Dean’s Blog

Center for Business Ethics

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on June 5, 2011 at 10:06 PM PDT


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.


Barb Yates

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on May 30, 2011 at 9:05 AM PDT


Barb Yates is retiring after 41 years at Seattle U.  Barb teaches economics and has been chair of the Department of Economics since 1989.  She started at SU in 1970.  She has earned seven teaching awards at SU, including the SU Alumni Professor of the Year Award in 2006.  She has no doubt taught thousands of students (quite successfully!) and as department chair mentored and guided dozens of faculty.  What a run!  She will be sorely missed at SU.

We had a dinner for her last week, and it gave people a chance to pay tribute to her many contributions to SU.  Bill Weis and Dave Tinius, who have been colleagues for most of her time at SU, complained about her scooping up all the teaching awards.  Fred Dekay spoke about the collegiality of the Department of Economics (and for a long time, the Department of Economics and Finance) under Barb’s leadership.  John Eshelman noted how Barb provided credibility and cover to the Pacioli Society.  If you are not familiar with the secretive Pacioli Society, it was created by Dave and Bill to facilitate the celebration of Luca Pacioli’s 400th birthday and was instrumental in the sustainability of their study tours to Sansepolcro, Italy (Pacioli’s birthplace).  The Pacioli Society has been the target of many rumors, none that can be repeated here.

Sean Klosterman, a former student of Barb’s, talked about Barb as a servant-leader, and it certainly was a fitting observation.  She truly has been serving students and colleagues for over 40 years.  Barb Yates doesn’t seem to have an ego.  She is never looking for credit for anything she does.  She is very humble and unassuming.  Several in the audience noted that she was always upbeat – the glass is always “half full rather than half empty” for Barb.

It is faculty and staff such as Barb Yates that have enabled Seattle U. to carry out its mission of academic excellence.  The rising reputation of the university is the result of her hard work and long standing dedication to the mission of the university, and others like her.  Barb is one of many faculty and staff who should not be taken for granted in terms of what they contribute to “educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”  It certainly has been a pleasure and an honor to work with Barb Yates during my ten years at SU!



Dean Spam

Posted by Liz Wick on May 20, 2011 at 8:05 AM PDT

Dean Spam is something I send out every two weeks updating people on what is happening in Albers.  I started sending it out within my first year as dean because I saw how faculty and staff were not able to keep up with the activities of their colleagues.  In many cases the right hand did not seem to know what the left hand was doing!

At first I sent it only to faculty and staff.  Then I started sending it to my advisory board.  Then others in the school said I should send it to their advisory board, so at some point it started to go to all our advisory boards.  I started sending to a few people on campus, such as people in PR, and pretty soon others on campus got wind of it and wanted to receive a copy (such as people in University Advancement).  So, now there are a lot of people from on and off campus who receive Dean Spam and some of them even appear to read it!

I think it has been a useful tool for communicating, and there are several important characteristics of Dean Spam.  First, the content is kept very simple and I don't tell people every little detail about something.  If people want more information, they will ask.  Too much information and they will stop reading.  Second is to send it on a consistent schedule, which is basically every two weeks (although in the summer it is more likely to be every three weeks).  I don't think it works well to send it out "every once in a while."  Third, I keep it simple by just cutting and pasting from a Word document.  No HTML or fancy graphics in this missive!

In it's early days, I would occasionally have people warn me that I needed to change the title, because "Dean Spam" would get snatched up by spam filters and my message would never get through.  I resisted that because I liked the title "Dean Spam" since it was such an apt description and I could not think of something similar.  It turns out that Dean Spam did not get blocked very often, and when it did those folks could easily set their filter to correct the problem.  That is, if they wanted to correct the problem!

When we first started discussing blogging, someone suggested I routinely post Dean Spam up on the blog.  Below is the latest edition of Dean Spam, sent yesterday.  It is a pretty typical edition.  I'm not sure that I should routinely post Dean Spam to the blog.  What do you think??  If I don't hear back, I will take that as an indication that it is not necessary!  Also, if you would like to be added to the list of Dean Spam recipients, let me know and I will do that.


Dean Spam May 19th, 2011


Congratulations to David Reid.  His article “A Study of Chinese Street Vendors: How They Operate,” co-authored with Eugene Fram (Rochester Institute of Technology) and Chi Guotai (Dalian University of Technology), has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Asia-Pacific Business.

