Focus on ethics program enhances college business program
On June 30, the Woodstock Center for Theological Study at Georgetown University closed its doors. The decision was made in light of a significant decrease in Jesuits utilizing the research facility and the proposed merging of three East Coast Jesuit provinces: New York, New England and Maryland.
The Pedro Arrupe, SJ, program of Christian Social Ethics, previously housed at the center, now has a new home at the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College. The Arrupe program will now be housed at the Center for Reflective Leadership and Business Ethics, one of the three centers within the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne.
Le Moyne faculty welcomed the new program that teams corporate and industry leaders with respected theologians who together review, explore and determine relevant ethical practices within business and their impact on academics and the human population.
Since 1994, the Arrupe program has been part of the Woodstock Theological Center. The center itself was created following the closing of Woodstock College, the first Jesuit seminary in the U.S., in 1974. When the seminary closed, Jesuits found they had less time to work on theological research for Catholic colleges and universities across the country. The Woodstock Center fulfilled the need for a research facility that could explore the areas of Catholic social teaching, spirituality, religion, public policy, social ethics, immigration, Catholic education, evolution and women’s issues.
Over the past 40 years, local business leaders were encouraged to review practical ways to integrate religious values into the policies and practices of their corporate business. Today, as more colleges and universities conduct their own theological research, the need for a dedicated center of this type diminished, resulting in the closing of the Woodstock Center.
When the faculty at Le Moyne heard of the center’s closing, they approached Georgetown University and offered to relocate the Arrupe program to Le Moyne.
“The news of the center closing was announced in mid-summer and we scrambled to recruit this program,” stated Father David McCallum, SJ, Director of Mission and Identity at Le Moyne. “The program is intended to feature scholarship and practical applications of social ethics related to the issues of current affairs, in particular, areas of business to help people link the insights and implications of their Catholic faith with the challenges, demands and responsibilities of their secular life.”
A major component of the Arrupe program is the Woodstock Business Conference (WBC), an international network of 16 chapters within participating countries such as Ireland, Spain, England and Germany, which regularly gather to discuss and reflect on social and ethical topics of worldwide concern.
The WBC has a core group of 25 members and each chapter meets bi-monthly and operates under the tagline, “Affirming the relevance of religious faith to business practice.” Le Moyne plans to maintain the present chapters, coordinate new chapters and foster relationships among the various chapters, Jesuit business schools and the academic landscape. Father McCallum anticipates Le Moyne will create its own local chapter of the WBC and invite local and professional business leaders to participate.
“The chapters will be reviewing the issue of natural resources such as those related to natural gas and fresh water access, and we will focus on the increasingly urgent issues of immigration, which is a current concern for the bishops,” stated Father McCallum.
With this new program in place, Father McCallum points out the future of the Madden School of Business is filled with new ideas and new opportunities.
“Our aim is to help promote a level of value-based reflection that empowers leaders to make more ethical, just and sustainable decisions that respect human dignity and service the common good. We may offer a certificate program in business ethics or create interning opportunities in the future. We could encourage mentors to become our students’ future employers. We just need a little time to flesh out the vision of what this all is going to look like,” he said.
For more information on the Arrupe program at the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College, visit www.lemoyne.edu.