Founder of the “Corporate Governance” class in the Scheller College of Business, Seletha Butler is known as Tech’s very own champion for ethics. Her career and research have provided her with a vast knowledge and experience base in ethics.
Before coming to Tech, she graduated from Harvard Law School and practiced as an attorney for 14 years. Within this time period, she gained experience as both in-house counsel and external counsel for global firms focusing on mergers and acquisitions. As in-house counsel, she had the opportunity to understand how deals were put together through interaction with businesspeople; in contrast, as external counsel, she found she had to effectively probe businesses for details to gain strategic information to perform her work.
After practicing law, Butler went on to gain more knowledge by obtaining a Tech MBA with a global focus. She has always been enthusiastic about the academic world, so she accepted a teaching opportunity for undergraduates at Tech’s Scheller College of Business. In between teaching classes on business law and ethics, she completes research.
Professor Butler conducts research that focuses on boards of directors and corporate governance. She explains the importance of the composition and activities of organizations’ boards of directors through her research. Butler also helps find ways for organizations to diversify their boards of directors. Within her other research focus — corporate governance — she analyzes the ethics of organizations and how they function.
People or platforms that foster and accept energy and the need to progress through change inspire Butler. She enjoys completing her research because she looks at both the theoretical view as well as how it is applicable to industries. Her findings directly affect each and every organization. Industries and trade associations around the U.S. have recognized the importance of ethics after cases like the Enron scandal. They ask Butler to present her findings to them to help them implement ethical standards within their departments.
When Professor Butler is not conducting research or leading a classroom, she enjoys travelling both domestically and internationally to see how people live and also to integrate herself with other cultures. She likes to “shop for a purpose” and hang out with her friends in her free time. She is also passionate about following college sports because of the “integrity, competitive spirit and hard work” that the players and coaches express before and after the games.
Butler feels that she is able to balance her research, social life and classes easily. She says her favorite recent accomplishment is “getting students comfortable to engage with [her] as a professor and to have them share interests and seeing how [her] experience can help them in their careers.”
Through a student poll, Butler was awarded the Scheller College of Business Professor of the Year in elective courses in 2013. She has the ability to make her ethics class lessons relevant to the work world by bringing in speakers and fostering group activities. Her goal is for her students to enjoy learning about ethics so that they may carry the knowledge they gain from her class into the work world. Professor Butler is an asset to the Scheller team because of her talent for mentoring students and skill in collaborating with the faculty team.
Professor Butler thoroughly enjoys being part of the Jacket community and is inspired by “young people looking to make a positive impact on the society we live in.” She believes in inspiring her students to cultivate a strong understanding of the importance of ethics to utilize in their lives and careers.