Ethical Leadership: Training for Times of Crisis

We live in an era of politicians, not statesmen. Too many leaders on both sides of the aisle view the offices they hold, not as opportunities to serve the nation and its citizens, but as vehicles to fulfill their personal aspirations. This presents a crisis of leadership at a time when it is most needed. Global restructuring has caused significant issues for our government, economy, environment and for the well being of our current and future citizens.


This crisis has driven staff of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, and faculty members of Western Michigan University and WMU-Cooley Law School to create a vehicle to educate and inspire students and community leaders to adopt the ethical leadership standards exhibited by President Ford throughout his life. Law students, WMU graduate students, and the public are all invited to enroll.

The goals of the “Leadership In Times of Crisis” class are:

1. Identify and evaluate the rights and duties of the major stakeholders in decisions.
2. Identify dynamic factors that have historically impacted the ethical behavior of leaders.
3. Acquire the ability to identify and distinguish between legal obligations, ethical obligations and personal and societal morals.
4. Acquire the ability to recognize on which of the above three principles a decision is based in whole, part or combination.
5. Demonstrate an ability to make a decision in a situation that has many valid competing interests that is informed, reasoned, legal, ethical and morally sound.
6. Create a personal approach for ethical decision making to utilize for the rest of the participants’ lives.

Faculty class leaders of both WMU and WMU-Cooley Law are nationally and internationally recognized experts in law and ethics. Topics include The Nixon Pardon, The Last Days of Vietnam and the NYC Bankruptcy. Original source materials will be used, as the goal is for the participants to come to know President Ford not just through his role and work, but as a person devoted to ethical and moral leadership.

The class consists of three sessions which will be held on a Saturday mornings in September, October and November 2016. Participants will be graded on the quality and extent of their participation in the discussions and work in class and on the quality of the paper that will be required which creates and outlines their personal blueprint of leadership that they will adopt in their roles as current and future leaders.

vuletich_victoriaThis blog author, Professor Victoria V. Vuletich joined the full-time WMU-Cooley faculty in 2008 after working with the State Bar of Michigan since 1999. As the Deputy Division Director of the Professional Standard’s Division, Prof. Vuletich advised attorneys regarding ethical dilemmas and practical issues they were facing. She is a frequent presenter on legal ethics issues and is a member of an ad hoc task force that advocated and proposed legislation to address the victimization of immigrants by “notarios.”

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