Question of the Day

Celebrating Our Ethical Culture

The University System of Georgia (USG) is committed to an ethical culture. Annually, the USG highlights this commitment through Ethics Awareness Week which is scheduled this year for November 11–17, 2019.  The purpose of this week is to remind employees of our commitment to an ethical culture and to celebrate all the positive impacts of USG across this state, this country and even internationally.  The purpose is also to remind employees of our shared ethical values and expectations.  It also serves as a reminder of how we incorporate ethical decision-making in all we do and how we are good stewards of the resources entrusted to us. 

Chancellor Steve Wrigley has emphasized the importance of an ethical culture and how it is critical to the success of not only our institutions, but our employees, students, communities and ultimately how Georgia is educated.

Ethics Awareness Week is part of a comprehensive Ethics and Compliance Program.  The Program includes a system-level Ethics Policy and Code of Conduct, on-board ethics training, periodic ethics refresher training, and an Ethics and Compliance Reporting Hotline.

In support of this effort, we will be hosting activities to build upon our ethical culture by promoting activities related to our shared core values of integrity, excellence, accountability and respect.  It creates a great platform for our institutions to engage speakers, conduct training and further educate ourselves around best practices within this area. We will emphasize that, in addition to our ethical values, our Code of Conduct is the foundation of the USG’s priorities of degree attainment, affordability and efficiency. 

Activities during this week will bring awareness to ethics, reinforce the principles of recognizing the hard work of employees, and promote our shared values.  Our theme for this week is the “SPIRIT of USG.”  Activities planned will emphasize:

Stewardship. Prevention. Integrity. Responsibility. Inspiration. Trust.

S = Stewardship: Carefully Managing State Resources

We recognize that we hold the resources of the University System of Georgia in trust for the people of Georgia and that we must be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.

P = Prevention: Effective Internal Controls

Consistent messaging should reinforce the expectation for employees to “do the right thing.” Effective internal controls should be implemented and followed to promote efficient operations and prevent the misuse of resources.

I = Integrity: Building a Culture of Ethical Behavioral

Ethical decision-making should be engrained in our work culture, so that employees instinctively make ethical decisions. A value-driven work environment is intrinsically rewarding.

R = Responsibility: Upholding Our Duty to Report

USG employees have an affirmative duty to report wrongdoing. The USG is committed to preventing and detecting fraud, waste and abuse.

I = Inspiration: Leading by Example

Our actions are the best indicator of our ethical values. It’s not just about meeting compliance standards … rather, it’s about showing ethical leadership in everyday decisions in ways that will inspire others.

T = Trust: Preserving Public Confidence

Trust is an essential element in a productive work environment. We can maintain and build trust by actions which are honest, fair and consistent.


It is up to us to do the right thing. It is about our reputation. It is about our pride. It is about who we are and what we do.  We represent the SPIRIT of USG.


USG Ethics Policy

Statement of Core Values

Every member of the USG community is required to adhere to the USG Statement of Core Values – Integrity, Excellence, Accountability, and Respect – that form and guide the daily work of the organization.

Integrity – We will be honest, fair, impartial, and unbiased in our dealings both with and on behalf of the USG.

Excellence – We will perform our duties to foster a culture of excellence and high quality in everything we do.

Accountability – We firmly believe that education in the form of scholarship, research, teaching, service, and developing others is a public trust. We will live up to this trust through safeguarding our resources and being good stewards of the human, intellectual, physical, and fiscal resources given to our care.

Respect – We recognize the inherent dignity and rights of every person, and we will do our utmost to fulfill our resulting responsibility to treat each person with fairness, compassion, and decency.