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Abramoff Talks Behavioral Ethics in Documentary Premiere

Thursday, November 15, 4 p.m.
Belo Center for New Media (BMC) 5.102
Followed by Q & A with Mimi Drumwright (Dept. of Advertising) and Robert Prentice (Dept. of Business, Government & Society)

The premiere of In It To Win, the 25-minute documentary of the Jack Abramoff story produced during his on-campus visit, celebrates the introduction of the new Ethics Unwrapped video series and learning tools. Featuring disgraced lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff, this documentary explores the internal biases and external pressures he faced—and to which we’re all susceptible—as well as the consequences of his unethical decision-making.

The Ethics Unwrapped series is an excellent resource for explaining key concepts in ethics and engaging students in discussions about ethical issues, and provides a platform for fostering meaningful discussions in the classroom. In addition to the longer documentary, which is accompanied by teaching materials developed by UT Austin faculty, shorter “concepts unwrapped” videos cover basic concepts in ethics education, business ethics, and the new field of behavioral ethics. Six shorter videos also supplement In It To Win, using Abramoff’s story to illustrate ideas in behavioral ethics.

Jess Miner, Ph.D., a senior program coordinator and curriculum specialist in this school’s Center for the Core Curriculum, acted as a consultant on the series. Dr. Miner oversees the Ethics and Leadership flag, which aims to equip every undergraduate with skills necessary for making ethical decisions in their adult and professional lives. Courses carrying the ethics flag expose students to ethical issues and to the process of applying ethical reasoning in real-life situations. Ethics Unwrapped Project Director Cara Biasucci called Dr. Miner “an integral part of developing this series,” going on to say that

Jess advised, consulted, and is helping to distribute. She is also guiding the development of teaching materials so we offer robust and useful tools for the classroom. I couldn’t have done this without her support and guidance.

About Behavioral Ethics

The behavioral approach to ethics uses the tools of psychology and related fields to understand why people decide and act as they do when facing ethical issues. Teaching a behavioral understanding of ethics can alert students to the organizational pressures and psychological biases that commonly cause well-intentioned people to act unethically. Concepts Unwrapped, the first series of Ethics Unwrapped, illuminates ethical concepts by sharing real-life ex