Jenkins’ address invokes Catholic mission

first_imgDrawing upon Notre Dame’s Catholic mission, University President Fr. John Jenkins delivered his annual address to a theater full of faculty at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Tuesday afternoon. Jenkins celebrated the diligence of Notre Dame’s professors, deans, advisors and officials, while also calling attention to the University’s progressive aspirations. Jenkins said the contributions of faculty members are of substantial importance for the University’s mission. He commended faculty for creating real, tangible value through academics, while reflecting upon an excerpt from the late Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet and holder of an honorary degree from Notre Dame. “Like Heaney’s poetry-writing, your work as faculty is generally not strenuous physical labor, but the work of the mind and imagination,” Jenkins said. “Yet it is as demanding and productive as [the work of] those engaged in physical labor.” The University is seeking more funding to pursue its greatest aspirations, while being fiscally responsible and respecting the University’s Catholic mission, Jenkins said. Among these aspirations are newly proposed additions to Notre Dame Stadium, which Jenkins said are designed to enrich academics and student life.  Jenkins said the Central Campus Planning Project has made great strides in planning potential stadium renovations.  “The group has made great progress and considered the possibility of a student center adjacent to the stadium, buildings to house one or more academic departments and space for a digital media center,” he said. In response to a question about the potential addition of sexual orientation to the University’s anti-discrimination clause, Jenkins said law mandates everything that is already detailed in the clause and he saw no need to tamper with it. He also said all specific matters of discrimination, no matter the cause, should be brought to his attention. Jenkins’ address also touched upon key changes in the digital world. He said the University plans to create a modifiable website for tracking developments. He also discussed the reallocation of funds toward engineering and the sciences to prepare Notre Dame students for this changing world.  However, in an age of online courses and virtual degrees, Jenkins said Notre Dame must continue to offer something more. “I do not believe it will ever be possible to deliver the richness of a Notre Dame education wholly on-line,” he said. “An essential part of a Notre Dame education is the community that comes from physical proximity, the relationships that are developed among students and between students and professors, and the serendipity of critical insights through unplanned interactions.” Jenkins said an example of Notre Dame offering more than an online experience is the University’s student satisfaction statistics.  “The percentage of Notre Dame seniors who report being ‘very satisfied’ with the ‘overall quality of instruction’ at Notre Dame stands at 57 percent, more than 20 points above the national average among other highly selective private universities,” he said.  Similarly, 98 percent of Notre Dame undergraduates consistently report satisfaction. Even with this level of student approval, Notre Dame’s true standard of education is not easily quantified, Jenkins said.  “Although a Notre Dame education makes sense in financial terms, its value cannot and should not be reduced to an analysis of our graduates’ future earning potential,” he said.  Jenkins said the moral formation and social efficacy instilled in students by the Notre Dame experience is what ought to be emphasized. “As we undertake the curriculum review, we must do so with those educational ideals at the center of our concerns,” he said.last_img read more

Final score: Board – 1; CEO – All others

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jeff Rendel Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with credit unions that want elite results in sales, service, and strategy. Each year, he addresses and facilitates … Web: Details “Members of the Board, I would like you to meet our new CFO,” said the CEO of a large credit union as he introduced the newest executive. Pleasantries were exchanged, small talk occupied several minutes, and the CFO excused himself to tend to the afternoon’s matters. The CEO shared the background of the CFO and how happy he was to now have a complete team of managing executives. The scheduled meeting with the Board and CEO continued as prearranged.In contrast, another credit union’s Board directed the CEO to not relieve an operations executive of her duties. “She’s been with us for years, members love her, and it may send the wrong message to staff, pointed the Board.” The CEO felt her hands were tied. The operations executive was not meeting new expectations, had not delivered on a performance improvement plan, and was actively working against necessary changes in the credit union’s culture and strategic growth plans. A board of directors has one employee – the CEO. Most breakout education sessions on governance remind us of that steering tenet. How is it practiced at your credit union? Obviously, boards develop working relationships with other executives; the executives are often involved in meetings that involve strategy and board affairs. And, boards often rely on the expertise of executives to share deeper insights into operational matters.As much as a board desires to ensure the credit union is led by the best, its role is limited to selecting and evaluating the CEO. For the CEO to be effective and fulfilled as the top executive, he or she anticipates having the authority to build and refine the kind of executive team that is suitable for the credit union’s strategic future. While the CEO may choose to discuss issues and candidates with the board; that conversation should be for insights, clarity, and observation. Ultimately, the CEO is responsible for building the organization and accountable for the results that follow.As for the CEO with the excessively involved board; she ultimately made it clear: the credit union would continue to suffer financially under current operating leadership; and, was about to struggle even more as she considered resigning. Her board decided to commit to its one employee – her. The results? Membership growth, record revenue, higher margins, increased efficiency, lower losses, and newfound profits.The most effective boards remain focused on governance and oversight; and, the most valuable CEOs remain occupied with strategy and execution. Boards can best help their CEOs succeed with clear support on strategy and the freedom to implement. In return, the CEO can deliver what the board needs most from its singular employee – sound operations, strategic progress, and sustained relevance for members. last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: ESG investing – beyond virtue signalling

