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Sample - Syllabus (to be updated for the 2025 trip)

While the syllabus has not been finalized yet, here is an example of what assignments we had last year. 


Instructor – Professor Paul Fiorelli, J.D./M.B.A.,
Director, Cintas Institute for Business Ethics 
226 Smith Hall, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-1211

Course Purpose – The course will compare and contrast the US to an international view of ethics, especially the UK and France.  It will include discussions of ethics-related material, including privacy, compliance, governance, fraud, corruption, and corporate social responsibility.

I strongly recommend that over the holiday break students watch the movie Les Miserables, and write the short paper.

Important Dates

Friday, January 26, 2024 from 5:15-7:30PM EST in person and hybrid via zoom: Mandatory Pre-trip Orientation Meeting. Roommates will be assigned.

Thursday, February 1, 2024: Les Miserables paper due on Canvas at midnight, grace period expires midnight 2/4/24.

Thursday February 8, 2024: Michael Woodford paper due, grace period expires midnight 2/11/24

Friday, February 16, 2024 5:15-9:30PM EST. Mandatory Pre-trip zoom meeting and we’ll go over trip details and discuss the companies that will be giving us briefings
Thursday, February 22, 2024:
BP/Starbucks/L'Oreal Code of Conduct Comparison paper due on Canvas at midnight, grace period expires on Sunday, 2/25/24 at midnight.

Thursday, March 24, 2024: Reflection paper due on Canvas by midnight
Friday, March 22, 2024 from 5:15-9:30PM in person and hybrid via zoom: Individual presentations


15% Les Miserables Paper

First, review the following web links: 

*Les Mis overview

*Ethics in Les Miserables

*Ethics in Les Miserables


       Then watch the movie Les Miserables. There are several "concert versions" of Les Miserables available on youtube, or you can rent the 2012 movie version on iTunes.

       After you've watched the movie and read the links, write a 2-3 page (double spaced) paper comparing the law (represented by Javert) to ethics (Jean Valjean).   The paper is due by midnight on Thursday, February 1, 2024. If you need additional time, students have a grace period, which expires at 11:59PM, Sunday, February 4, 2024.  Any paper submitted after the grace period expires will lose ten (10) points per day from the final grade of the paper. There will be no exceptions due to business or family crises.


We are tentatively scheduled to have dinner with Michael Woodford, the former CEO of Olympus, and his family on Monday, March 4, 2024. Xavier has purchased copies of Michael Woodford's best selling business book entitled, "Exposure: From CEO to Whistleblower."  Michael will individually sign and autograph a copy of each book for you to read at your leisure, after the course is over. (There will not be an additional assignment, based on the book "Exposure".  That's for your reading pleasure.


For this course, read  the article, "Snitches Get Stitches", and watch the two videos: (1) Samurai and Idiots, and (2) Michael Woodford University of St. Gallens speech, then write a 3-5 page (double spaced) paper by Thursday February 8, 2024. If you need additional time, students have a “grace period”, which expires at midnight, Sunday, February 11, 2024.  Any paper submitted after the grace period expires will lose ten (10) points per day, from the final grade of the paper. There will be no exceptions due to business or family crises.  The student should begin working on the project immediately and deliver the project early if he/she believes there will be any problem with making the February 8, 2024 deadline.  All papers must be submitted to, electronically.

15%Michael Woodford Paper

20% BP/Starbucks/L'Oreal Code of Conduct Comparison

Review the following web links:

BP Code of Conduct

Starbucks Code of Ethics (instead of one pdf file, Starbucks has multiple online links):

L'Oreal Code of Ethics"


and write a 3-5 page double spaced paper comparing and contrasting these three Codes of Conduct.  You may consider selecting one or two sections from either code (e.g. how does each business encourage employees to speak up, if they see a violation).  You could also address the “tone” of each Code.  Does one seem more “legalistic” than the others?  

