Teaching Business Ethics in Haiti
“Haiti is a place of amazing contrasts. It is extremely poor. Most houses are small and many primitive, but the people have a certain dignity, which never fails to impress me,” says L.Lynn Hogue, who spent Spring Break teaching business ethics through his church.
Hogue, professor emeritus, traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti, with the Bishop Tharp Business and Technology Institute to teach its business law course. BTI is an Episcopal community college that offers associate degrees in business management and computer support technology.
“It was gratifying to be able to contribute to BTI, which is educating a cadre of college-trained graduates to assume a role in the recovery and development of Haiti, a country that has endured a great deal,” he says.
Hogue learned about BTI through his church, which has supported the college for five years. He volunteered to teach to help enhance the school’s curriculum.
“This is the second year I have taught at BTI. I developed a set of readings last year in English and—with the help of Google Translator—French,” Hogue says. “This year, I adapted those into PowerPoint slides to present the material. Tracy Templeton, the LexisNexis representative for the College of Law, was able to arrange for the donation of thumb drives, so each student was able to have a copy of the information to refer to for the course.”
Hogue’s wife Carol, a professor of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, joined him. She helped Maison de Naissance, a maternity center in Torbeck, write a proposal for the Gates Foundation.
“Carol and I were probably predisposed to consider this opportunity because of our daughter. She was a student at Lynn University when the earthquake struck Haiti. Four students and two faculty members, including one of her favorites, were killed in the collapse of the Hotel Montana. They were all on a school-sponsored service project with Food for the Poor,” he says.
Hogue spent a week in Haiti, teaching to a class of 90 students on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. He says it was a much different experience than in his classroom at Georgia State University College of Law.
“Students do not ask many questions and apparently aren’t used to being asked questions by a teacher. That makes teaching a subject like business ethics, which is at its core about evaluating and making ethical choices, something of a challenge,” he says.
It was a truly rewarding experience, and he looks forward to volunteering again next year.