SIFE Places in Top Ten Nationally 

Our SIFE team placed ninth in the national contest that took place in Minneapolis last week.  More than 360 team competed in the nationwide competition.  The team also received Campbell Soup’s Lasting Hunger Relief Award, which is given for the project that best helps people break the cycle of poverty.  Leo Simpson serves as faculty advisor for the group.  They repeated their presentation today at noon in Pigott Auditorium so we could see how good they are!

HLEMBA Approved 

The SU Board of Trustees approved the new Health Leadership EMBA program on May 5th and we are recruiting the first class for Fall, 2011!  

School Meeting 

On May 13th, over 60 faculty and staff gathered for a school meeting.  The meeting included reports on the Albers SU Youth Initiative Task Force, the Undergraduate Business Core Task Force, and IB Assurance of Learning.

Red Winged Leadership Award 

The Red Winged Leadership Award Ceremony was held on May 12th  in Campion Ballroom.  The award process is led by students in the Graduate Leadership Formation Certificate Program, and recognizes social entrepreneurs for their business acumen, leadership, and social impact.  First prize went to Chris Fontana of Global Visionaries.  Global Visionaries empowers youth from diverse backgrounds to become leaders and global citizens through community engagement.

 Business Plan Competition 

The final round of the Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition took place on May 13th.  More than $30,000 in prize money was distributed, with Feral Motion as the grand champion.  The event featured a luncheon address by Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint and co-founder of Blue Nile.  Over 150 volunteers were involved in the process as mentors and judges.

  Microsoft Exec Speaks 

Kurt DelBene, President of Microsoft’s Office Division, spoke as part of the Albers Executive Speaker Series on May 19th.  His topic was, “Transforming the Microsoft Office Business for the Cloud,” with over 150 in attendance.

 Albers Awards Ceremony 

The Albers Awards Ceremony took place on May 13th in Pigott Auditorium.  Over 100 friends and family gathered to recognize the accomplishments of our outstanding students.  Bill Santucci received the Paul Volpe Award for the highest academic performance of an undergraduate student.  Andrew Barfoot received the Jerry Viscione Award for the highest performing grad student.  Ajla Aljik received the Spirit of Albers Award for the student who best embodies the values of Albers.   Altogether, 23 awards were presented. 

BGS Ceremony 

The Awards Ceremony was followed by the Beta Gamma Sigma Installation Ceremony.  BGS is the academic honorary for AACSB accredited business schools. Thirty-one undergraduate and 62 graduate students were inducted into BGS.  Tiffany Wadel received the $1,000 BGS scholarship and Carlos Mello-e-Souza received the BGS Professor of the Year award.  Congratulations to all!

Volunteer Recognition Event 

The Albers School Volunteer Recognition took place on Thursday, May 19th.  The event recognizes advisory board members, mentors, and others who have supported our work over the last year.

Business Week Rankings 

Although we were not included in the overall Business Week undergraduate business programs rankings for 2011 because an insufficient number of recruiters responded to the survey, we did receive some good scores in some of the program rankings.  Highlights include #4 in the nation in sustainability, #7 in business ethics, #11 in quantitative methods, #12 in international business, and #15 in entrepreneurship.  

It seems these rankings don’t rely on the recruiters! :}

 Nobel Prize Winner to Speak 

Tun Channareth, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and 2011 SU Honorary Degree Recipient, will be speaking as part of the Albers Executive Speaker Series on June 2nd.  It will take place in Pigott Auditorium from 5:30 -6:30 p.m. The title of his presentation will be, "Landmines: A Story from the Heart." 


Have a good weekend!


Busy Day at the Albers School

Posted by Barbara Hauke on May 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM PDT


Last Friday was a busy day in the Albers School.  Hard to imagine, but we started with a school meeting at 10:00 AM!  That may be unprecedented.  At the meeting we covered Albers’ involvement in the Seattle University Youth Initiative, our process to review our undergraduate business core curriculum, our new Health Leadership EMBA program, and our assessment process for international business. 

Then, starting at noon, we had the finals of the 13th annual Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition.  It seems like it gets better and better every year.  The competition started with a luncheon, with Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint and co-founder of Blue Nile as the featured speaker.  He did such a fine job there was no need for me to provide an inspiring speech! 

I had to leave by the time the presentations of the five final teams began, so I missed that and the announcing of the results at the awards ceremony, where $30,000 in prize money was awarded.  Among other things, I had to be ready for the Albers Awards Ceremony at 4:00 PM.  What can I say?  It was a busy day for the Albers School.  It's a shame so many of us had to be in two places at once, but that is what happens in the spring quarter when you are doing so many end of the year events. 

