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Released May 13, 2004

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
ADOPTS CORE VALUES

HATTIESBURG -- In a move that will have an impact on curriculum, programs and operations, the faculty of the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi have adopted a new set of core values.

The dean's office, in collaboration with CBED faculty and the Business Advisory Council, identified the values over the past academic year. They were unanimously approved during a faculty meeting May 7 in Hattiesburg.

These values will be represented by the acronym "PRIDE," which represents five ideals that students, faculty, staff and administrators should strive to achieve. Each letter represents a specific value: P-Professionalism; R-Respect; I-Integrity; D-Discipline; and E-Excellence in our quest for knowledge.

Dean Harold Doty said: "It is critical in today's business environment that these (values) become the foundation for all we do in the CBED. For instance, integrity is a value intrinsic to business operations. If it is missing, then you can have catastrophic results. We must instill integrity in everything we do so that our students understand its importance when they leave here."

Phil Bryant, Mississippi state auditor and member of the CBED Business Advisory Council, agrees with that assessment. "The absence of core values such as integrity and discipline gave us corporate failures including ENRON and WorldCom. It is critical for students to learn that the values of professionalism, excellence and integrity are not only desirable, but essential. Any business or organization not embracing these values will ultimately falter and collapse," Bryant said.

Robin Robinson, a member of the BAC and director of organization development for Sanderson Farms, said that professionalism is a key element in the workplace. "People form their impressions of you by looking at the outside and making assumptions about what's on the inside: they take you at face value. I would like for our students who are coming out of the College of Business and Economic Development to look like they have participated in a business college that is ranked in the top 25 by U.S. News and World Report," Robinson said.

Adoption of the core values is also a component of the college's accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), said Dr. George Carter, professor of economics and chair of the CBED accreditation committee. The AACSB is the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting.

"The accreditation process requires that all colleges have a formal ethical structure, including core values and a code of conduct. The adoption of these core values is an important first step in establishing this," said Carter, who also teaches business ethics. The college annually files accreditation maintenance reports, and every five years the AACSB accreditation teams visit and review documents and determine whether an environment of continuous improvement has been maintained.

As far as the workplace is concerned, Carter said, "Research has shown that the ethics that people practice come first from superiors, only a distant second from peers, and an even more distant third from one's internal ethical identity. It is important to establish the ethical foundation on which employees are expected to act in the workplace. A written document, beginning with core values, is the foundation on which ethics and honor systems are founded."

The process of identifying the values has been ongoing throughout this academic year and is part of the CBED's continuous improvement process and a tangible representation of things already taking place in the college, Doty said.

"This spring we added Amy Yeend, a career services professional who has begun hosting workshops on various topics intended to help our students increase their professionalism. This fall we will be implementing an academic integrity policy that our faculty has adopted," Doty said.

"We have gotten extensive feedback from the business community about these values. Our Business Advisory Council discussed these at length during our spring meeting and gave us great advice on values they believe are important. They've given us insight into what corporate leaders expect in their employees. Instilling these values in our students - and their potential employees -- is one way we are trying to meet the needs of the business community," he said.

Doty added that the CBED will be developing ways to further address each of these five values in the college's constituencies and how to assess the efforts. During the 2004-05 academic year, the CBED will be revising its curriculum to address these areas even further. "These values will permeate all we do in the CBED," Doty said. "We want these to be deeply ingrained in students when they leave here."

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May 14, 2004 12:34 PM

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