NCLC 465: New Century College Learning Community Nominates Ethical Businesses for National Capital Business Award

Class Plays a Key Role in Awards Program

by Sarah Parshall

Mason students play a pivotal role in the nomination of companies for the National Capital Business Ethics Awards (NCBEA). NCBEA honors companies in the Washington area that demonstrate a strong commitment to the highest level of ethical business practices in daily operations, management philosophies, and responses to crises and challenges. The National Capital Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals presents the awards.

Students enrolled in NCLC 465, Applied Ethics in Organizations; interview CEOs and representatives of various companies’ to research their ethics programs. The companies must meet various criteria in order to be selected for additional consideration. Once selected, students enrolled in NCLC 465 conduct interviews. Students must then write reports on their investigations of the business’s ethical standards. There are four categories for award recipients each year for the NCBEA award. These categories include; Micro Company Category, Small Company Category, Medium Company Category, and Large Company Category. Class participant Jean Demarest claims, “It is an awe-inspiring experience to see companies that really care about the community and maintain integrity in their work.”

One of the companies that particularly impressed Jean was Microtech. Microtech has very strong veteran support since many of the top executives are retired service members. The company gives 6 million dollars of their revenue in charitable donations and supports over 50 charities. Microtech also has a very high retention rate for its employees as well as maintaining strong community service program.

Jean Demarest states that NCLC 465  “was the best class I’ve ever taken.” She learned from meeting with company executives and thought it a bit intimidating at times to ask them probing questions about their company’s business ethics. Dr. Nance Lucas, who teaches the course, says that one of the learning objections for this class is to “take theory and turn it into practice”. This course is unique in that it gives students a chance to explore ethical standards of corporations through interviews and real life interactions.

The NCBEA award state that this is one of the most important recognitions that a company can receive, although it consists of no monetary gain. The trophy the winners receive represents a standard of integrity in a field where competing companies may have varied standards of practice. For students interested in participating in NCLC 465, the course is offered annually in the Spring semester.