Albers School of Business and Economics
About Albers

Dean’s Blog

  • Big Little Things

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 6/20/2011 07:56:37 AM


    As I was pulling out of the Broadway Garage a few weeks ago I realized that the parking spaces along Columbia St. that have been plaguing the exit and entry of the garage had been removed!  What a great day for SU!  I have been whining to people for ten years about the need to get rid of those spots, which accomplished so little while creating such havoc.  I learned that Rob Schwartz and Jonathan Bregman, from Campus Facilities, had pulled off this miracle that so many others could not do or were not motivated to do.  Thanks, Rob and Jonathan!  I need to take you out to lunch to celebrate!


    This big step forward caused me to think about other “Big Little Things” that have happened at SU.  By that I mean relatively minor steps that have created huge benefits for the campus.  I thought it would make a good theme for a blog, a Top Ten list of Big Little Things.  But ten will create too long of a blog, so I’ve settled on my Top Five Big Little Things at SU.  Here they are:


    1. Eliminating the parking along Columbia St. – with the city eliminating a few parking spots, now it will be much easier to get in and out of the garage.  Kudos to Rob and Jonathan.  Now we have to work on a turning lane to go North on Broadway!


    1. Remodeling Campion Ballroom – for a relatively small amount of money, we were able to dress up the Campion Ballroom to make it a decent space for holding events.  Actually, it is more than decent.  With all those windows, when the sun is out it is actually a spectacular venue!  Good riddance to those chandeliers.  They had been there for so long and looked so bad that they were actually threatening to come back in style!


    1. Scattering PCs around the Pigott Building – when I first arrived at SU, one of the things students complained the most about was the size of the Pigott computer lab.  There were simply not enough machines given the number of students.  After a year or two, we finally decided to try putting computers in public areas of the building to provide more access.  It worked!  Students were a lot happier, and in the scheme of things it was not that much money.  The big concern had been computer theft, but while we experienced some problems with theft, it never became a major issue.


    1. Creating the Albers Graduation Reception – another “When I first arrived …” story is that we used to have separate graduation parties for undergrad and grad students weeks before graduation.  At the same time, we did not host a graduation event for families and friends of graduates and the chance for graduates to say goodbye to faculty and staff.  The graduation parties were suspect – the undergrad event was a during-the-week well-before-finals drinking opportunity for students.  The grad event was a weakly-attended well-before-finals evening event for people who are ready to head home at that hour.  It finally dawned on us that we needed to end those two events and use the resources to host our reception for graduates on the Saturday before graduation.  We have never looked back on that decision!   The reception for graduating students has proven to be a very popular event for all!


    1. HLEMBA – our new Health Leadership EMBA program draws heavily on the curriculum of our Leadership EMBA program and leverages the assets we have developed around the latter to help deliver the former.  When we started working with the College of Nursing on an MBA type program that could include nursing graduate students, we did not have HLEMBA in mind.  But as we did more and more research with them, the vision of HLEMBA began to emerge.  It became an obvious program to launch.  Plus the LEMBA program allowed us to attempt a quick roll out of the program.  We made the decision to move forward with program development in December, 2010.  It completed the SU approval process in May, 2011.  We are now recruiting for a class that begins in August, 2011!  That is warp speed in the non-profit side of academe!


    OK, so three of the five have to do with Albers.  Isn’t that a bit biased, you ask?  Yes, it probably is.  In which case, send me your bigger “Big Little Things at SU!” 



    Posted by Liz Wick on 6/14/2011 06:39:30 PM

    This past weekend was graduation weekend for Seattle University.  Thousands gathered on Sunday, June 12th, to celebrate our degree recipients.  It always is a great occasion for our students and their family and friends.  It is a bitter-sweet moment for our faculty and staff, though.  We know these students need to move on to the next stage in their lives, but we hate to see them go!

    Graduation really begins the day before on Saturday, first with the Graduation Brunch and then the Baccalaureate Mass.  The former is now becoming a “What will Fr. Steve dream up this time?” event, as in the last few years he has come up with some very creative PowerPoint slide presentations.   The latter takes place at St. James Cathedral, and is always very crowded with students and their families, as it should be.  What was especially noteworthy this year was that it was the first time that Archbishop Peter Sartain presided at the mass.   As one would expect, he has a different style than his predecessor.

    Now that Arthur Fisher is no longer Dean of Mateo Ricci, I have the honor of getting Dean Sue Schmitt over to St. James.  Taking on the Columbia St. hill by the Broadway Garage is quite a workout, and not really a problem, except I keep tripping over my graduation gown.  I am going to have to do something about  that.  And going downhill backwards is just as much work as going up!

    The Albers Graduation Reception takes place in the Paccar Atrium immediately following the Baccalaureate Mass.  At this occasion, students are invited to bring their family and friends to meet faculty and staff.  It is a very well attended event – over 400 this year – and most of our faculty and staff make sure they are there because everyone looks forward to it.  We have a brief program, at which I know if I talk long enough Fr. Steve will eventually show up and extend his congratulations to the graduates!  This year Nadeje Alexandre and Suzanne Jayne-Jensen took the lead in organizing and did another great job with the event.

    In the evening, there is a dinner honoring newly appointed emeriti faculty and honorary degree recipients.  Barb Yates is one of the new emeriti faculty, so I had the opportunity to speak to her many accomplishments in her 41 years at SU.  You can check the previous blog on Barb for more details!  Tun  Channareth, the Nobel Prize winning honorary degree recipient, nominated by our faculty members Peter Raven and Quan Le, was also recognized at the dinner.  Reth visited my Econ 271 class two weeks ago and the students found him to be quite inspirational.

