Robert McGee - PhD Applied Global Ethics, 2011

Robert McGee earned his PhD in Applied Global Ethics in 2011.


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Robert McGee earned his PhD in Applied Global Ethics in 2011. He says, “I chose Leeds Beckett because of its strong reputation in the field of ethics. Many other universities merely offer ethics as part of their philosophy department. In my opinion however, Leeds Beckett devotes more resources to ethics than most.”

“I first became interested in ethics when I was an undergraduate student at Gannon University in the United States. Gannon is a small liberal arts college and had a lot of priests with PhDs. One of the five philosophy classes I had to take was ethics and it was one of my favourites.”

“Several decades later, when I was a practicing Certified Public Accountant (CPA), the profession started devoting more emphasis to ethics, but I noticed that most of the people who lectured or wrote on ethics didn’t really have much of a foundation in it. They mostly parroted paragraphs from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Code of Professional Conduct but many of the paragraphs in that Code were subsequently struck down by the courts for being anticompetitive. Indeed, at one time, the Code prohibited accountants from advertising their services, for example, which served to protect the large accounting firms at the expense of the smaller, more competitive firms. Even passing out business cards was considered an unethical practice at one time, until the courts started striking down those provisions as being a violation of free speech and free press. The accounting profession was using the Code to protect themselves from competition at the expense of the general public, yet no one in the accounting profession spoke out against it. That prompted me to write an article addressing this issue, titled Codes of Ethics Can be Unethical.”

Over the years Robert has published almost 60 non-fiction books and more than 700 articles, with many covering ethical issues, he says “I mostly published technical articles and books that address some accounting, legal or tax issues, but starting in the late 1990s, I started to shift the emphasis to ethical issues, not just in accounting, but also in law, economics, and politics. A few of my papers have won ‘Best Manuscript’ awards at various conferences, and several studies have ranked me number one in the world for my accounting ethics and business ethics scholarship. The Social Science Research Network currently ranks me number 3 in the world all-time among accounting professors.”

As well as his PhD from Leeds Beckett, Robert has earned 12 other doctorates in various fields. Robert says “I suppose I can blame Gannon University for that as well, as we had to take courses in many different social science and humanities subjects, and I became interested in many of them, but I didn’t have time to pursue my interests in those areas at the time. A few decades later, when I had some free time, I decided to go back to school and study some of those disciplines in depth. I was working full-time, so I had to pursue all of my doctorates part-time and mostly as an external student.”

Robert is also a best-selling author with his novel Justifiable Homicide: A Political Thriller reaching the best-seller list in the categories of mysteries and thrillers and in his spare time enjoys reading and practicing martial arts – an area where he has recently enjoyed national success, a hobby he’d previously enjoyed as a teenager. He says “In 2012 when I moved to North Carolina I started taekwondo again, at the age of 65. My instructors pressured me into competing in a local tournament. I did better than expected, so they encouraged me to try a regional tournament. Again, I did better than expected. After competing in some more regional tournaments I decided to compete in the national championships. Over the past few years I have been able to win 22 gold medals in Taekwondo National Championship tournaments and six first place trophies in Karate National Championships. Because of those championships, I was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. I have also won world championships in taekwondo, karate and kung fu and silver medalled in tai chi a few months after my 70th birthday. My career gold medal count is now up to 205, and I'm delighted to have broken the 200 medal barrier.”

Robert most recently won his fourth martial arts world championship for sparring in the Men’s Black Belt 50+ age division, he explains “Although, being 70, I could have competed in the 60+ ring I decided to compete in the 50+ age division as I wanted to challenge myself.”

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