Three-Day Conference Highlights Faith And Business Partnership
Three-Day Conference Highlights Faith And Business Partnership

More than 60 faculty members from over 20 Jesuit and other Catholic universities attended the 2017 Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education (CJBE) conference July 6-8 at Creighton University. Andy Gustafson, PhD, associate professor of business ethics and society, arranged for Creighton to host the annual gathering, and participants converged on Omaha from both coasts and several points in between.

In existence for nearly 20 years, CJBE “encourages cross-collaboration, cooperation and encouragement among all Jesuit and fellow Catholic business schools as we strive to make our Jesuit and Catholic Christian values central in our curriculum and teaching,” says Gustafson. “There are few if any organizations like it in other disciplines, even in arts and sciences.”

The theme of this year’s conference was “Using Our Work for the Common Good: The Transformative Power of Jesuit-Inspired Business Practices.” The three-day conference included 30 presentations from faculty in the fields of marking, management, ICT (IT), accounting, economics, business ethics, theology and philosophy. The Rev. Nicky Santo, SJ, PhD, a member of Creighton’s Board of Trustees and a professor at Marquette University, and the Rev. Peter Balleis, SJ, from Jesuit Worldwide Learning, were the key note speakers.

Gustafson believes the meeting was a success, bringing together long-standing colleagues and introducing younger members to the organization. 

“People came away encouraged and re-inspired, I think,” Gustafson says. “It is good to know that others across the country are also working to implement Jesuit Catholic values in the business schools where we all work.”  

University leadership has demonstrated its support of CJBE. Anthony Hendrickson, PhD, dean of the Heider College of Business, has long been a proponent of the integrity before profits principle, hoping to instill in students that faith is not just for Sundays but should be a guide for living Monday through Saturday. The Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, president of Creighton University, joined the CJBE board this year.

“This conference and our administrative support of CJBE really helped us show that Creighton is a leader in wanting to bring faith to bear in business thinking and practice,” states Gustafson, who also serves on the CJBE board.

Students and faculty from the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) program offered a panel discussion on integrating Ignatian reflection and pedagogy into curriculum, as is the case during all three years of the DBA program. Gustafson, along with fellow Economy of Communion (EOC) members Jeanne Buckey of the University of St. Thomas and John Gallagher of Maryville College, spoke on EOC’s mission of uniting people through economic activity and enterprise. Conference attendees also enjoyed a keynote presentation from nationally-known author Chris Lowney and Stephen Porth from St Joseph’s University on their leadership class that follows the path of St. Ignatius in Spain.

“Heider College of Business is excellent because we have top drawer faculty who care about students.  But our distinctive Jesuit identity is an essential aspect of what sets us apart from other business schools. That identity makes a difference, and I think our students realize that,” Gustafson says. “Companies look to Creighton to graduate students who get ethics, and who have values and inspiration from a Jesuit rooted perspective.”