Of course, the competition did not start last week, but back in the winter quarter with a call for entries, followed by the initial screening round.  Judges reviewed 34 plans.  This narrowed the competition to 20, who then competed in the Elevator Pitch and Trade Show competitions.  You make it through that and you are in the finals.  There were five teams in the finals. I’m told the judges had a very difficult time ranking the five finalists, but Feral Motion was the eventual winner. 

The competition is a great example of how we rely on volunteers from the Seattle business community to educate our students.  Steve Brilling, our Entrepreneurship Center director, estimates there were some 160 volunteers in the process.  Wow!! 

The business plan competition is a great learning experience for the students who participate, especially those who make it deep into the competition.  And increasingly, we see that these business plans become viable businesses.  Mobata, Vera Fitness, and Girlie Girl Wine are all examples. 

Congratulations to Steve, Kim Eshelman, administrative assistant for the center, and all the other folks involved in making the competition a success! 

At the Albers Awards Ceremony we get to recognize our most outstanding students for their accomplishments at SU.  Twenty-three different awards are distributed to students.  Some of the more notable awards are the Paul Volpe Award (highest undergraduate academic performance), the Spirit of Albers Award (the student who best exemplifies the Albers mission to develop ethical and socially responsible leaders), and the Jerry Viscione Award (highest graduate student academic performance).  Congratulations to Ajla Aljic, Bill Santucci, and Andrew Barfoot respectively for receiving these awards!  Bill’s award is particularly impressive, since he has received the top academic award four years in a row.  He will also be receiving the President’s Award at graduation, which is the top award for all undergraduate students at SU.   

The ceremony is followed by a reception for parents and friends.  Then, at 5:30 PM, we were supposed to start the Beta Gamma Sigma installation ceremony.  However, the award ceremony was a bit behind schedule, so we started closer to 6:00 PM. 

BGS is the academic honorary for business students.  Those inducted are our strongest students, which makes for another inspirational event.  Fred DeKay always does a terrific job of organizing our BGS ceremony, but Fred is on a leave of absence this quarter, so he persuaded Madhu Rao and Hildegard Hendrickson to fill in.  Hildegard is a legendary emeritus faculty member in our school, who retired in 1996.  It’s always good to see her at the BGS ceremony.   We inducted 31 undergraduate and 62 graduate students into BGS!  The BGS Professor of the Year award went to Carlos Mello-e-Souza.  That is quite an honor, Carlos!  It’s coming from our most demanding students! 

My day was not done after the BGS ceremony, however.  My final stop was at a fundraiser for The Roots Project, which is a NGO focusing on improving the economic status of women in South Sudan.  I am planning to meet later this week with the founder, Anyieth D’Awol, to see if there are ways for Albers to collaborate with her organization.  [Anyieth is the daughter-in-law of Frank McKulka, who is on the advisory board of our soon to be launched Center for Business Ethics.]


Red Winged Leadership Award Ceremony

Posted by Liz Wick on May 13, 2011 at 8:05 AM PDT

The Red Winged Leadership Award ceremony took place last night.  The award is given to social entrepreneurs who are inspirational in terms of business acumen, social impact, and leadership. The award is managed entirely by our students in the Graduate Leadership Formation Certificate program.

This is the second year of the program. When the students in last year’s GLFC group conceived and developed the program, I encouraged them to make it a sustainable enterprise that future students help carry forward, either subsequent GLFC groups or some other group of students. This year’s event definitely had sustainability all over it! There were more than 400 people in attendance last night! This could become one of SU’s proudest traditions! What is especially compelling about this event is how it aligns so closely with the mission of the university.

This program is such a great example of what students can accomplish when you put them in charge! I think they are an untapped resource for us! How do we use our imaginations to unleash their creative energies?! This is one example. What is the next??

At last night’s ceremonies, three social entrepreneurs were recognized -- Chris Fontana from Global Visionaries, Shana Greene from Village Volunteers, and Danna Johnston from the Danna K. Johnston Foundation. Each is an impressive and inspiring leader who has created very impressive programs that provide important support to underserved groups. They are all winners! Each deserved a prize and each received one, but the top prize went to Chris Fontana!

I told the students in my Econ 271 class they could earn extra credit by attending the ceremony and writing an essay on which of the three finalists they found to be the most inspiring. I am looking forward to reading those essays!

