Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
andy gustafson, maggie knight, don lux, mike shick, desarae mueller-fichepain

Catholic Social Thought at Jesuit and other Catholic Business Schools: Current State of Training for Students and Faculty Initial Report Findings

Catholic Social Thought at Jesuit and other Catholic Business Schools: Current State of Training for Students and Faculty Initial Report Findings Purpose: The purpose of this study was to discover how important Catholic Social Thought is at Catholic Business Schools in the US by conducting both an online survey and personal interviews of key faculty from Jesuit and some Catholic universities; asking a set of quantitative and qualitative questions regarding challenges faced and best practices specifically regarding how they expose students and faculty to CST. Target: Our study was aimed at the 28 Jesuit schools, plus a handful of other Catholic Institutions including DePaul, Notre Dame, Catholic University of America, St. John’s NY, and Seton Hall.. We received data from 28 of the 34 institutions we contacted. Data Collected: Using the questions from the online survey as well as the qualitative questions (see appendix A) we sought to find out A. What kinds of university wide and business-college-specific programs help expose faculty to Catholic and mission values at these institutions. B. Who some of the key faculty members are who produce scholarship on business and CST. C. The ways these business schools maintain a distinctively Catholic identity and mission focus. D. The most successful practices at these schools currently for incorporating CST into curriculum and faculty training. E. The challenges college of business schools face in maintaining their Catholic identity. F. The barriers to training faculty in CST. G. What programs these faculty have found especially effective in conveying mission and Catholic identity. H. What they would try to promote CST among faculty if resources were unlimited. We had two separate surveys: one online, which was done anonymously, and one qualitative, which contained some institution-specific information. Conclusions and Suggestions: Catholic and Jesuit Schools face a difficult problem in that they need to attract high quality business faculty, most of whom come from Ph.D. programs from institutions which do not have a Catholic or Jesuit tradition. So, the faculty they hire typically have very little training in Catholic Social Thought. Unfortunately, it appears that apart from the initial university-wide orientation and occasional optional retreats or other programs, few of our Catholic Colleges and University business schools provide much ongoing or significant training to help faculty to understand Catholic Social Thought, learn how to use it in their teaching, or develop research programs around it. Fortunately, it appears that many feel that faculty would respond positively towards such training. It is important to draw on the resources which other sister schools have developed, as there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Commonly noted, the University of St. Thomas’ Ryan Center is a premier source of CST-Business related resources, and the Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education organization and their Journal of Jesuit Business Education provides a forum for such discussion and some introductory articles. A number of faculty said that their school and their deans tend to downplay the Catholic and/or Jesuit identity of their institution, because it deters students from applying. The authors of this study find it absurd that 1. non-Catholics would all be recalcitrant to learning about CST applied to business and 2. that Catholic schools would not provide more curriculum which very well might be attractive to some of the Catholic ‘50% of their population’ students who very well may want to consider how their faith should integrate with their professional work. Jesuit institutions are at a crossroads—they must either intentionally develop clear guidance to their faculty to help them implement and incorporate Jesuit values and Catholic Social Thought more clearly and directly into their curriculum and research, or face the likely possibility that the identity distinctives of the school will gradually fade away into oblivion. Abstract Appendix: Key Findings from the Online Survey (28 respondents from 34 schools): 1. About 2/3 (64%) of the schools report having a program at their institution which specifically helps faculty to understand Catholic Social Thought principles (this might be an office of mission, for example, or an institute). 2. Just more than half (57%) of the schools report that they have a program at their institution which helps faculty think about how to apply Catholic Social Thought principles in their field (marketing, etc.). 3. Only 14% reported that their institutions have required Catholic Social Thought training at their institution that must be completed by faculty upon hire (that amount averaged from 10-60 hours per year). 4. None (0%) of the institutions reported having CST trainings or modules that faculty must complete each year at their institution. 5. When asked what percentage of their institution’s business school faculty they believe are somewhat versed in CST, 52% said “less than 20%”, 25% said “20%-40%” and only 3.7% said “more than 80%”. 6. 44% of institutions offer a reflection course for students and all of those are for undergraduates, not graduates. 7. 92.5% of the schools have a capstone course. 8. Of those, only 20% have CST principles as part of the Capstone course’s objectives. 9. 55.5% of institutions have a social entrepreneurship program. 10. Most reported that it does not have a CST component. 11. When asked to rank them, 92% ranked “business and ethics” as the most likely to be found in the business curriculum at their school. “Business and the common good” was ranked second, “business and the poor” third, and “business and spiritual life” fourth (last). 12. When asked how difficult it is to get students at their institution interested in how faith values of CST might apply to business, 15.5% said “difficult” or “very difficult”, while 34% said “easy” or “very easy”. 50% said it was neutral—neither easy nor hard. 13. When asked how difficult it is to get faculty at their institution interested in how faith values of CST might apply to business, 54% said “difficult” or “very difficult”, 23% said “easy” or “very easy” and 23% said it was neutral- neither easy nor hard. 14. When asked how important the following are for helping students think about CST for business practice, 61% said the common curriculum (philosophy, theology) was important or very important. 