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Building a Strong Foundation in Ethics

At the College of Business, we believe that strong ethics are the foundation of any business education. Ethics inform daily actions both large and small. By both learning about and practicing ethical behavior, our students build a solid grounding in ethics to help them make principled decisions that make the world a better place throughout their careers—and their lives.

In partnership with the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program, CSU's College of Business brings ethics education into the classroom, reaching thousands of students each year. The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative is named after legendary businessman Bill Daniels, whose entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to fairness and ethical business practices earned him respect throughout the business community. A pioneer of cable television in Wyoming and the West, Bill used his wealth to help those in need and teach young people the value of ethics.

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative helps the College of Business deliver principle-based ethics education and reinforces the value of ethical behavior, both professionally and personally. The College is one of only 12 schools in the West that make up the Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium, which tasks participating schools with incorporating ethics into instruction, events and activities.

"Ethical leadership is the cornerstone of enduring business success.  Producing the next generation of ethical leaders is one way we will fulfill our mission of ‘Business for a Better World’."

- Beth Walker, Dean of the College of Business

College of Business Dean, Beth Walker

The College’s program, led by Dean Beth Walker and Associate Dean Paul Mallette, engages students in developing ethical mindsets through classroom learning and co-curricular programming. It is focused on a principle-based framework for decision making that helps students see the ways in which ethical decisions and responsible business practices are central to achieving both organizational and professional success.

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Newsletter 

In the newsletter, we highlight the research, competitions and events that advance our commitment to ethics at the College of Business. 

Read the Fall 2022 Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Newsletter

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About the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative

The Daniels Fund Board of Directors established the Initiative in 2009 to continue Bill Daniels’s legacy of compassionate and ethical business practices. The initiative’s primary objective is actively engaging students in principle-based education that creates a solid foundation in ethics they can draw from throughout their careers. The Initiative has eight core principles:

Integrity: Act with honesty in all situations

Trust: Build trust in all stakeholder relationships

Accountability: Accept responsibility for all decisions

Transparency: Maintain open and truthful communications

Fairness: Engage in fair competition and create equitable and just relationships

Respect: Honor the rights, freedoms, views, and property of others

Rule of Law: Comply with the spirit and intent of laws and regulations

Viability: Create long-term value for all relevant stakeholders

Bill Daniels Photo
Bill Daniels was a lifelong champion of ethical behavior in business and in life.

To participate in the Consortium, each school must propose specific tactics it will use to incorporate ethics education into its curriculum and activities. Schools are then evaluated annually on agreed-to measures and must demonstrate enduring dedication to ethics education to continue participating in the Consortium. 

Competitions and Events

Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium Summit

College of Business ethics program leaders Dean Beth Walker (third from right) and Associate Dean Paul Mallette (second from right) attended the 2019 Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium Summit with several students and faculty members.

Core to learning the value of ethics is the student experience. CSU and the College host a number of competitions and events annually to experientially engage students and apply theory to real-world situations. Events and competitions include:

  • The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative - Undergraduate and Graduate Case Competition
  • Provost's Ethics Colloquium Series
  • Meet the Founders Leadership Series

In addition, the College typically sends two students to the annual West Point National Conference on Ethics in America (this competition is on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic). These students learn about current ethical challenges facing the country and share what they learn with faculty and fellow students.

Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition brings together all 12 schools in the Consortium for an engaging contest that reinforces the principles of ethical decision-making. Student teams use the knowledge they have gained in their coursework to analyze an ethical dilemma and present their solution to a panel of judges. The students must show that they understand that strong ethics are the basis of decision-making in every situation, and that they have placed ethics over personal gain in solving the real-world dilemma. The College sends both a graduate and undergraduate team to the annual competition.

In 2022, a team of six College of Business MBA students took third place at the annual Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition. The team consisted of students from three different MBA programs at the College and demonstrated how ethics can be a foundational element of decision making when facing business challenges.

The MBA Team at the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition

The MBA team took third place at the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition in 2022. From left: Nicole Brown, Tifanny Ho, Cameron Matthews, Megan Bierwirth, Andrew Sheahan, Claire Johnson.

The undergraduate Team at the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition

A team of undergraduate business students also took part in the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition in 2022. From left: Chase Dilorio, Kaden Anderson, Brandon Baum, Abby Hoekstra, Connor Stout, Alfredo Ochoa Hernandez.

Provost’s Ethics Colloquium Series

Launched in 2016, the Provost’s Ethics Colloquium Series promotes cross-disciplinary, university-wide conversations about ethical issues. CSU faculty and staff collaborate to share an ethical perspective on a range of issues, from media ethics to finding and maintaining authentic relationships. The series features speakers from CSU and around the country, giving students a broad perspective on ethics that helps them build a solid foundation for principled decision-making.

Future Provost’s Ethics Colloquium events will be shared on CSU’s website with a link provided here for convenience.

"The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative’s goal of instilling a high standard of ethics in our next generation of business leaders is critical to our students’ personal growth and career success. We are grateful for the many years of financial support from the Daniels Fund to help give our students the skills they need to build a better world through principled and ethical conduct." 

- Mary Pedersen, Special Assistant to the Provost of Colorado State University

Mary Pedersen, Provost and Executive Vice President

Meet the Founders Leadership Series

The Meet the Founders speaker series brings corporate leaders and innovators to campus to discuss ethical issues in business. With support from the Provost’s Ethics Colloquium Series, Meet the Founders gives students the opportunity to learn about how executives practice ethical behavior in their careers and builds relationships between students and successful business leaders. 

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Upcoming Ethics Competitions and Events

No upcoming events
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In the Classroom

Ethics lesson in classroom

Learning about ethics in the classroom helps students identify and resolve ethical issues.

At the College of Business, we know that learning how to make ethical decisions in business situations begins in the classroom. Across concentrations and in our undergraduate and graduate programs, we infuse our curriculum with real-world ethical examples that engage students in identifying ethical issues and coming up with principle-based solutions.

The College requires all undergraduate business major and minor students to take BUS 220 “Ethics in Contemporary Organizations,” where they learn to examine and apply ethical principles that are fundamental to managing organizations of all sizes. The course is open to all undergraduate students at CSU and is part of the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC), which helps students refine their academic skills and expand their knowledge base. Undergraduates also discuss and engage with ethical issues in several of the College’s business courses.

MBA students can choose from several electives in ethics that teach them to make principle-based decisions in difficult situations they will face—and may have already faced—in their careers.

Our Faculty Fellows

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative provides fellowships to faculty members who commit to developing coursework that actively engages students in principle-based education. The 2019-2020 Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Fellows are: