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NMSU College of Business awarded $1.25 million to develop ethics program

The New Mexico State University College of Business has been awarded $1.25 million over the next five years to develop a principle-based ethics program. The grant is part of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative, whose goal is to strengthen principle-based ethics education and to foster a high standard of ethics in young people.


"Ethics has always been important in business as well as in society in general," said Garrey Carruthers, dean of NMSU's College of Business. "Unfortunately, there is a growing concern in the public that not enough is being done to educate people, and in particular young people, about ethics. Events over the past few years, from Enron to Bernie Madoff, have resulted in the business community being indicted by the public as being unethical. That's why our goal is to develop new and innovative ways to teach ethics and to extend ethics training beyond the NMSU campus."

The grant makes NMSU part of the Daniels Ethics Consortium, where seven other universities across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming have been given similar awards. Other participating universities are Colorado State University, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, University of New Mexico, University of Northern Colorado, University of Utah, University of Denver and University of Wyoming. Each is charged with coming up with a unique, individual approach to the program, which will be shared with others in the consortium of colleges. With demonstrated success, the grants for the initiative would be renewable.

The grant specifies the initiative will be anchored in the business college and led by the business dean. This semester, principle-based ethics will be included in business courses taught by Carruthers and by Steve Elias. The College of Business will work with other NMSU colleges and departments to further the program, making it available to a wider range of students.

Later this year, NMSU plans to work with the University of New Mexico on an ethics conference and to extend the ethics program to two-year colleges around the state. Another goal of the NMSU program is to develop a program to provide supplemental ethical training for elected officials.

Carruthers emphasizes that while ethics is currently embedded as part of most NMSU business courses, more can be done.

An NMSU niche will be to look at ethics standards and education in other countries that represent principal trading partners.

"One of the College of Business Advisory Council members pointed out that what we deem unethical in the United States may not be unethical in other countries. Comparative ethics will also be a focus of our program, to train our people how carry ethical behavior into an international business environment," Carruthers said.

The Daniels Fund is a private foundation established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, who at one time lived in New Mexico and was widely recognized for his ethics and integrity in business. For more information, visit http://www.danielsfund.org.