34% said the business curriculum was important or very important. 62% thought extracurricular activities were important or very important. 15. Less than 4% thought the majority of their students come to their school with a knowledge of CST, 27% thought that most students come with some knowledge of faith values but not CST, and 54% thought it was a mix. 16. When asked what faculty at their institution think they should do to promote mission, 11.5% said they think they should teach students how to be excellent at business, 81% said faculty think they should teach students to be excellent and ethical, and 7.5% said that faculty think they should bring aspects of our Catholic Mission beyond ethics into their teaching. 17. When asked if the dean of their institution encourages integrating Catholic Social Thought into the business curriculum, 27% disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 31% agreed or strongly agreed. 18. When asked if faculty at their institution are rewarded for integrating CST into the curriculum, 54% disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 15% agreed (none strongly agreed). 19. When asked if faculty are rewarded for integrating CST into their research/scholarship, 55% disagreed, 23% agreed or strongly agreed. 20. When asked if their institution emphasizes hiring faculty who fit the Catholic identity (i.e., this is an important consideration in the hiring process) 46% disagreed or strongly disagreed, 27% agreed or strongly agreed. 21. When asked if they agree that, when it comes to rank and promotions decisions, their institution considers how well faculty fit the Catholic identity of their school, 61.5% disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 15% agreed or strongly agreed. 22. When asked if they thought faculty would be interested in participating in CST training if more training regarding CST were offered at their institution, 27% disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 46% agreed or strongly agreed. Some of the Key Findings from the qualitative survey (24 respondents from 34 schools): 1. Hiring for mission is absolutely essential. That is where the real difference is made from the start. IF you are not intentional about that, you will have a hard time maintaining missional identity. 2. While some schools seem to think that being Catholic limits the scope of students and consequently downplay it, other very successful schools highlight their Catholic or at least Jesuit/Vincentian/etc identity and find it to be the draw that attracts students and parents. 3. Many believe that calling CST “Catholic” is, in itself, one of the greatest barriers, and many said their institution finds “Jesuit”, for example, to be more broadly appealing to non-Catholics and non-practicing Catholics. 4. Faculty orientation to Jesuit or mission values at the university-wide level is common, but most often a small aspect of the faculty orientation, but not universally. 5. Administrative (dean and president) advocacy are key, and more important even than financial support. Both those who felt their administration was quite supportive and those who felt administration didn’t care about CST or mission in their business schools agreed that administration support was critical to the success of such goals. 6. Faculty need basic knowledge of CST, and they need practical applicable examples of how to incorporate CST into their classes in a fairly straightforward way. That would definitely make adaptation more likely according to the interviewees. 7. Peer-to-peer mentoring, and showing each other what has worked to incorporate CST in their respective classes, seems to be successful at some institutions. 8. Finding ways to bring in CST without making it feel ‘forced’ was important to many. Offering the CST perspective in contrast with other views was seen as one positive way to do this (Bruno Dyck’s work, for example). 9. Teaching ethics in itself is good, but not particularly a Catholic distinctive. 10. Very few programs exist at these schools to specifically help apply CST to business. Also, very few classes exist at these institutions (many of which are flagship institutions of Catholic Higher Education worldwide) which attempt to discuss the relationship or possible application of CST, from the last 140 years of encyclicals etc., to business in any way whatsoever. 11. Most schools struggle to hire for mission because they are hiring for discipline expertise. 12. Catholic schools vying for student recruits will often downplay their Catholic or mission identity, although many other schools find this identity to be their draw and distinction. 13. Students seem to be drawn to CST particularly when it is applied to current events such as the Charlottesville demonstrations or other such social justice civil concerns. 14. Many disincentives exist which make faculty less likely to pursue mission-based teaching or research: a. focus is placed on publishing in top journals according to secular rankings (Forbes, etc); b. classes already are quite demanding and there is not time or space to allot to CST; and, c. no particular encouragement is given to faculty to promote CST values. 15. Generally, most faculty teaching at college of business schools are not trained in CST and do not feel especially competent to bring up CST issues despite (ironically) the fact that in many schools many faculty are often teaching in accord with CST values but don’t know enough to highlight that fact. 16. Some schools have found that incentivizing CST scholarship works. This can happen by a. providing awards (of $4500 in one case) for faculty who produce scholarship or teaching which especially focuses on mission or CST, b. having a separate budget for mission-related conference travel so that faculty are not forced to choose between mission-related conferences and key annual professional conferences. 17. Ignatian seminars and other such mission-based programs (2hrs/wk for 9-10 weeks) seem to have a strong impact. One-time speakers are useful, but not as impactful. Some schools have had retreats, summer programs, or even 3-year required programs to teach faculty about mission. 18. Links to the various institutional programs designed to foster Catholic mission and identity at the university and/or college level are provided in Appendix B. 19. A list of key faculty who publish on ‘CST and business’ is found in Appendix C. 20. Time and time again, it was said that the Catholic dimension of the school is downplayed ‘because’ only 50% of the student body is Catholic.