Professional Ethics Certification

The Merrill “Gus” and David M. Armstrong Certification in Professional Ethics is available to MCA students and provides comprehensive training in ethics to better prepare for the decision-making and judgment challenges young professionals face in today’s workplace.  Providing instruction at both the foundational and applied levels, and customizable to the student’s career interests, the program uniquely combines traditional classroom instruction with a case study model that is designed specifically for each participant by an industry or organizational partner.

The new initiative was nearly two years in the making, involving MCA faculty and other national leaders in the field. It was named to honor and is designed to reflect Merrill “Gus” Armstrong and the late David Armstrong’s exemplary way of conducting business on a global scale with ethics at the forefront. MCA executive board member and trustee David Casterline, who serves as Corporate Director of Communications at Armstrong International, spearheaded the effort and chairs the MCA “Professional Ethics Advisory Board.”

Armstrong International’s core values, along with both David and Gus Armstrong’s teachings, were driving forces in the program, which seeks to emulate the enormous contributions of these leaders in the field of business ethics. The Merrill “Gus” and David M. Armstrong Certification in Professional Ethics includes plans for expanding to a Center of activities focused on issues of workplace ethics and other central themes of Armstrong International’s unique corporate culture. The larger vision calls for the development of corporate training programs, along with MCA faculty driven research and consulting engagements on the topic.


The Merrill “Gus” and David M. Armstrong Certification in Professional Ethics is accomplished in three stages: 
1)  Foundational Ethics Coursework
2) Applied Ethics Coursework
3) Case Study and Business Partner Presentation

Foundational Ethics Component
Students are expected to gain a solid working knowledge of the major ethical theories, as well as basic ethical terms and distinctions.  This foundational competence is generally met by the completion of a 3-4 credit hour course in theoretical ethics at the student’s home institution. 

Applied Ethics Component
The Professional Ethics Certification additionally will enhance a student’s ability to apply ethics principles/analysis to a selected field.  With input and approval by the Faculty Advisory Board, students will select their specialized, applied focus. 

Case Study Component
Students are also required to complete a case study in their selected career or “focus” field.  A committee of professionals in the student’s focus area will design a real-world ethical scenario to which the student responds through a written analysis.  The Professional Committee, selected by the student with approval from the Faculty Advisory Board (or MCA), will consist of at least two, but not more than three practicing professionals in the student’s chosen field.  The Professional Committee will write the case study, as well as review the student’s final case response according to the grading matrix supplied by the Faculty Advisory Board.  In addition, a formal presentation of the completed case study is made to the practicing professionals at their place of business.

Faculty Advisory Board
An advisory board has been established to oversee the certification process.  The advisory board consists of three ethics professors from MCA member colleges and universities, and one expert in case study evaluation from outside the MCA collective.