MTSU management professor promotes business ethics...

MTSU management professor promotes business ethics as inaugural Tolbert fellow

Leigh Anne Clark, associate professor in MTSU’s Department of Management, just reached the midway point in her first year as the inaugural Tolbert Faculty Fellow in Business Ethics within the Jennings A. Jones College of Business.

Dr. Leigh Anne Clark, Department of Management, Jones College of Business

Dr. Leigh Anne Clark

As the Tolbert Faculty Fellow, Clark will serve a two-year term “as the faculty champion, leader and central point of contact for all extracurricular and co-curricular activities related to business ethics in the Jones College of Business,” said David Urban, dean of the Jones College.

“She is consistently rated by our students as one of the top instructors in the Jones College,” Urban said. “She is also an active researcher, with her research published in many prominent journals.”

Clark, who teaches courses in business ethics, leadership, and nonprofit management, has taken on a position made possible through a contribution by MTSU alumnus Larry Tolbert (’73) and his wife, Martha, of Murfreesboro.

Dr. David Urban

Dr. David Urban

Clark’s work as Tolbert fellow will build on the college’s weeklong Tom and Martha Boyd Ethical Leadership Week, which was held the past five years and brings local alumni and leaders into the classroom to share their experiences and advice on how to uphold ethical principles in the workplace. This year’s event was canceled because of COVID-19.

“We will focus on developing an ethical decision-making framework for all business students to implement,” Clark said of her mission. “We believe that better decisions can be achieved by going through this process to better examine a decision on all stakeholders rather than mainly focusing on the bottom line.”

That framework will ask business students to consider the college’s “Ethical Decision-Making Process” that evaluates a proposed solution for compliance, personal integrity, impact on individual rights, promoting more good than harm, and empathy.

MTSU wordmarkClark, a tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Management since 2007, has a J.D. from Emory University and a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University. She has also been a driving force behind the college’s Non-Profit Management Summit, which has engaged hundreds of students interested in social innovation and nonprofit management. In 2018, she received the E.W. “Wink” Midgett Distinguished Service Award in the Jones College.

“Ethical leaders are ones that are transparent, have clear values that they consistently follow, communicate openly and act in the best interest of the company and the people the company serves,” Clark said. “Although some people seem to be natural leaders, we can learn to be strong leaders if we learn the practices or behaviors of good leaders.”

— Jimmy Hart (

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