‘Business Ethics Education as Transformative’
SPOKANE, Wash. – Professor Brian K. Steverson, Gonzaga University’s John L. Aram Chair of Business Ethics, will discuss “Business Ethics Education as Transformative: The Jesuit Tradition” for the 4th annual Aram Lecture on Business Ethics at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in the Cataldo Hall Globe Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.
A visiting lecturer invited by Gonzaga’s Aram Professor of Business Ethics traditionally gives the annual keynote address. However, Steverson is presenting the lecture personally this year in recognition of Gonzaga’s yearlong 125th Anniversary celebration and its theme of “Tradition and Transformation.”
Lecture Explores Financial Crisis
In his lecture, Steverson will explore the ongoing financial crisis that began in 2007 and the role that America’s schools of business might play in preventing a similar calamity in the future. Business schools, especially master of business administration programs, have scrambled the past three years to revise curricula and missions to address this failure, Steverson says.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have often amounted to little more than window-dressing and tinkering around the edges. It remains to be seen whether business schools, as a group, will effect any serious change in the foundational approach to the approach to business education that has been dominant for more than five decades,” Steverson says.
What should be done? The answer, Steverson asserts, is business schools should become more Jesuit!
“Catholic moral philosophy has a seven-century tradition of attention to the ethical foundation of economic and business activity,” he says. “That philosophical tradition is strikingly evident in the Jesuit tradition of business education. Jesuit business schools have labored for decades to educate business leaders who see business as the pivotal social institution that it is, and themselves as stewards concerned with structuring those institutions to serve the common good. At its very heart, the Jesuit tradition of business education is transformative, both of individuals and, through the efforts of its graduates, business institutions as well.”
Professor Steverson will trace the history and nature of this distinctively Jesuit model of business education, discuss its emphasis on personal and institutional transformation, and offer some suggestions for how to make all business education “more Jesuit.”
Steverson earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Tulane University in 1991, and came to Gonzaga in 1992 after having taught philosophy at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans for four years. Steverson, who taught philosophy at Gonzaga before assuming the Aram Chair in 2008, has taught business ethics and related courses for 22 years. He is an active member of several external committees, including the Spokane City Ethics Committee, Providence Sacred Heart Urban Ethics Committee, and Hospice of Spokane Ethics Committee. In addition, he provides continuing professional education in ethics for the Washington State Board of Accountancy and Washington state chapters of Certified Fraud Examiners.
The endowed chair Steverson holds was established in honor of John Aram, a former Gonzaga trustee and benefactor, to provide students with a greater awareness of the ethical dilemmas faced by decision-makers in business and government.
John Aram’s long and dedicated service to the forest industry spurred Weyerhaeuser Company, Boise Cascade Corporation, Potlatch Corporation, the George F. Jewett Foundation, and many industry associates and friends to establish the professorship in business ethics at Gonzaga. It is a fitting tribute to a man whose life exemplified a commitment to ethical values in both his business and personal endeavors.