The event included some excellent videos on each of the finalists. We need to get them up on our U-Tube site so people can see them! In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about the work of the finalists by checking their websites: 

Each year the event should get better and better, and this continuous improvement should become part of the tradition. One of the important changes this year was moving the venue to Campion Ballroom. The ballroom looks a lot better these days with its new lighting and decorating. It was sorely needed and the improvements represent the best spending done on campus in the ten years I have been here! The new venue allowed for a reception that did not take place last year.

Kudos to the students involved in the GLFC this year and to the two faculty who guided them, Rubina Mahsud and Jennifer Marrone!

Off and Running

Posted by Barbara Hauke on May 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM PDT

We’ve been wondering whether the dean should do a blog for some time now. Is it something we really need to be doing as part of our social media strategy? Not that we think we really understand social media. I know some of my dean colleagues blog, but does anyone ever read them and are the benefits exceeding the costs?

My sense is that if you start blogging, you need to keep it going in a consistent fashion, probably at least once a week. And you probably need to be providing information people otherwise don’t get – it can’t be a series of announcements and it can’t be Dean Spam. It needs to be short enough that people don’t need to spend too much time reading it.

Is anyone really going to read it and how will we know? More importantly, how will people know it is there? I suppose I can give it a plug on Dean Spam and we can announce it in our publications, such as the Albers Brief. But will that create any interest?

And what should the content be? We asked some staff and actually got back a number of ideas. I don’t have them in front of me now, since I am on an airplane flying back to Seattle. And why I am flying back to Seattle?

I’m returning from a week-long trip to the East Coast. First, on April 25th I flew to LaGuardia through Chicago, and the second flight was delayed three hours, so I arrived late at night to the Marriot in Trumbull , CT for the start of my visit to Sacred Heart University to meet with them regarding their AACSB accreditation reaffirmation visit. The visit is scheduled for February, 2012 and I am chairing the team. They wanted my take on their readiness for the visit. They are taking this very seriously, since it seemed like I met with just about every faculty and staff member in one exciting day! To top it off, I also met with the President and the Provost for dinner. I don’t think that happens very often on such visits! I know I couldn’t pull it off here at SU!

The next day I took the train from Fairfield, CT to Grand Central Station to attend the AACSB annual meeting in New York City. It turns out the meeting didn’t really start until Thursday, but on Wednesday I was able to meet a few SU alums in New York. Probably the most interesting was Stu Jackson, who graduated from Albers in 1978 and played basketball at SU in his senior year after transferring from Oregon. How in the world did that happen? It is an interesting story, but I want to save it for the Albers Brief! Today, Stu is Executive VP of Basketball Operations for the NBA. That means he is in charge of such things as the officiating (never a dull moment there) and handing out misconduct penalties to players. Now that is interesting, right!

Stu told me that he was very grateful for the education he received at SU, especially for the personal attention he received from faculty. In particular, he remembered the support of Harriet Stephenson, who I assured him was still doing that for students today! Kudos, Harriet!

Thursday and Friday were the start of the AACSB annual meeting. It’s not the most exciting stuff to blog about. Certainly one of the highlights has to be attending the Beta Gamma Sigma Dean’s Luncheon on Thursday and winning the door prize – a scholarship for one of our BGS students to the BGS Leadership Workshop. And to think I almost did not toss my business card into the basket. We normally send one student to this conference each year. Will we send one or two this year?? :}

The best part is reconnecting with other deans I have gotten to know over the years. Friday morning the Jesuit deans had their traditional annual meeting breakfast. We discussed new joint marketing initiatives, the launch of our undergraduate business program directors group, and the agenda for our next meeting at Xavier in October. Joe DiAngelo from St. Joe’s is the incoming President of AACSB, so that should be good for our group. Norm Solomon, the dean at Fairfield, is stepping down at the end of the year, so we saluted him. Norm is someone I think very highly of and have always enjoyed working with. A scary thought is this means I am now the third longest serving business dean at a Jesuit school. I hope nothing happens to Bud Barnes (Gonzaga) and Joe DiAngelo!

Late Friday I took the train down to Philadelphia to visit family and now it is Monday and I am headed back to Seattle. The big question is how are my students in Econ 271 surviving? They took a test on Tuesday and have a paper to submit on Thursday based on an in-class debate given by the SU Debate Team. I will find out tomorrow morning at 7:45 AM.

Just like that -- off and blogging!