethics Forum.
“I am on the board of directors of La Buena Vida Foundation, an Irving-based nonprofit dedicated to helping Irving students,” he said. He also serves as vice chair of the District Improvement Committee for Irving Independent School District. “The idea that Eller’s ethics outreach program might work here came naturally,” he said.
On March 1, 245 Irving students — primarily juniors and seniors from the five high schools, plus some middle school students — spent the day on the University of Dallas campus with Melendez, Broyles, and district leaders.
“I introduced the students to our ethical decision-making model, used cases, and hosted a panel that offered insights into the negative equity case,” Melendez said.
The ethical cases under discussion included one on Facebook, one on the video game Grand Theft Auto, and one on underwater mortgages. The latter included a professional panel of attorneys and banking professionals.
“Never has it been more important for our young people to reverse the trend of diminishing ethics in personal, corporate, and government affairs,” said Ronda Huffstetler, president of the school board. “I saw how engaged our students were, how hungry they were for direction that will help guide their future.”
The program was funded by La Buena Vida Foundation, the Irving ISD, and the YMCA. Broyles will be in Tucson for the High School Ethics Forum on April 16, and to address Melendez’s business ethics class.
Learn more about the research and community programs of the Center for Leadership Ethics.