Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Cultivating an understanding of ethics

"The Banta Center stands as a testament to the [Banta] family's compassionate and sensitive understanding of the role of ethical and purposeful leadership in contemporary business,” says the center’s director, Professor Carlo Carrascoso, shown here at a 2018 Banta Center event. Carrascoso also notes family members’ commitment to fostering continued personal and professional growth at Redlands. (Photo by Coco McKown '04, '10)

Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2021, the Banta Center for Ethical and Purposeful Leadership is the University of Redlands forum for conversation, inquiry, and debate on ethical and purposeful leadership. Most recently, as part of a lecture series that brings together prominent scholars and professionals, the Center hosted a webinar titled, "Managing in Changing Times: The Weight of COVID-19 Responsibilities and Organizational Sustainability."

The March 12 event featured a conversation among Jonathan Phillips, a law partner at Larson LLP; School of Business Professor Bing Bai; and Randal Walker '88, vice president for clinical engineering (eastern region) at Agility Health and founder of the Walker Ethics Award, which promotes an awareness of, and engagement with, ethical issues in organizational life.

"This is a very timely topic for these turbulent times," said Senecal Endowed Dean of the School of Business Tom Horan, in introducing the lecture. "We are balancing the issues of safety and responsibility that have been brought about by the COVID-19 crisis and are confronting [issues of] employers’ and organizations’ continued viability."

Moderated by the Center’s director, Carlo Carrascoso, the panelists discussed how organizations and the leaders within them are managing the numerous complexities around the COVID-19 pandemic. These complexities include legal dimensions related to vaccinations as a precondition for employment, human resource considerations (such as the future of remote work and employee mental health considerations), and other employer perspectives on the "new normal."

Research, outreach, recognition

In addition to thought-provoking and timely lectures, Banta Center activities include faculty research and community outreach. In the 2019-20 academic year, Carrascoso collaborated with Neena Gopalan, associate director of the Banta Center, on research regarding how working professional students like those at the School of Business manage their work and school responsibilities. The project also explored factors that influence these students’ academic satisfaction, including students' ethical values and their employers' ethical climate.

The Center’s student awards also recognize research, study, and service in the area of ethics. These distinctions include the Banta Community Service Award, which promotes and recognizes the values of citizenship, care, and individual responsibility; this year’s recipient is College of Arts and Sciences student Hannah Albrecht '21.  

Serving as the foundation for excellence in individual and organizational decision-making, the Center was initially founded as the Banta Center for Business, Ethics, and Society in 2006 but was renamed in 2018 to reflect the School of Business's focus on 21st century leadership styles, skills, and approaches.

Horan, who leads the School's Purposeful Leadership Initiative, sees the Banta Center as fundamental to that initiative's ongoing success. "The integration of ethics and purposeful leadership into the life of the University helps students become successful leaders whose actions benefit their organization and society," says Horan. Mark Banta '89 is proud of what the Center has accomplished over the past decade and a half and is excited for what it is to come under current leadership.

"Our family wants to integrate a discussion of ethical issues throughout the University that can cultivate a better understanding for students and the entire community," Banta says. "As Redlands students become more engaged citizens, they will have a better sensitivity to these problems in our world."

The Center is made possible through the support of the Banta family, including David Banta '63, '65; Stephanie Banta '63; Mark Banta '89; and Kimberle Banta '89.

The Banta Center is planning future programming, including additional gatherings for alumni, students, and community members on themes related to ethical and purposeful leadership, a Purposeful Leadership Academy to guide personal and professional growth, and a series of non-degree Leadership Arc Workshops.

"The Banta Center stands as a testament to the family's compassionate and sensitive understanding of the role of ethical and purposeful leadership in contemporary business, as well as their commitment to fostering continued personal and professional growth at Redlands," says Carrascoso. "We are most grateful to them, and to all of our supporters, for investing in these dynamic and important conversations and activities."

Learn more about the U of R School of Business and the Banta Center for Ethical and Purposeful Leadership.