Religiously affiliated schools engaging students around income inequality

In the wake of a widely circulated annual ranking of colleges and universities that produce the most billionaires, Inside Higher Ed recently explored how religiously affiliated universities are finding ways to start a dialogue about income inequality. Recognizing the nation’s widening income gap, business schools at religiously affiliated institutions such as Notre Dame and Georgetown University—both Catholic institutions—are including the issue explicitly in their curriculum, seminars, and other outreach.

“We have these Jesuit values, and the principal value we have here is ‘men and women in service to others,’” Bill Novelli, a professor in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, told Inside Higher Ed. “If you’re going to have that as your leading value, it’s going to lead you to focus on social inequality.”

Novelli teaches several courses focused on addressing social issues. He teaches corporate social responsibility, is an instructor for a course on Principled Leadership in Business and Society, and heads up the business school’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative.

“We want all the students to leave here with the understanding of the importance of more than one bottom line,” Novelli says. “We want them to understand that they have social and environmental responsibilities and that that’s compatible with the profit motive.”

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