Our conversation with Don Welch, PhD, President and CEO of Michigan's member-owned Merit Network begins with a lively discussion on a very pressing concern: how to ethically train students and workforce personnel to protect and defend institutional networks against cyberattacks and security breaches. As an early innovator in computer networking services for researchers and educators, Merit is uniquely positioned in this field.
One traditional way to tell a team competition story is to be the publicly detached sport journalist, who provides the written reality show to other fans, offering them an inside tale of locker room antics. No matter the competition, the story line is the same. It basically follows the four tasks required of a team. Sooner or later, all teams have to: "form, storm, norm and perform."
With the 2012 national election now over, we can expect a steep drop in some kinds of political participation in our democracy--from campaign volunteering to learning about candidates and issues through the multitudinous media channels now available to encourage participation. These days, the most talked about channels of political and civic participation are social media.
Americans seem to believe that if we assign more social responsibilities to our schools, and call on our teachers to take on even more roles, that somehow the nation will be prepared and able to withstand any and all tests. We have big ideas about education and its uses. Think about it. Since our beginnings, we have regarded schools as laboratories for citizenship. We have engraved onto school missions stringent requirements to build moral character and to pass on ethical values.
We all know how difficult it can be to have an honest conversation with members of certain professions. Two examples come immediately to mind: corporate chieftains and politicians. We think this is especially true when the honest conversation we all wish for--is about ethics and some of the ethical dilemmas corporate execs and elected officials commonly face in their work.
A national election year allows for both sagacious and salacious talk about ethics issues in the political arena. While most ethics talk fitfully follows what voters lose from negative and false political advertising, and superficially attends to the profound ethical dilemmas posed by the increasing link between income and political inequality, we think the local political arena offers some of the best insights about political ethics issues that impact us all.