By Tracy Couto, Director of Le Moyne College’s Savage-McGill Center for Reflective Leadership (home to IgnitEd and the Global Jesuit Case Series)
Inside the hallways of the nearly 200 Jesuit colleges and universities across the world, thousands of faculty and students collectively elevate our shared mission and values through their daily interactions. Energizing this community are faculty who embody a true entrepreneurial spirit. They tirelessly adapt their pedagogical approach by teaching and inspiring students to become future managers and leaders in service to both business and society.
While institutions outside of the Jesuit system often pigeonhole the humanities and ethics into the halls of the liberal arts, Jesuit institutions prioritize and integrate transdisciplinary thinking and teaching, bringing an appreciation of history, philosophy and other humanistic disciplines into the core of business education. In Jesuit business schools, it takes but little effort to find a classroom full of discussion on the moral implications of artificial intelligence, or a more humanistic approach to leading and managing others, while at the same time, adhering to the management discipline-specific rigor that the business world expects from our graduates.
At their best, Jesuit business schools embody the innovative spirit of their faculty. Faculty revisit their professional methods and solutions several times per year; invent new strategies; and experiment with new tools and techniques, all in the spirit of generating new knowledge or making a longer-lasting meaningful impact on their students. Our faculty’s pioneering approach to education fuels our institutions’ renowned reputations as embodying excellence in teaching and formation. This community of diverse faculty, animated by Jesuit values, offers an opportunity to shape a powerful response to the many complex problems of the 21st century.
Igniting our “Entrepreneurial” Faculty: Shaping a Force Multiplier Effect
In 2015, a group of entrepreneurial faculty at Le Moyne College teamed up with the newly-named Dean of the Madden School of Business to launch the Global Jesuit Case Series (GJCS): a values-based response to traditional teaching case studies. Formed in partnership with the nearly 200 Jesuit colleges and universities across the world, GJCS is a series of business and social policy case studies that embody the values of social justice, human dignity, moral leadership, and sustainability, while concurrently fostering organizational innovation and profitability.
The GJCS welcomes established case writers from Jesuit institutions and beyond to submit to its peer-reviewed outlet with both typical text-based cases, as well as new formats that incorporate video and audio to enrich the students’ experience. What emerges are transdisciplinary case studies written by business professors, ethicists, and others within the liberal arts that challenge students to approach business problems in a holistic manner.
Combining Technology and Community: A Catalyst for Values-Based Education
Eighteen months after the GJCS launched, a new sharing platform, IgnitEd.global, went live. With a primary focus on connecting, supporting, and empowering business school faculty in juggling the many demands of academia, IgnitEd serves as a hub for scholars, journals, and mission-aligned organizations. Members of IgnitEd have access to a deep treasure chest of teaching resources and can share their own work for the benefit of other like-minded scholars.
When faculty contribute their (and their institutions’) most successful teaching-related material, such as course designs, cases or problem sets, their own scholarly contributions are noted when used by business school professors around the world. In short, IgnitEd is about taking the best ideas – codified in the form of cases, articles, and other pedagogical tools – and having them shared and used globally. With more and more entrepreneurial faculty joining this community of scholars, they gain (with their schools) important external recognition (so valued by accreditation bodies) and benefit from the collective work of others around the world.
Four years since its launch, IgnitEd.global is a growing hotbed of material used by thousands of faculty, motivated by values-based impact across a wide swathe of communities, including the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools, Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education, the International Humanistic Management Association, and the Society for Case Research. Users can also access journals and conferences, and connect with other members: this consortium makes it easy for faculty to find new outlets for publishing and connecting.
New initiatives are underway to activate our entrepreneurial faculty. In 2021 and beyond, IgnitEd will support the creation and dissemination of innovative and effective pedagogical resources related to the ‘Inspirational Paradigm in Jesuit Business Education.’ This initiative was spearheaded by Jesuit business school deans from all corners of the globe, to further inspire business students to look to business as a way to solve many of the most troubling issues of the world, and promote a more equal and just tomorrow. Faculty from Jesuit business schools are invited to apply for funding up to $20,000 to develop cutting-edge materials for broad use in our network and beyond. For more information, please click here.
This community of entrepreneurial scholars is well on its way toward IgnitEd’s vision of changing the world through better business education, and connecting and igniting faculty from all Jesuit institutions across the globe. IgnitEd is one resource that is helping make Jesuit education happen in ways bigger and bolder than before.