“Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 129.
Despite significant progress in recent decades, extreme poverty persists and environmental degradation continues. Far too many lack access to the goods and services that are essential to survive and thrive. Tragically, it is typically those on the margins that find themselves most excluded from the benefits of the market system. At the same time, inequality in income and wealth remains high both within and between countries.
The movements for sustainable development, just resource allocation, and humanistic management practice and policies give us hope that business may be the surest and best hope for addressing the urgent problems of our day. The corporate social responsibility movement has affected businesses of all sizes. Other movements such as the triple bottom line, the Global Reporting Initiative, and the United Nations Global Compact with Business are calling attention to the fact that we cannot continue to do “business as usual.”
Universities and, in particular, undergraduate and graduate business schools play a crucial role in addressing these challenges and building opportunities for positive change. Their responsibility, at a minimum, is to help raise student awareness, to help provide a framework for reflection on the role each student plays in being part of the solution, and to support students and faculty as they develop concrete ways in which they can become part of the solution to these challenging issues.
An Inspirational Paradigm for Jesuit Business Education
Since the beginning of 2019, 12 business education leaders met at the invitation of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) to consider how Jesuit business education might address the growing challenges to the reigning economic order. The task force members were especially inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical, “Laudato Si,” and by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. They listened to the voices of concerned students, to faculty who have taken a lead in reinventing business education and to a host of thought leaders interested in forging a new economic paradigm.
This IAJU Working Group has prepared the following draft white paper, entitled “An Inspirational Paradigm for Jesuit Business Education.” which is now opened for comment. It hopes to present the case for a re-examination of how we prepare the next generation of business leaders. It asks us as academic leaders in Jesuit business education globally to inaugurate a conversation within our schools and among the faculty in our Jesuit network and beyond: how can we respond to the global challenges which we and our students will face, challenges that are more evident each day? How can we better prepare our students to lead in the creation of a more inclusive and just world?
The new educational paradigm has a number of elements to make it relevant, effective, and meaningful—and truly Jesuit:
Re-creating the economics, business, and finance curricula
Use of the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm.
A vision of the essential skills needed for this new kind of leadership.
The role of key stakeholders.
The working group has opened the reflection to the different members of the Jesuit business schools globally with four specific questions:
1. Is your school/ faculty on board with the idea of developing a new economic paradigm?
2. Is your school/faculty on board with utilizing new pedagogical approaches?
3. What kind of curricular re-examination and faculty development is needed?
4. Does this vision adequately describe what your students and communities are calling for?
If you have comments about the draft white paper or questions, the group would be delighted to receive your feedback. Please address your reactions to Donna Rapaccioli, Co-Chair of the working group and Dean of Fordham Business School or any other member of the working group.
LINKS OF INTEREST
Letter from Michael Garanzini, SJ
Draft White Paper
This IAJU Working Group has prepared the following draft white paper, entitled “An Inspirational Paradigm for Jesuit Business Education"