Portico: An Introduction to Business as an Ethical Practice
The goal of this essay is to describe a unique approach to business ethics education pioneered at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management over the last nine years. As its name suggests, the Portico Program functions as a portal or entryway into the study of business as a fundamentally ethical practice. Central to this program is the Portico course taken by all first-year students in a small seminar-style setting co-led by dedicated Portico faculty and a team of student mentors. The motivating idea of the Portico course is to introduce students to both the moral challenges as well as the moral opportunities that commercial life affords, so that students may become more reflective and responsible business leaders, entrepreneurs, and consumers. In the following sections, our aim is to describe the basic structure and objectives of the Portico course and its related programming, and demonstrate how it manifests the central tenets of Jesuit moral education: attentiveness, reflec- tiveness, and lovingness. Although Portico fits especially well in a Jesuit university that puts special emphasis on educating “men and women with and for others,” we also suggest that its framework is amenable to any business school that aims to provide students with an ethical lens from which to approach the study of business in the contemporary world.