During January 2-4, more than 30 scholars from 14 universities came to Ave Maria for the “Mission-Driven Business Education” seminar to talk about integrating the Catholic faith and the Catholic intellectual tradition into the teaching of marketing, management, accounting, finance, economics, and business ethics. Michael Naughton (of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought at the University of St. Thomas), Gabriel Martinez (Chair of the Business Department at Ave Maria University), and Henry Amoroso (of the Micah Center at Seton Hall University) were the seminar organizers.
“Through the questions we raise, through the topics we choose, through the answers we give, we can give our students and our colleagues a sense of the meaning and fulfillment we have found as Christians and as Catholics,” said Dr. Martinez. “The Catholic tradition gives us a different perspective and a unique impetus to study finance, economics, marketing, accounting, management, and business ethics, which makes our classroom and research occasions for – appropriate, respectful, opportune – evangelization.”
The seminar, which focused on the uniquely Catholic dimensions of business education, lasted two and a half days, with formal presentations and informal discussions. In their presentations, the participants laid out their understanding of the Catholic intellectual tradition and of Catholic social teaching. Then they connected these ideas with the specific pedagogical strategies that they use to help students make relevant connections. Other scholars responded by highlighting what they thought was most relevant, thus starting a discussion among the whole group.
All participants wrote background papers on their ideas of the integration of Catholic teaching with their disciplines. They also provided specific teaching notes and syllabi, which will be made publicly available to the worldwide academic community, with the aim of helping business professors in any university who want to bring the Catholic intellectual tradition to their own students.
Together with a very favorable impression of Ave Maria, the participants (from Notre Dame, Pepperdine, St. Thomas, Seton Hall, St. Joseph’s, St. John’s, Dayton, Catholic University of America, Loras, St. Norbert’s, Lexington, Le Moyne, St. Francis, and Ave Maria) left with strong bonds and with plans for future collaboration and extensions of their work into the world of business.