An Irish university vice-president and a Swiss industrialist have told the Globethics.net international conference how they used vision, determination and persuasion to, on the one hand, amalgamate some educational institutions, and to run an ethically-based international and highly-profitable company.
Daire Keogh, a professor of history and Deputy President of Dublin City University likened the work that he does to that of a "circus ringmaster". He noted that people go to a circus to see the talent there and not the ringmaster, who must keep the talent moving and care for the people in the show.
He was a keynote speaker on the second day of the 4-6 May Globethics.net International Conference, titled "Managing and teaching ethics in higher education: Policies, skills and resources," held at the Château de Bossey, near Geneva.
Other keynote speakers were Walter Linsi, co-founder of Belimo AG a Swiss company that makes products such as sophisticated valves and who now heads the U.W. Linsi Foundation along Rita Astfalck, the foundation's general manager. Indian advocate Pavan Duggal gave another keynote on the importance of cyber-security law and regulation in higher education ethics.
That foundation is one of the four major sponsors of the gathering.
Keogh was described by Globethics.net Executive Director Prof. Dr Obiora Ike as "a teacher of teachers". He had served as President of Ireland' s St Patrick's College Drumcondra from 2012-16 but realised the institution needed to be forged into something more modern and in keeping with the times.
He quoted the American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey who said, "If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow."
Keogh said St. Patrick's was founded in 1875, and when he was there it had 3,000 students who were the top 10 percent in the country, and the college had "money in the bank".
Dublin City University
He played a key role in September 2016, in completing a process with Dublin City University and incorporating into it three Dublin institutions: the Church of Ireland College of Education (an Anglican school) with a few hundred students; Mater Dei Institute of Education and St. Patrick's College, both Catholic colleges with the secular DCU.
DCU now has 17,000 and is among the top new universities in the world.
Keogh's speech was titled Talents and Change; Values, Ethics, and Institutional Amalgamations and he stressed that before any new institution takes off, "We need to shape our vision."
He said he had to make sure those involved in the amalgamation focused on the vision, their mission and their values "to scaffold our education into the future."
St. Patrick's needed to change in an era of what World Economic founder Klaus Schwab has called the changes in "essence of our human experience" brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
"In a lot of cases the focus on education is about information as opposed to formation," noted Keogh. "I think in education formation is more important. It is about the development of the resilience in the students. It is about the development of the students' moral compass. It is about the development of a really higher-order imperative in the students so that they transform lives."
'Sage on the stage'
In the past, he said, "The lecturer was very much the sage on the stage."
Keogh said that "Nothing is more important to the welfare of a nation than the education of its children. Within that context, nothing is more important than the teaching of teachers and the preparation of people for the future."
From a different perspective, Walter Linsi spoke on "Ethics at Work: Learning from Best Practices, the Belimo Way. Integrity: Making values-based decisions and behaviours."
Belimo is a global market leader in
the development, production and marketing of actuator solutions for controlling heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems from a company that operates in 80 countries. Actuators, control valves and sensors have made up the company's core business since its founding in 1975.
The company was a family-owned company that had six co-founders along with Linsi who had to work hard in implementing their vision on the value-based company with one strategy. It is now international with its success based on its values, he said.
'More value than you expect'
"The company offers customers more value than they expect, and more than others can offer. We can achieve this by delivering superior solutions. We must also offer operational excellence and two key aspects that are difficult to quantify but crucial to success: credibility and trust," said Linsi.
"Belimo's mission statement conveys the company's key guiding principles and fundamental values. Since each employee helps shape the corporate culture, it is imperative that every one of them understands and embraces his or her personal responsibility," he said.
The conduct in the working environment includes, "a ban on corruption and bribery, avoidance of conflicts of interest, respect of employees' basic rights, prohibition of child labour, promotion of the health and safety of employees, environmental protection in compliance with legal and international standards and economical usage of resources and low energy consumption," he explained.
The result is happy customers, a dedicated workforce and very healthy profit said Linsi.
Belimo had a good financial year in 2017. Its sales in Swiss francs increased by 8.7 percent to 579.9 million Swiss francs. It spends 7 percent of its value on research and development and last year the number of employees grew by 6.4 percent to 1,532. The company's share price rocketed from 250 Swiss francs, 20 years ago to more than 4,000 francs today.
"Belimo is successful because success is built on its values of ethics and integrity," said Linsi.
The result was the foundation of the U.W. Linsi Foundation that is a centre for education innovation.
"Our corporate culture is based on the values of being, respectful, fair, rational and responsible," said Rita Astfalck the foundation's general manager.
Pavan Duggal an advocate in India's Supreme Court gave his keynote speech on: "Cyber-security and ethics in education: Access, privacy and the regulatory environment."
He said, "Cyber-security is important because governments, the military and the corporate world, collect, unprecedented amounts of data on computers and other devices."
Facing rocketing global issues on businesses and people such as hacking, ransomware, cyber-attacks, malware, data theft raids on personal data and attacks on the Internet of things, different countries have come up with cyber laws which talk about ethical principles concerning protection and preservation of cyber-security.
"These ethical principles concerning cyber-security need to be an integral part of ethics in education," said the advocate.
Duggal, who is president of cyberlaws.net, said that access to data has to be legitimate and legal and not unauthorized. It is ethical to have legitimate access to data, but it is unethical to have unauthorized access.
"Ethical issues around access need to be well sensitised to all stakeholders in the education ecosystem," said Duggal who is a new board member of Globethics.net.
He said that as part of cyber-security ethics, it is imperative that people need to appreciate that they need to respect data privacy and personal privacy of various persons.
It is unethical to without authorization access data which violated the data and personal privacy of individuals.
Pavan said, "Cyber-security and ethics issues need to be made as an integral part of the school curriculum from the first standard onwards because children are now increasingly being given access to the internet without them being told or talked about what is ethical and what is non-ethical."