SCS Course “Thinking to Thrive” Brings Jesuit Values into Ethical Decision-Making

In working toward its mission to “deliver a world-class, values-based education to a diverse array of communities and individuals throughout their academic and professional careers,” Georgetown SCS offers a range of degree and non-degree learning experiences. Professional Bootcamps are dynamic six- to 12-week programs filled with knowledge, skills, and critical and strategic thinking intended to help boost the career prospects of professional learners. And other SCS programs, Professional Bootcamps strive to integrate Georgetown values into their intensive courses. 

This week’s post explores the “Thinking to Thrive” course offered through the Georgetown SCS Professional Bootcamps

One such example of intentional integration of mission and values is the featured bootcamp course “Thinking to Thrive,” designed to help students make better decisions. Taught by Stewart Brown, a management consultant with over 40 years of experience as a planner on the tactical, operational, and strategic levels in both government and civilian commercial enterprises, “Thinking to Thrive” operates from the assumption that a new set of leadership skills is needed for junior managers and senior executives in the 21st century. The course prepares emerging professional leaders to become “flexible, adaptable, multidisciplinary problem-solvers and change makers” through an exploration of how biases and fallacies cause errors in judgment and choice. Along the way, students assess a range of models for decision processes and tools, articulating each framework’s strengths as well as its limitations. 

“Thinking to Thrive” features a dedicated module on the role of ethics in decision-making. And like the ethics curricula in other SCS courses, this module introduces students to the resources and toolkits of ethical choice-making in the Jesuit tradition of discernment. This session is set up as a rich space for open-ended conversation as students engage difficult questions about how to bring to life ethical principles in ethically challenging work settings and situations. As a professional education program focused on the needs of adult learners, the objective of this module is not reflection for its own sake. Instead, students are challenged to make direct connections to their own professional development by articulating the ethical meaning of their own professional experiences.

One of the course materials in this module that explicitly connects the discussion of ethics in decision-making to the Spirit of Georgetown is an article by Kirk Hanson, senior fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Hanson offers five themes that differentiate the distinctiveness of learning ethics for managers and executives in a Jesuit school: 

  1. The development of the moral and spiritual character of the manager;
  2. The responsibility to use one’s managerial skills for the benefit of ‘others’; 
  3. A concern for the welfare of employees in the manager’s organization; 
  4. A focus on the social impact of business and organizational decisions; and 
  5. A special concern for the poor and marginalized frequently left out of the economy. 

By the end of the session on ethics in “Thinking to Thrive,” students have spent intentional time engaging with the Jesuit tradition of education. The discussion always surfaces new insights about the relevance of the Jesuit framework of ethical decision-making. A course that presents models of critical and reflective thinking as a necessary skill set for today’s aspiring managers and executives helps SCS bring its mission and values to life by meeting the interdisciplinary challenges of the 21st century.

For more information and inquire, check out the Professional Bootcamps at SCS