first_imgSource: IcelandAn Iceland store in Fulham, LondonIt was certainly successful as an ad campaign, as by early December 2018 figures from industry newswire PRWeek showed that the advert had been viewed 65m times across social media and Iceland’s own channels, making it “one of the most viewed Christmas campaigns of all time”, according to PRWeek’s report. Moreover, it appears its success helped to shift the dial in how consumers perceive the brand, as well as providing an uplift to sales.Banning palm oil completely, however, is actually quite bizarre. Making supply chains sustainable is the key to ending large-scale tropical deforestation, declares lobby group Global Canopy, and even Greenpeace declares that palm oil can be grown without destroying rainforests.Palm oil itself is the most efficient source of vegetable oil, providing – according to some estimates – a third of the world’s vegetable oils from just 10% of the land used for all oil crops. Replacing palm oil with other edible oil sources may require five times the land currently being used for palm oil, according to this column from the Oxford Student newspaper. It is five times more efficient than both rapeseed sunflower oils and up to nine times more efficient than corn and soya.Banning widely used commodities altogether is a nuclear option that should only be undertaken when strictly necessary. What matters is that commodities are sourced from ethically aware companies that produce them in a sustainable and responsible manner. One investment theme that will only grow stronger in 2019 is that of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.Few fund managers are willing to stand up and declare that they do not take ESG criteria into account, but how many actually move beyond ‘virtue signalling’?ESG advocates often argue that such investment policies and approaches make sense because ESG-focused funds outperform – but proving those results may be a red herring. Companies themselves are under increasing pressure – and rightly so – to take ESG issues seriously, but to do so may require a more detailed approach to analysing supply chains than headline-grabbing actions with questionable motivations. Frozen food company Iceland made headlines in April 2018 when it announced a ban on the use of all palm oil in its products by the end of 2018. It also produced an advertisement based on a shortened film from campaign group Greenpeace highlighting the detrimental impact of palm oil plantations on the environment, closing with the emotive phrase: “Dedicated to the 25 orang-utans we lose every day.”Was this the actions of an enlightened firm driven by the desire to ensure impeccable ESG credentials? Or was this just a cynical marketing strategy of virtue signalling guaranteed to hit the headlines and encourage the ethically minded to switch their weekly shopping to Iceland?center_img Credit: Bishnu SarangiA palm oil plantation in Karnataka, IndiaNot only does that provide valuable income to, in many cases, poor communities across the globe, it also encourages the growth of sustainable and ethical practices in agriculture and mining through the pressure that global consumer companies can apply to the companies in their supply chains.Ensuring that commodities are obtained from acceptable sources, not banning them, must be the key. Determining the nature of the sourcing of products may have been a problem in the past but is certainly not the case now.There are many organisations that have focused on looking at supply chains in detail and the required information is available online. Trase, for example, uses publicly available data to map the links between consumer countries via trading companies to the places of production in unprecedented detail. The results can be quite surprising.For ESG investing to succeed as a strategy, what is required is less of the virtue signalling and public posturing, and more real analysis of supply chains and decision-making based on encouraging behaviour by companies that is ethical, sustainable and fair to all their stakeholders.Rather than banning the use of palm oil – or, indeed, any other agricultural produce – the world would be better off if more attention was paid to global supply chains with entities involved in every step sharing the responsibility for placing commodity production on a more sustainable footing.last_img read more