Accounting professor says BYU-Hawaii faculty have social responsibilities: citizenship, scholarship, and teaching

Written by: 
Hyram Yarbro

Jennifer Chen, department chair and associate professor of accounting, said BYU-Hawaii faculty and staff should consider the responsibility and social obligations they should have as university employees at the Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) forum on Thursday, Mar. 9 titled “Corporate Social Responsibility: Why and Why Not?”

Chen started the forum by introducing the concept of corporations, defining them as “profit business corporations, or entities.”

Connecting social responsibility with the audience, Chen asked, “What is our social responsibility as a university faculty?” Chen looked for answers associated with the official Hiring, Rank and Status Policy at BYUH.

After listening to a few responses, Chen outlined the categories faculty should follow, which are also listed in the Hiring, Rank and Status Policy: Citizenship, Scholarship, and Teaching.

Chen said, “We have Citizenship, which means we need to be a good citizen for our university community. We do this by participating in the community, in the forums, sharing information, and providing opportunities.

“Scholarship is the key difference between a high school teacher and a university professor. When you have the title of ‘professor,’ society anticipates that you not only teach but do research. Let’s do research before we take the action. Overall, we all have a social responsibility to make a better world for everybody.

“For Teaching, Joseph Smith said, ‘I teach [church members] correct principles and let them govern themselves.’ [...] We need to teach students vision, what they can do, principles, how they can build on what they learn here, and the commandments.”

As the forum continued, audience members debated the motives behind social responsibility. Some professors and students said there are potential economic motives to “charitable donations” and “service work” that corporations do. Others said they felt corporations did charitable work out of responsibility and care for the community.

Amy Harper, a special instructor in the English Language Teaching (ELT) Department, said, “It’s interesting to hear different perspectives as you sit in a forum like that. [Chen] shared her research and her perspective but also allowed us to participate in a conversation about it.”

Brent White, assistant professor of accounting, said corporate responsibility has evolved ever since he was in college. “When I was in school, things were much more about making money and profit. Millennials are looking at the world very differently. Corporate responsibility is more of a focus today, especially from the [millennial] generation who value it much more.”

Harper said, “I like the idea of corporate social responsibility. As a teacher, I feel like it is part of my responsibility to empower and guide my students to help make them better citizens of their own countries and communities.

“I’m really passionate about empowerment, finding business opportunities, and independence for individuals but also helping students realize that their impact matters. The education that they receive here shouldn’t just be for them and their family but should go beyond that to their community.”

Chen said, “I appreciate the opportunity I had to share my research with the school because sometimes the faculty are too busy with teaching and other responsibilities. We don’t always have time to sit down and discuss something that we spent a lot of time studying. I really enjoyed [the forum’s] interaction.”

Date Published: 
Monday, March 20, 2017
Last Edited: 
Monday, March 20, 2017

Jennifer Chen, department chair and associate professor of accounting, said BYU-Hawaii faculty and staff should consider the responsibility and social obligations they should have as university employees at the Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) forum on Thursday, Mar. 9 titled “Corporate Social Responsibility: Why and Why Not?”

Chen started the forum by introducing the concept of corporations, defining them as “profit business corporations, or entities.”

Connecting social responsibility with the audience, Chen asked, “What is our social responsibility as a university faculty?” Chen looked for answers associated with the official Hiring, Rank and Status Policy at BYUH.

After listening to a few responses, Chen outlined the categories faculty should follow, which are also listed in the Hiring, Rank and Status Policy: Citizenship, Scholarship, and Teaching.

Chen said, “We have Citizenship, which means we need to be a good citizen for our university community. We do this by participating in the community, in the forums, sharing information, and providing opportunities.

“Scholarship is the key difference between a high school teacher and a university professor. When you have the title of ‘professor,’ society anticipates that you not only teach but do research. Let’s do research before we take the action. Overall, we all have a social responsibility to make a better world for everybody.

“For Teaching, Joseph Smith said, ‘I teach [church members] correct principles and let them govern themselves.’ [...] We need to teach students vision, what they can do, principles, how they can build on what they learn here, and the commandments.”

As the forum continued, audience members debated the motives behind social responsibility. Some professors and students said there are potential economic motives to “charitable donations” and “service work” that corporations do. Others said they felt corporations did charitable work out of responsibility and care for the community.

Amy Harper, a special instructor in the English Language Teaching (ELT) Department, said, “It’s interesting to hear different perspectives as you sit in a forum like that. [Chen] shared her research and her perspective but also allowed us to participate in a conversation about it.”

Brent White, assistant professor of accounting, said corporate responsibility has evolved ever since he was in college. “When I was in school, things were much more about making money and profit. Millennials are looking at the world very differently. Corporate responsibility is more of a focus today, especially from the [millennial] generation who value it much more.”

Harper said, “I like the idea of corporate social responsibility. As a teacher, I feel like it is part of my responsibility to empower and guide my students to help make them better citizens of their own countries and communities.

“I’m really passionate about empowerment, finding business opportunities, and independence for individuals but also helping students realize that their impact matters. The education that they receive here shouldn’t just be for them and their family but should go beyond that to their community.”

Chen said, “I appreciate the opportunity I had to share my research with the school because sometimes the faculty are too busy with teaching and other responsibilities. We don’t always have time to sit down and discuss something that we spent a lot of time studying. I really enjoyed [the forum’s] interaction.”