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Leadership in Times of Crisis ethics program offered at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Western Michigan University, WMU-Cooley, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum are collaborating in a new class for students of both schools and members of the community. The program was developed to educate and inspire individuals to adopt the ethical leadership standards exhibited by President Ford throughout his life. Leadership in Times of Crisis classes consist of three sessions, held one Saturday morning per month at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum’s DeVos Learning Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “We live in an era of politicians, not statesmen,” said Victoria Vuletich, WMUCooley Law School professor. “Too many leaders on both sides of the aisle view the office they hold as a vehicle to fulfill their personal aspirations instead of an opportunity to serve the nation and its citizens. This crisis of leadership drove us to create an ethical leadership class at a time when it is most needed.” The class, taught by WMU and WMU-Cooley faculty, offers students the opportunity to evaluate the rights and duties of the major stakeholders when making decisions, to distinguish between legal and ethical obligations and to create a personal approach for ethical decision-making.

During the fall sessions, Professor Devin Schindler explored lessons from President Ford’s pardon of former President Richard Nixon. Professors and Brigadier Generals Thomas Edmonds (WMU) and Michael McDaniel (WMU-Cooley) explored leadership lessons from the fall of Saigon and the Helsinki Accords. The final session of the program featured Kalamazoo County Commissioner Kevin Wordelman, who led a discussion on President Ford’s handling of the New York City bankruptcy and its relevance today.

Reservations are being taken for the next three sessions in 2017, which will be held on three Saturday mornings – one each in January, February and March. The cost for WMU-Cooley and WMU graduates is $250. For more information about “Leadership in Times of Crisis,” contact WMU-Cooley Professor Victoria Vuletich, 616-301-6800, ext. 6960, vuleticv@ cooley.edu. Participants who successfully complete the program receive a certificate of participation from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. The program has also received the support of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. The foundation has provided students with a copy of the DVD, Gerald R. Ford, A Test of Character, which was commissioned by the Peter F. Secchia Family.

West Michigan community members and students from WMU-Cooley Law School discuss President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon during the Leadership in Times of Crisis course.

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Benchmark | Winter 2016