Defining Ethical Expectations

During our planning grant for our NSF ATE Center of Excellence back in 2002, the FLATE 
leadership team identified the Baldrige Quality System as the evaluation model we would use.  Grounded in industry expectations, based on organizational excellence, and a data driven format were qualities of an evaluation model, which appealed to us and we thought would help us become a successful organization, develop reporting data that was meaningful and reflective of our impact on our stakeholders, and provide a model that our industry partners would know and appreciate. We struggled for a couple of years and were eventually brought back on track by the guidance of Phil Centonze, who now serves as our external evaluator. Many of our Florida based stakeholders know Phil and the impact he has had on manufacturing in our state. However, he has also had a similar impact on our FLATE staff and leadership team, and on our educational partners. One of the pieces of our organizational profile that Phil brought to us is our Guiding Principles, which serve as a basis for reasoning, action and organizational decision-making. They help us decide if opportunities we encounter align with our own mission and goals.  These seven principles have been extremely useful to us over the years, helping us keep our eyes tightly focused on our defining and achieving our goals.  Today, I’d like to focus a bit on the first of FLATE’s Guiding Principles:

 Does this (activity/involvement/event) meet FLATE’s ethical expectations? FLATE expects professionalism in all FLATE related actions and activities; an honest commitment to FLATE’s principles; and declaration of apparent and avoidance of direct conflicts of interest.

Our Ethical Expectations (http://www.fl-ate.org/about_us/expectations.html) expects individuals directly or indirectly involved with FLATE to:

  • Demonstrate professionalism in all FLATE related actions and activities.
  • Demonstrate an honest commitment to FLATE’s principles. 
  • Declare any apparent conflicts of interest and avoid direct conflicts of Interest as related to all FLATE related actions and activities.

Many organizations have defined Ethical Expectations as they are considered a vital part of any business environment.  These guidelines about what is right and wrong from an organizational perspective provide clear articulation of the organization’s values.  Organizational personnel acting ethically when dealing with stakeholders endorses the organization’s social contributions which can secure public and stakeholder trust.  In addition to our own FLATE Ethical Expectations, FLATE’s staff and leadership are all bound by those of our host institutions, HCC, SPC and USF.  All three institutions have published platforms for conduct and behavior that focus on personal and profession integrity, academic honesty, and equity. 

Operationally, FLATE expects individuals directly or indirectly involved with FLATE to follow best accounting practices, exhibit ethical behavior, and demonstrate the highest respect for and support of a diverse workforce.  (http://fl-ate.org/about_us/guiding-principles.html). The start of a new school year is a good time to review the foundations our organizations are built on. Values and principles for organizational behavior evolve over time and organizations must change with them. We welcome your comments on this topic and indeed hope that our performance meets your ethical expectations.

I would also like to welcome Sasha Cameron to our FLATE team.  Sasha is USF Public Relations and International Studies senior who is working with us while Janice Mukhia is on an extended leave visiting family in India. You can expect to hear from Janice in the next two months in her foreign correspondent role.  She will be researching and reporting on technical education in India. And, welcome back to school to all educators and students. We hope every one of you had a wonderful and restful summer and are charged up for the challenges of the new academic year.  I am positive there will be many challenges for all of us.

Please take a moment to read our September edition of the FLATE Focus. This edition highlights STEM challenges in the educational system, and congratulating St. Petersburg College on their opening of the area’s first collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies.  You can also read more on where FLATE took 67 George S. Middleton High School students on their multi-facility tour. Don’t miss out on this month’s FLATE Focus.