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Peter Dhillon, Ocean Spray Cranberries chairman, is helping fund a new research centre for business ethics at UBC's Sauder School of Business.

Don Erhardt

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

In recent years, a litany of global white-collar crimes – from rigged currency trading and mortgage fraud to corruption and bribery – has given skeptics ample ammunition to question the ethics of business.

It is that skepticism, in part, that prompted Canada's largest cranberry grower to team up with the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business to establish a new centre for business ethics.

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"I have heard that business and ethics don't belong in the same sentence and I don't think that's true," says Peter Dhillon, the Richmond, B.C.-based chairman of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. "I really believe there is a big place, and an opportunity, to help bring along certain skeptics out there."

The university announced this month that Mr. Dhillon and the school each will contribute half toward a $7.5-million fund for the new centre named in his honour. The centre is within the existing building.

With executive and academic directors to be recruited this fall, the centre's mandate is to support the study, teaching and research of values-based business practices at home and abroad and provide governance and other training to the private sector.

Mr. Dhillon, a UBC alumnus, hopes the centre will help make Sauder "the global leader on business ethics."

His ambition is shared by Sauder dean Robert Helsley.

"One of the broader strategies we are trying to promote in the school is to increase the emphasis on values in business education," he says, citing academic rigour, respect for diversity and individual and corporate responsibility as key components of the Sauder curriculum.

But how to teach ethics as more than an add-on?

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"I see the need to raise awareness about ethical issues and to provide tools for students, and thereby future business people, to recognize ethical dilemmas and to think carefully about ethical problems," says Dr. Helsley. "To make sound judgments about ethical issues is pretty critical to the future of business and the economy and the future of culture."

Sauder's MBA curriculum, for example, already includes a required course on ethics and sustainability offered alongside one on decision-making taught by Dale Griffin, interim director of the centre. He hopes the centre will contribute to integrating ethics in all facets of teaching and research as a "core business problem" to be addressed in a company's overall strategy for success.

For example, he says, "doing the right kind of accounting means being transparent in your accounting and being clear about the risks in your financial portfolio."

Mr. Dhillon, a previous donor to UBC, says the announcement of the centre comes just weeks before his 50th birthday.

"Instead of going out and celebrating a wild and crazy birthday, I wanted to create a legacy for myself and do something positive and constructive," he says. "That to me is a celebration."

New dean appointed at NAIT B-school

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One of the largest business schools in Western Canada has recruited Russell Currie as its dean, effective July 1.

The JR Shaw School of Business and the school of hospitality and culinary arts at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton recently announced the appointment of Dr. Currie, currently dean of the business school at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

Despite its size – more than 4,000 students in full- or part-time studies and more than 100 full-time faculty – the business school does not have a high profile, according to Dr. Currie. He says his focus will be on "expanding and deepening relationships" with industry, indigenous communities and others on behalf of students.

Amid uncertainty in some quarters over new political leadership in Alberta and the negative effect of low world oil prices on the provincial economy, Dr. Currie only sees opportunity for NAIT's business school. "There is ample room to manoeuvre even in the economy of today," he says.

Schulich expands its downtown Toronto footprint

Located in the northwest corner of Toronto, York University's Schulich School of Business is physically distant from the city's downtown business district.

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But with an eye to a key market, Schulich will offer some students the option this September to take a full-time MBA at the school's downtown campus where a part-time degree has been delivered for the past 10 years. Schulich continues to offer the full-time MBA at its main campus.

The school will add some core and elective courses in the daytime at the Bay Street campus, complementing the current roster of evening classes, according to a Schulich spokesman.

Accreditation renewed for Montreal school

The European Foundation for Management Development has renewed its accreditation of HEC Montréal for a five-year period.

The school's programs are also recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Association of MBAs, making it one of only two Canadian business schools (and 70 worldwide) with the "triple crown" of accreditation.

Professor named to new three-year fellowship

Michael Haughton, a researcher in goods movement, has been named the inaugural CN fellow in supply chain management at Wilfrid Laurier University's school of business and economics.

Prof. Haughton, who also teaches at the Waterloo, Ont., school, will be responsible for outreach, research and curriculum development as part of a previously-announced pledge of $500,000 by Canadian National Railway Co. for the school's Centre for Supply Chain Management. He will also serve as a consultant to CN,  fostering collaboration between the transportation company, researchers and students, according to a press release from Laurier.

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Contact Jennifer at jlewington@bell.net

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