What to know about SCCE’s Basic Compliance & Ethics Academy

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the doors of an SCCE Academy? Are you an ethics and compliance enthusiast eager to hear more? Please read on for what to expect if you plan to sign up for an academy event yourself, or to simply brush up on some best practices when learning and networking in the E&C space. 

The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) holds a Basic Compliance and Ethics Academy that “provides comprehensive, classroom-style training in the essentials of managing a compliance and ethics program. Attendees will come away better prepared to support, enhance, and manage a compliance and ethics program, mitigate risk within their organization, and understand the components of effective program infrastructure.” The academy coursework gives you the opportunity to earn the continuing education units (CEUs) needed to sit for the Compliance Certification Board's optional Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP) exam, which is offered on the last day of the academy. 

I had the opportunity to complete training through the SCCE Academy and found it to be a worthwhile experience for exploring the latest topics circulating the E&C space and connecting with my fellow ethics and compliance professionals. If you’re considering to attend the academy, here are some things I recommend you do first. 

How to prepare for the SCCE Academy and what to expect 

First and foremost, pack an open mind. You will need to be mentally prepared for a lot of information coming at you in the form of rules, regulations, charts, and a whole lot of case studies. Make sure you clear your calendar as much as possible as you will be spending very long days in a conference room! Be ready to contribute, as there are a lot of opportunities to work together with your neighbors. 

Day one began with a discussion on organizational ethics and a compliance overview in the morning, followed by sessions like “Compliance Oversight & Structure” and “Creating & Reviewing Compliance Policies and Procedures” in the afternoon. One early takeaway for me was the importance of the compliance function having both autonomy in an organization as well as a direct line to the board of directors, as the board is responsible for compliance program oversight. The next few days covered it all: from risk assessments to privacy, benchmarking, training, auditing, investigations, conflicts of interest, and due diligence. There were plenty of case studies that made us all think exceptionally hard. My provided binder was vigorously highlighted and marked by the end, and I felt ready to sit for the exam on that last day!  

The “shoulds” and “should nots” for E&C professionals attending the SCCE Academy 

As ethics and compliance advisors at LRN, my team talks a lot about transitioning away from listing “dos” and “don’ts” in E&C programs and, instead, illustrating values-based principles of what people “should” and “should not” do. (See our latest report evaluating codes of conduct as an example!) The same thinking applies to how E&C professionals approach the SCCE Academy. Here are some of my quick “should” and “should not” tips: 

As an E&C leader, you should: 

  • Introduce yourself to the folks in your class. Make a point to sit with someone new when you can during lunch and other breaks to chat with your peers about their industry and experience. You’d be surprised how much you can learn by simply connecting over a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.  
  • Remember that risks may be similar across industries, but people’s backgrounds and experience in the field create powerful nuances and learning opportunities.  
  • Know that you’re not alone. For example, budget constraints and lack of business buy-in are two common concerns facing compliance departments. Learn from other E&C professionals about how they navigate these sticky situations. Being careful not to be too specific, overall strategies can be discussed openly with your peers and instructors. 


As an E&C leader, you should not: 

  • Be discouraged. Best practices in one area may not apply directly to you, and some concepts may seem impossible to understand. But you may be surprised to see what you and your peers have in common. When learning E&C framework, it helps to remember that compliance programs are not one size fits all, and an E&C professional’s job is never “done.” But that’s okay! 
  • Invite distractions to the class. Getting up every few minutes to take a call or constant texting are distracting for everyone, including the presenters who are kind enough to share their expertise. 
  • Be too harsh a critic of others. The point of learning together is to build each other up. Starting to wonder about the effectiveness of your current company’s E&C program? Check out LRN’s Code of Conduct Report or our E&C Program Effectiveness Report to see how you stack up globally against your peers. 


The key takeaway 

You have or are considering signing up for an SCCE Academy ostensibly because you have a passion for ethics and compliance. Make sure to act like it! The E&C space is constantly evolving, and we can all learn from one another. Be kind and curious. Pay attention to your peers as well as your instructors and take good notes so you can bring what you’ve learned back with you as you continue on your E&C journey.