NCAA leader headlines Ethics Awareness Week observances at Kennesaw State

KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 9, 2023

Ethics Awareness Week
KSU President Kathy Schwaig and NCAA executive Felicia Martin
Putting the interests of student athletes first is a top ethical responsibility of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its members like Kennesaw State University, Felicia Martin, an NCAA executive, said Wednesday in a speech at KSU.

Integrity must guide every action in organizations such as the NCAA and Kennesaw State, which is observing its annual Ethics Awareness Week, Martin said. Her speech was the keynote address in a week filled with special lectures and events focusing on ethics.

“We cannot consider ethics in our personal philosophy without regard to the broader implications and how our actions extend beyond ourselves to places of work, to our staff and our colleagues,” Martin said.

Ethical leaders set the tone for ethical behaviors throughout an organization, said Martin, who is senior vice president of inclusion, education and community engagement for the NCAA, in her speech to an audience of students, faculty and staff in the University Rooms of the Carmichael Student Center on the Kennesaw Campus.

The NCAA is made up of about 1,100 member institutions and is governed by its members who set the rules for the organization. Those members award about $3.5 billion in athletics scholarships to more than 500,000 student athletes.

In setting rules for the 24 intercollegiate sports overseen by the NCAA, volunteer committee members are guided by integrity, ethical practices and thinking so that student athletes are treated fairly and equitably, Martin said.

Kennesaw State President Kathy Schwaig said in remarks prior to Martin’s speech that the University is guided by the philosophy that the success of all students is paramount. She said KSU’s athletics programs exist to benefit the student athletes first and foremost.

“When you have 45,000 students, we believe every single one of our 400-plus student athletes is still an individual and still matters,” Schwaig said. “They are never a means to an end for the University.”

Martin praised Kennesaw State for making the time to spotlight its daily commitment to ethical behavior.

“I applaud the university-wide intentionality and the time you set aside again for introspection and to reaffirm your commitment to integrity, ethical practices and thinking,” Martin said.

Martin first joined the NCAA in 2017 as vice president leading the organization’s Eligibility Center. Prior to that she was a senior associate athletics director for academics, student services and sports administration at Texas Tech University.

Ethics Awareness Week is an annual initiative of the University System of Georgia and it’s 26 member institutions. At Kennesaw State the week included lectures on topics that included:

  • “How to think ethically” by Robert N. Johnson, professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri
  • “Ethics, civility and inclusion” by Sonia Toson, Kennesaw State’s chief diversity officer
  • “Ethics and free speech: Where’s the line?” by Nwakaego Nkumeh Walker, Kennesaw State’s chief legal affairs officer
  • “Responsible use of artificial intelligence for university leaders, faculty and students” by Anissa Vega, associate vice provost for curriculum and academic innovation

Kennesaw State students, faculty and staff also turned in virtually to panel discussions from USG on ethics and compliance best practices, as well as ethical considerations for a data-driven landscape.

– By Gary Tanner

Photos by Matt Yung

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.