Faculty & Research

Ronald James

Adjunct Faculty : Ethics and Business Law Department

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Ron James serves as president and CEO of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) at the University of St. Thomas. The center, founded in 1978, is an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization within the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. Serving at the intersection of thought and practice leadership, the center brings together leading academic and business practitioners in the field of business ethics and provides public programs; engages in research; and builds and delivers governance and ethical leadership development programs and services.

In addition, James teaches business ethics in the graduate programs at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business, and has formerly taught at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

James served on the advisory group of the United States Sentencing Commission from 2002-2004 with a task of reviewing the 10-year Federal Sentencing Guidelines that apply to organizations, and participated in former President Bush’s Economic Summit focusing on Corporate Responsibility.

James, a frequently sought after national public speaker, was recognized by Ethisphere in its 2010 list of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics in the thought leadership category. In 2006, James was recognized by the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics, receiving one of several international awards for “pioneering in the field of applied business ethics through executive leadership training focused on developing integrity and ethical behaviors in order to improve corporate citizenship and develop corporate culture.”

From 1996 to 1998, James served as president and CEO of the Human Resources Group, an international division of Ceridian Corporation. Before joining Ceridian, James had an extensive career in telecommunications and served as Minnesota’s top executive officer for US West Communications Inc. (now CenturyLink), and regional vice president for US West, which included responsibilities for Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. 

James currently serves as a board member of the Best Buy Corporation, the RBC Funds (an Investment Fund of the Royal Bank of Canada), and Bremer Financial Corporation, with past affiliations on the boards of Allina Hospitals and Clinics, The St. Paul Companies, Ceridian Corporation and Automotive Industries. Civically, he serves on the Center for Healthcare Innovation affiliated with Allina Hospitals and Clinics and is retired from the board of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, having chaired its Minneapolis board in 1998 and served as campaign chair in 1992, and the Guthrie Theater, a board he chaired from 1992-1994.

James was recognized in October of 2011 by Twin Cities Business together with the National Association of Corporate Directors as a 2011 Outstanding Director and additionally for lifetime achievement in the field of corporate governance.


Academic Background

B. S. double major in business and economics, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska
Non-degree bell system adavanced management program, University of Illinois, Chamnpagne Urbana, Illinois

Teaching Specialties

  • Business Ethics
  • Ethics Laboratory

Major Works

  • The Center for Ethical Business Cultures which I lead is focused on research on the Characteristics of Ethical Business Cultures; Ethics in Global Corporations; Ethics in the BRIC's (Brazil, Russia, India and China) versus the US. Please note that I do not conduct this research. It is led by our Director of Research, Dr. D.J. Jondle. My role is oversight and advice/counsel. Our Center has led in the publication of a new book, Corporate Responsibility, The American Experience. Dr. Ken Goodpaster was Executive Editor and recruited four authors: Werhane; Post; Lipartito; and Carroll with D. Rodbourne of the Center serving as Project Director. 

Professional Highlights

  • Particpating Adjunct in the Business Ethics Laboratory in the Full Time MBA Program, Opus College of Business (2011 and 2012)
  • Adjunct Faculty in the MBC Program, Opus College of Businesss (2004-2010)
  • Adjunct Faculty in the Carlson School of Management (2003-2009)
  • President, Human Resources Group, Ceridian Corporation 1996-1998
  • MN CEO and Regional Vice President, USWest
  • Vice President, Northwester Bell  

Honors and Awards

  • 2011 Outstanding Corporate Director and Lifetime Achievement Awards from Twin Cities Business and MN Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors
  • 2010 Ethisphere Worlds Top 100 Leaders in the field of Business Ethics (selected for work in the Thought Leadership category)
  • 2006 Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics International Award for Pioneering in the field of Ethics Education (for Business Practitioners)

Community and Professional Involvement

  • Greater Twin Cities United Way, Board of Directors
  • Bremer Financial Corpoartion, Board of Directors
  • RBC Funds, Board of Directors
  • Travelers Foundation, Board of Directors
  • Center for Health Care Innovation, Committee