Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

U.S. Business Schools Intensify Efforts to Teach Students Ethics/following Wall Street Scandals

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

U.S. Business Schools Intensify Efforts to Teach Students Ethics/following Wall Street Scandals

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - From Harvard's ivy-covered halls to the smalltown colleges of the Farm Belt, American business schools are intensifying efforts to instill ethics among students entering a world scarred by sleazy scandals.

At the same time, those efforts have raised a debate among business professors over whether ethics teaching is worthwhile. Critics say moral values must be learned early in life and many instructors don't have the time or inclination to preach what is considered proper behavior.

The heightened interest over business ethics was underscored this past week when Harvard Business School announced it was receiving a $30 million gift to finance a program in ethical teaching.

Most of the money is coming from John S.R. Shad, outgoing chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been in the thick of the widening investigation into misdeeds on Wall Street.

``I've been very disturbed most recently with the large numbers of graduates of leading business and law schools who have become convicted felons,'' Shad said in an interview with the New York Times.

Other efforts on campuses include restructuring of curriculums to incorporate moral principles, more courses devoted to ethics and lectures on subjects ranging from product liability lawsuits to insider trading on stocks.

``In the past few years, this has just blossomed in terms of being seen as a major issue,'' said John C. Burton, dean and accounting professor of Columbia Business School in New York.

At the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, ethics professor Thomas Dunfee recently completed a major project that explores how business schools can integrate ethics teaching into all courses. Dunfee said the project has received widespread interest among other schools.

Some institutions, such as the University of Santa Clara in California, have special councils devoted to promoting business ethics. Others are weighing ethical testing procedures as part of graduation requirements.

Besides Harvard, other big schools have been endowed to finance studies of ethical issues. The University of California at Los Angeles, for example, has received corporate donations totaling at least $225,000 to develop a business-ethics curriculum. …

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