This paper is due by Thursday, February 22, 20234 at 11:59PM.  There will be a “grace period” that expires on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at 11:59PM. Any paper submitted after the grace period expires will lose ten (10) points per day, from the final grade of the paper. There will be no exceptions due to business or family crises

20% Individual Research Presentation

Research presentation:  Only one student is allowed to choose any given topic.  Students will be able to choose their presentation topic, on a “first come, first serve basis”.  This means a student may “reserve” a topic for their presentation by emailing it to me.  On Friday, March 22, 2024 each student will give a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation.  We’ll meet in Smith Hall, Room #252 from 5:15-9:30PM, and have a hybrid zoom call for those who are outside of Cincinnati.


Topics for consideration - 

(n.b. – this list is not to be considered exhaustive.  Students may propose other topics for consideration and may research these other topics, if they receive the permission of the Professor). Topics in red have already been chosen by a student.   The following are a “laundry list” of topics that are not arranged in any conceptual order.


1)ethics programs

a.code of ethics - Ben Sence

b.stakeholder analysis

2)compliance programs

a.Federal Sentencing Guidelines equivalent

b.Sarbanes-Oxley equivalent 

3)corporate governance  

a. The Cadbury Report

b.Business Judgment rule

c.The Role of the Board - David Horton


a.GAAP v. IFRS - Matt Higgins

b.Rules v. principles

5)Risk assessment

a.Internal controls

b.Section 404, SOX equivalent -  Caitlin Krabach


a.Are privacy rights viewed differently in the US and the UK?

7)Fraud and corruption

a.Transparency International - Brandon Felton

b.FCPA v. UK Bribery Act and Sapin II - Owen Eilerman


a.Do European companies view whistleblowers, and whistleblower protections differently than the US? - Avery Carrico

 b.CNIL (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés) - Kristyn Jossart

9)Corporate culture

a.Tone at the top, shared values, willingness to bring bad news forward - Jameeda Rucker


a.Workers rights

b.Universal Declaration of Human Rights (50th anniversary)


a.At-will employment

b.Works councils

12)Diversity and inclusion

a.Sexual harassment - Sydney Westerbeck

b.Employment discrimination - Meagan Lesher

c.Religious discrimination

d.Age discrimination - Rosemarie Sutton 

e.Disability discrimination

f.Work-life balance questions

13)Conflicts of interest


14)Regulatory matters

a.Insider trading - Feng Huang

b.Products liability


i.EU regulators prohibiting GE and Honeywell merger

15) Corporate Social Responsibility

a.Environmental issues

i.Global warming - Abby Patterson

ii.Kyoto Protocol - Nina Welp

b.Corporate Philanthropy - Zach Welp

16)Marketing and Consumerism - Patrick Magarian    

17)Regulations regarding children

18)Intellectual Protection

19)Software ethics 

20% Participation

       This is a combination of participation during the trip activities, the reflective blogs, and the evening debrief.  Each activity during the trip has a maximum of 10 points for participation.  There may be several activities during any given day, and each one will be graded separately.  Excellent participation at a briefing (without dominating the discussion) might receive 5 or 6 points. Students will receive 1 point if they show up to the briefing, but do not participate. They will get 0 participation points if they have to miss the briefing.   

       Students can add to their briefing grade by participating in the reflective blog, even if they could not attend that day’s class.  Students who actively participate in class and during the evening debrief, and give thoughtful comments in their reflective blog (note: only the student and the professor can view) will maximize their participation points for any given class.    

10% Reflective Paper

Each student will write a 3-page reflective journal on their experiences both within and outside the classroom and briefings.   This paper will synthesize the student’s perceptions of the differences and similarities between American and international perspectives on ethics related issues. The reflective paper is due by midnight, Thursday March 21, 2024.  There will be a grace period until 5:15PM, Sunday March 24, 2024.   Any papers received after this grace period expires will lose up to ten (10) points per day for every day the paper is late.

Final Grading Ranges

A  = 95+ 

A- =90.0-  94.9

B+= 87.0 - 89.9

B  = 85.0-86.9

 B-  = 80.0 - 85.9

 C+= 77.0 - 79.0

 C  = 75.0 - 76.9

 C- = 70.0 - 74.9

 F  <  70

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