Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

O’Toole to lead ethics program modeled after military training

rock rappeling

DU students rappel as part of the Compass program’s team-building course. PHOTO BY: Wayne Armstrong.

DU’s Daniels College of Business recently named James O’Toole, author of The Executive Compass(Oxford University Press, 1995), the inaugural Daniels Chair in Ethics. 

O’Toole will help lead the Daniels Compass, a new initiative within the College’s graduate business programs designed to provide students with the ethical foundation needed to make decisions in an interconnected global business environment. 

The Compass curriculum was inspired in part by the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division — soldiers who trained in the Colorado Rockies and fought in the Apennine mountains in Italy during WWII. At Camp Hale, soldiers rigorously trained in an environment that fostered creativity and innovation. They emerged as veterans who could both dream and execute, exhibiting the power of shared values and commitment to each other.

As part of the Compass program, every MBA student will take a three-day leadership and team-building course called Leading at the Edge where students will literally walk and climb in the 10th Division’s footsteps. In the process, they should gain insights into who they are, how they work under extreme conditions and what kind of leader they can be. 

So far, 330 students have completed Leading at the Edge sessions in September and October.

“With the launch of the Daniels Compass and the powerful addition of James O’Toole on our faculty, we intend to graduate students who have both an enlarged concept of business leadership and who are also empirically grounded in rigorous business disciplines,” says Daniels Interim Dean Bruce Hutton. “Our intent has always been that our students will contribute to their own advancement as well as that of their employer and to the well-being of others around the world.” 

O’Toole is a prolific author and former University Associates’ Chair of Management and executive director of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California. He was executive vice president of the Aspen Institute and managing director of the Booz Allen & Hamilton Strategic Leadership Center, and chair of the center’s academic board of advisers.

Read more about Leading at the Edge.

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