Working Ethics Podcast Series

Working Ethics Podcast Series

Does your work make you a better person? In this podcast series, people in their 20s and 30s talk about the ethics of their work. We are interested in learning about what people in all types of professions and all kinds of jobs think are their greatest ethics challenges. Our conversations include fresh and illuminating discussions with Ann Arbor area locals and former locals, in fields as diverse as photojournalism and food tourism. We haven't yet talked with "a tinker, tailor, soldier or a spy" or "a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker." We intend to.

Please join us as we ask the question: By the way, what about the ethics of your work?

There are so many ways to present the fascinating curatorial work, teaching and original research of Finn Brunton, Assistant Professor of Information at the University of Michigan School of Information, and author of the forthcoming book--Spam: A Flood, A Theory, A History (MIT Press). 

In America, we rely on multiple institutions and as many pathways to train new educators in the fundamentals of the teaching craft. Reformers have routinely called for more systematic approaches, prominent among them transforming teacher education to model the clinical training, research practices and mentoring of doctors.

At we aspire to be influential community educators about ethics matters.Given that education is central to our mission, we are also fortunate to know about the work of Emily Richmond

Erin Mattimoe is a young nonprofit professional with a special talent for building leaders in youth organizations. She is currently a program specialist in the Ann Arbor and Jackson Regions of Girl Scouts--Heart of Michigan. When we began our conversation, we thought we already knew about Girl Scouts.

Sometimes, when we ask people to talk about the ethics of their work and the pathways they have taken to be where they are, they offer up their best linear moves and memories. Many of our listeners are interested in learning the point-a-to-b directions people follow as well as the google maps they rely on along the way. 

In October 2010, had the distinct honor of hosting Bede Sheppard, the senior researcher in the children's rights division of Human Rights Watch. We know it as the Sheppard conference. Not only did Bede visit Ann Arbor to give a keynote lecture for our Ethics Without Borders Education Project, he taught a class of high school students about his work, talked again about it at lunch, and then attended a reception and dinner, where we asked him the same questions.

There was a time, we suppose, when telling someone you were a development officer for any organization would have elicited this knowing response, "oh yes, fund-raising." Or when having this position may well have required a spirited defense, including taking out a full page ad in the New York Times to respond to any and all critics: "Why I Am Proud to Be A Development Officer."

Concussions. Dehydration.  Fraternization with players.  Pressures from coaches, parents and athletes to give the nod to go back into the game after getting injured.  Athletic trainers have a lot of ethical issues to worry about. How are they able to balance and deal with the many dilemmas they face? And what are athletic trainers for anyway? What are their roles and obligations on the field and off? 

Barton Bund talks with Arborist Jack Richardson, founder and CEO of Guardian Tree Experts. The Ann Arbor tree care company approaches the work from a scientific point of view, helping clients preserve their trees, not just cut them down. The young entrepreneur talks about how he started his business on the right ethical foot, and where he sees it growing. Environmental ethics and business ethics are a constant balancing act, in a town with as many trees as this one.

Our talk with City Council Member Christopher Taylor. After a mini-fracas involving emails and emoticons between Council Members, Taylor discusses with Bart and Jeanine how this small event speaks to the peaks and valleys of public service. Now that the dust has settled and the small matter seems to have blown over, the conversation turns to the role of the representative and his approach to ethical governance. This lively and fascinating discussion was recorded Thursday, July 2, 2009.

Subscribe to Working Ethics Podcast Series