About the Opus College of Business

About the Opus College of Business

Ethics Education in the Opus College of Business

Business education is commonly aimed at the knowledge needed to perform effectively and efficiently in the business world. At the University of St. Thomas, we are committed to that objective and more: encouraging serious consideration and application of ethical values in business decision making.

Since business ethics can mean different things to different people, we want to specify the assumptions which guide our efforts.

  • Responsibility for one's actions and respect for the dignity of others are fundamental, both for the content of our approach to ethics and for the process by which we teach it.
  • Our emphasis is on the importance of dialogue for developing mature moral judgment both personally and in group decision making. This maturity includes the exercise of certain virtues in the workplace, such as honesty, fairness, empathy, promise-keeping, prudence, courage and concern for the common good. It also includes interaction between the cognitive and emotional dimensions of conscience (i.e., both "head" and "heart") and the need for congruence between judgment and action. We believe such moral development is a lifelong process.
  • Our goal in the Opus College of Business is to encourage this development in the context of sound policies and practices. We affirm the legitimacy and centrality of moral values in economic decision making because without them, business relationships and strong communities are impossible.

St. Thomas is one of a handful of schools in the country that devotes significant resources to programs emphasizing ethics education. Some of those resources include:

  • To challenge students to consider how they might act when faced with questions of right and wrong, we require an introduction to business ethics in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • To enable deeper study, we offer electives at both levels, including a special Great Books Seminar for MBA students.
  • To encourage the integration of ethics across the curriculum, we engaged in faculty development efforts.
  • To increase understanding of current ethical issues - such as executive compensation, environmental issues and stakeholder expectations - we host Stakeholder Dialogue events that engage both students and the wider business community in the Twin Cities. 
  • To promote ethical business cultures and responsible corporate citizenship, we're affiliated with the Center for Ethical Business Cultures.
  • To help enable business leaders to identify issues and implement important improvement efforts in the areas of corporate ethics, governance, and social responsibility, the Opus College of Business launched the Veritas Institute.
  • To ensure that ethics education remains a priority, the Koch Endowed Chair in Business Ethics was created.

We invite you to explore our website to understand the full significance of our mission: to develop effective, principled business leaders who think globally, act ethically and create enduring value for society.