Jan. 8, 2013

Catholic University Announces New Virtues-Based Business School

Andrew Abela

The Catholic University of America announced today that it has created a School of Business and Economics that will be distinctively Catholic and character based.

Previously a department housed in the School of Arts and Sciences , the new school will respond to the continuing strong interest expressed in business and economics by many of the University's current and prospective students while offering a model based on Catholic social doctrine and the natural law that is unlike theories prevalent at most leading business schools.

"Business schools focus on teaching commercial skills and rules of ethics, but they neglect the importance of character. Our distinctive idea is to bring the rich resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition and the natural law to bear upon business and economics. This will integrate morality into commercial life and help form the character of our future business leaders," says Andrew Abela , chair of the previous Department of Business and Economics.

"We are going to let our Catholic thinking penetrate our curriculum," Abela says, adding that studies show companies are more competitive and sustainable in the long run if they respect the dignity of consumers and employees.

The University's Board of Trustees voted in December to confirm the creation of the school commencing Jan. 1, 2013. This decision was the culmination of a three-year process of discernment, evaluation, and planning.

According to Abela, Catholic University's School of Business and Economics will be truly person-centered, making it distinctive in three ways:

  1. Morality and a sense of service integrated into every course. Ethics will not be relegated to a separate course. Every class will focus on developing the skills and habits required for both professional and moral excellence.
  2. Research oriented to the common good. Faculty will be committed to making business and economics more humane and thus more effective. Their work will be based on the vital importance of virtue and natural law for sustainable and widely diffused economic and commercial success.
  3. Practical formation. Education will be focused on the will as well as on the intellect in order to help students integrate virtues into their chosen professions. This will involve a strong foundation of liberal arts education, constant exposure to positive role models, and extensive opportunities for students to practice what they are learning.

"We are an ideal home for a business and economics school based on this new approach," says University President John Garvey. "First, we already have a core group of faculty who are invested in building a person-centered economy. Second, as the national university of the Catholic Church in America, we have a unique responsibility to contribute to the national discussion about the economic challenges facing the country; a school enables us to do this with greater impact.

"Finally, as a new school we can do something different, unlike other schools - Catholic and non-Catholic - that already have large faculties committed to existing conventional approaches to business and economics. Our school is small enough to pursue a new and original direction."

The School of Business and Economics is the University's 13th school.