    Graduation takes place at Key Arena, which is a great facility since it is big enough and we don’t have to worry about the weather.  However, on this particular Sunday, the weather was very accommodating, so there was some good picture taking going on.  The undergraduate ceremony took place in the morning and included awarding honorary degrees to Japanese-American students who were forced to leave SU due to the internment camps.  Their resilience in the face of this injustice is impressive, for it seems they all went on to do important things in their careers and in raising their families.  Many family members participated in the ceremony.  Unfortunately, the one surviving student who had planned to attend the graduation was unable to attend due to a recent illness, but her daughter delivered a very inspiring message in her stead.  The undergraduate ceremony tends to run long and each year we wonder what to do about.  Fewer graduates (and thus fewer names to read) is NOT an option!

    After a two hour break, it is back at it with the graduate ceremony.  Fewer graduate students mean a shorter event, of course.  Tun  Channareth received his honorary degree at this ceremony. He gave a very inspiring and vigorous speech, as I knew he would based on his visit to my class.  He urged the audience to sign the petitions to end land mines and cluster bombs.  He also had some very nice things to say about SU based upon his two week visit to our campus.  That is correct, he has been here from his home in Cambodia for two weeks.  I doubt we will see that again from any of our honorary degree recipients! 

    Also of keen interest to me as the business school dean was that MBA student Dejan Mitkovski gave the student graduation speech.  Dejan did a fine job with his remarks, and I could not help noticing that his parents, who flew out from Detroit, were in the first row of the balcony right by the podium and right in my line of sight.  They were closer to him than I was, and justifiably proud of his performance.

    At both graduations, after the students receive their degree from the President, they are to walk across the stage to shake the hand of their dean.  However, most of them don’t know that.  They are most likely to be scanning the crowd for their family or staring down at the stage to make sure they don’t trip over their graduation gown.  One has to work very hard to intercept them to bestow the deanly handshake.  This year there was a new twist – some seemed to think I was there to take back their diploma and they were ready to hand it over!  Of course, they don’t actually receive their diploma, just a note saying the diploma will be in the mail assuming they have settled their accounts and successfully   completed their requirements for graduation!

    We had 330 undergraduates receiving business degrees this year and 315 graduate students.  At the graduate ceremony, the business students were last in line, so I shook the hand of the last student graduating that day.  I learned the next day from Megan Spaulding that it was her brother!  I did not even know her brother was in our program!  I am not keeping up with what is going on in the Albers School! :}

    Center for Business Ethics

    Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on 6/5/2011 10:16:05 PM


    On June 3rd we held the launch for our Center for Business Ethics.  John Dienhart, the Frank Shrontz Endowed Chair in Business Ethics, is directing the center and taking the lead in organizing.  He has been ably assisted this year by his graduate student assistant, Aaron Hayden.  Faculty, staff, students, advisory board members, and other supporters gathered for the launch ceremony.

    As a business school at a Jesuit, Catholic university, Albers has long placed an emphasis on business ethics, and in more recent decades, social responsibility, and in the last decade, sustainability.  Since the Albers School was founded in 1947, a concern for ethics and values has been part of our DNA and it has been part of the student experience for decades.

    The overarching theme of the center will be the importance of creating an ethical business culture in organizations.  Key activities of the center will include assisting Albers faculty with integrating ethics and social responsibility into the classes they teach, as well as organizing workshops and conferences that bring together academics and practitioners to address ethical issues,

    It has been a long journey to get to this point.  In 2002 we approached Frank Shrontz to support the Albers Business Ethics Initiative (ABEI).  Our message was that the endowment for the ethics chair only covered the salary of the chair holder, and if there were additional resources available to the chair, more could be accomplished.  In particular, we proposed a series of workshops and conferences on key ethical challenges that would be targeted to the business community.

    Frank and his wife, Harriet, graciously agreed to support the ABEI and proposed a challenge grant – they would match contributions up to $60,000.  As a result, we were able to raise over $120,000 and that funding supported a series of workshops and conferences that well received and continued beyond the original three year time frame envisioned.

    Creating a $1 million endowment for a new Center for Business Ethics was one of the priority projects for the Albers School in the 2003-2009 Seattle University capital campaign, “For the Difference We Make.”  We raised over $580,000 in the campaign, and that was enough to launch the center.  Since we did not meet our goal, we will continue to raise funds for this endowment.  The additional resources will allow the center to expand its activity and reputation.

    It was great to have Frank Shrontz present at the ceremony.  Not only is he the namesake of our endowed chair in business ethics, but he also supported the ABEI and the center endowment.  More importantly, in his tenure as CEO of Boeing, he set the standard for ethics and integrity.  It was a blow to Boeing that his successors could not maintain that standard.  Fortunately for Boeing and all of us, more recent company leadership has looked to his example for inspiration on how to lead the company in the 21st century.  Others who were instrumental in the funding of the center were also present, including Martin and Maryann Simonetti, Gerry Swanson, and Mark Pinkowski.

    This occasion is also a reminder of the great work of the development officers who have supported the Albers School over the years.  Annagreta Jacobson was instrumental in organizing the ABEI and Gail Yates was critical to the success of all the capital campaign projects for the Albers School, including the ethics center endowment.

    The Center for Business Ethics is an exciting development in the Albers School.  It will give focus to things that have always been important to us – ethics, social responsibility, and values based education.