In recognition of its excellence in and commitment to ethics education, the College of Business recently received a grant from the Daniels Fund through its Ethics Initiative. The $1.25 million, five-year grant will allow the College to continue to provide students with a strong foundation in principle-based ethics education and decision making through classroom learning, competitions, and events.
The College partners with the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program, a prestigious group of just 11 schools in the West, to deliver principle-based ethics education. By reinforcing the value of ethical decision making both inside the classroom and out, the College provides students with the tools to help lead productive and principled lives and drives home the point that doing business the “right way” can help deliver on the College’s vision that business can be used to help create a better world.
“The Daniels Fund grant really supports our objectives of ethical education geared toward student learning and ethics outreach across campus and to the business community,” said Paul Mallette, associate dean in the College of Business and director of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at CSU. “We want students to understand that ethics is about more than avoiding wrongful acts. Doing business the right way provides the bedrock for building both a strong organizational and personal brand.”
Ethics in the College of Business
This is the third time the College has received a grant from the Daniels Fund, bringing the total grant funds to just under $4 million over 10 years. Mallette said the funds have allowed the College to dramatically increase the reach of its ethics-based educational efforts.
“We’ve seen a huge expansion in programming, and we’ve been able to create more impactful programming,” he said. “If you look at the numbers, we’ve had over 43,000 ethical ‘touches’ in the past year, compared with around 5,000 five years ago. The reach has been outstanding, and it is a testament to the broad-based support that ethics education receives in the College of Business.”
That increase in impact has a great deal to do with efforts from College of Business faculty, who are engaged with the partnership with the Daniels Fund. Faculty voted several years ago to add an ethics learning objective to 10 out of the 13 core business classes that all business students must take. The grant also provides annual fellowships to five faculty members who commit to developing coursework that engages students in principle-based education.
“The fellows program is so important to helping us achieve the objectives of the grant,” Mallette said. “The impacts on our curriculum and programming are impressive.”
Grant funding has allowed the College to infuse its undergraduate and graduate courses with real-world ethical scenarios that ask students to identify ethical issues and create principle-based solutions. All undergraduate students enrolled in the College are required to take BUS 220, “Ethics in Contemporary Organizations,” where they learn to apply these principles to organizations of all sizes. As part of the All-University Core Curriculum, the class is open to all CSU students, which lets the College expand ethics-based learning across campus.
Creating Impactful Partnerships
The grant has not only helped the College of Business create ethics-based coursework – it has also helped the College attract community and business partners that let students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations.
One of the College’s strongest partnerships is with Otter Products, which supports the annual OtterBox Ethics Case Challenge. The Challenge is a cross-disciplinary event in which teams of students work together to respond to a business ethics scenario. Otter Products offers several of its employees as mentors to the student teams and provides generous financial support: Each member of the winning team receives a one-year, in-state tuition scholarship, and second- and third-place team members receive $1,000 and $500 scholarships, respectively.
Based on the success of the Otter partnership, Mallette said the College is seeking out other partners that allow it to continue to expand its co-curricular efforts in impactful ways.
The Future of Ethics
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and complex, a strong foundation in ethics and principled decision-making will be crucial to students’ professional and personal success. With the Daniels Fund grant, the College will be able to continue to fund ethics-based education through coursework, programming, and competitions that address today’s business problems.
“The Daniels Fund has been really happy with what we’ve done,” Mallette said. “We’re looking forward to another five-year partnership in promoting principle-based ethics education to our students.”
About the Daniels Fund
The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative is named after legendary businessman Bill Daniels, a pioneer of cable television in the West. He was devoted to fairness and ethical business and used his wealth to help those in need and teach young people the value of ethics.
The Initiative was established in 2009 to continue Daniels’s legacy of compassionate and ethical business practices. Its primary objective is actively engaging students in principle-based education that creates a solid foundation in ethics from which they can draw throughout their careers.