A Mission Week Reflection on… Social Justice Infusing Our Curriculum

Tim Swift, Ph.D.

Tension exists between our ideals of a market-based economy and our desires for social justice. In general, we agree that folks should be paid in proportion to the economic value they create.

Yet most of us agree something is going terribly wrong. Just last month, Reuters reported that more than half of the world’s wealth will be owned by the richest one percent of the population by 2016.

For the most part, wealth is distributed in the U.S. through private industry. Many students in the Haub School of Business are being prepared to enter this arena – to play an integral role in wealth creation and distribution.

The mission of St. Joseph’s University, which emphasizes our commitment to social justice, comes to life in the HSB curriculum. For example:

  • The Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics has trained dozens of SJU faculty on issues related to business ethics and social justice. Each of those faculty members have taken the training back into the classroom, enriching their courses with their enhanced perspective.
  • Ethics-intensive courses, such as FIN402 – Portfolio Management, which examines the ethical implications of investing.
  • Our major in Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Sustainability (LEO), which trains our students in Ignatian values that help them become ethical business leaders.
  • Our service-learning courses, such as MGT120 – Essentials of Management, which exposes students to economically vulnerable citizens, so that our students may experience solidarity and contemplate ways to enhance justice.

When I first came to St. Joe’s, I was surprised by the frequency with which our students saw justice issues during our evaluations of business issues. Now I understand some of the reasons for this. We expose our students to courses, majors and faculty with special emphasis on social justice, thereby enriching our students’ perspectives.

Tim Swift, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Management
Haub School of Business