Executive Doctorate

BenU’s Values-Driven Leadership program helps business execs answer demand for greater social responsibility

Center for Values-Driven Leadership Doctoral Program, Leadership, Press Release, Values-Driven Leaders


Date:      Friday, April 1, 2016

Contact: Ryan Blackburn (630) 829-6070 or Elliott Peppers at (630) 829-6079

Benedictine Doctoral Program Trains Executives to Help Business & Society Flourish

Lisle, Illinois ~ The coffee retail giant Starbucks made headlines recently when it announced a plan to donate 100 percent of unused food from its stores to area food banks, responding to a call from the federal government to cut the country’s food waste (estimated at 70 billion pounds a year) in half by 2030.

It’s a decision that marks a growing trend among corporate leaders to look at innovative ways they can utilize the talents of their organizations to benefit all of society, not just their customer base.

Doing so not only demonstrates a company’s core values, but builds brand awareness and loyalty among consumers. That can have a measurable impact on the bottom line of a business and the communities in which it operates, according to Jim Ludema, Ph.D., co-founder and director of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University.

“Business exists to serve society, and can do it better and faster than anyone else when guided by values-driven leaders,” Ludema said. “Now more than ever, understanding the business case for values-driven leadership, how it works at its best, and how to develop it at every level of our organizations is an urgent and exciting global imperative.”

Benedictine’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership offers research, education and outreach opportunities to help business leaders develop themselves and others, build flourishing companies, and transform business and society. It is a gathering place where top executives, entrepreneurs and thought leaders come together to create innovative, research-based strategies that lead to improved financial performance and thriving businesses, communities and societies.

The CVDL is currently accepting applicants for the research-driven Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and practice-oriented Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) programs in Values-Driven Leadership for a March 30, 2017 start date. Professionals who miss the application deadline of November 1, 2016, will not have another chance to begin the Lisle, Ill.-based program until April 2018.

The program integrates three fields of study – global leadership, strategic change and corporate sustainability – to equip senior executives with the knowledge and skills needed to lead strategically at the intersection of business and society.

John Heiser, president and chief operating officer of Magnetrol International, an industrial liquid level and flow control instrumentation manufacturer with eight manufacturing facilities and nine direct sales offices in 11 countries, is a current doctoral candidate at Benedictine. He said the program has enlightened him to the different dimensions of leadership.

“I’ve never been as fulfilled in my career as I am right now, and the program is a big part of that,” Heiser said.

In addition to the program’s academic rigor and access to the newest, most up-to-date research data available, students benefit from a unique class format that allows the same group of senior-level executives to progress through each course together and gain insights from visiting scholars who are leaders in the field.

“My thinking is constantly being stretched by the backgrounds of other professionals in the program, as well as the caliber of the faculty and visiting scholars,” said doctoral candidate Barbara Steel, a manager at the audit, consulting tax and advisory services firm Deloitte. “This program is rigorous – it takes a real commitment – but what we are learning in the field of leadership stretches across all the work I do.”

The program is designed to be completed in three years, and is tailored to meet the exacting standards and demanding schedules of senior leaders who work full-time. Classes are held once a month on weekends and during an annual eight-day intensive session. The University’s convenient location within a short drive of Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports accommodates those who commute from around the world.

For more information about the CVDL and the Ph.D./D.B.A. programs in Values-Driven Leadership – including curriculum, faculty, current students and graduates – visit cvdl.org/doctorate or call (630) 829-6225. For a listing of upcoming virtual and on-campus open house events, visit cvdl.org/openhouse.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, and the University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area.

Previous ArticleNext Article