Karen Markel

Earlier this month, we joined virtually as a community to discuss the state of the local, state and national economies at the 24th annual UCCS Economic Forum. In partnership with the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, we hosted a combined forum and state of small business event to offer important perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 and how we can work together as a community moving forward. 

As the forum’s director, Dr. Tatiana Bailey, mentioned in her presentation, “A crisis, I think, is a terrible thing to waste; it can create opportunity.”

Today’s challenges require us to work together in new ways. In the College of Business, we are focusing on the future, whether in the development of business professionals or through research to solve contemporary challenges. College of Business students will contribute to your organizations and build our community’s future. The college aims to serve as a resource and partner in shaping this workforce and supporting your business success.  

As I listened to the speakers during the Economic Forum, it became apparent that the pandemic has permeated not just the economy, but all of us as individuals. We all are experiencing new relationships with technology, both personally and professionally. As a new member of the community, I have prioritized more intentional conversations as I meet with colleagues, and in many ways, the pandemic has helped me form deeper connections through virtual one-on-one conversations. Like many of us, I am eager to return to broader community engagement in a face-to-face manner, but in the meantime, I appreciate the ability to learn more deeply from those I have met through virtual meetings.

During the forum, Dave Nelsen, president of  Dialog Consulting Group, discussed the exponential power of technology and how it will continue to affect industries across the U.S. Nelsen urged us to plan for the implications and opportunities in technology and discussed how we can prepare for rapidly changing workforce needs. The College of Business has a history of innovating and the pandemic is no exception. Courses were quickly moved online last spring and as the need for remote learning persists, we continue to develop engaging virtual experiences for our students. Last month, we hosted our first Virtual Career Networking Night to make sure we continue to play a strong role in employment connections, as well as provide our students with a platform to practice their networking skills and learn about career opportunities.

We also have a responsibility to consider the ethical implications of technological advancements. On Oct. 2, the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program held its annual Ethics Summit to discuss the topic “Tackling Ethics in Emerging Technologies.” UCCS engaged in virtual discussions with students, faculty and business leaders from 12 other universities to promote the value of principles-based ethics education both in our classrooms and the business world. 

Attendees heard keynote presentations from a variety of leaders in cybersecurity and technology. One interesting takeaway from the Summit surrounded the question, “Is it appropriate even if it’s possible?” This is the root of all ethical dilemmas. As we grow and evolve as business leaders, it is essential that we keep ethics central to our decision-making processes. 

It was wonderful to see our community come together this month to discuss the economic and ethical future of business in our region. We were fortunate to have Crystal LaTier, economic development executive director at El Paso County, at both the UCCS Economic Forum and the Ethics Summit. After the events, she shared her insight on the relationship between the College of Business and the community.

“The UCCS College of Business continues to have a strong and vital relationship with economic development partners in the region. El Paso County appreciates the valued partnership which ensures that holistic strategic planning, informed data collection and evaluation and high standards of ethics are not only principles used for educating our UCCS student body, but also utilized on collaborative initiatives throughout the region. This year the UCCS Economic Forum and State of Small Business and the Daniels Fund Ethics Summit further showcased the exemplary principles and partnerships that help build our region’s tremendous economic development ecosystem.”

To watch the 2020 UCCS Economic Forum and State of Small Business, visit uccseconomicforum.com. If you would like to get involved with the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program or one of our College of Business programs, I encourage you to contact Dr. Meghan Stidd at mstidd@uccs.edu

As Colorado Springs evolves, we will deliver the next generation of ethical and accomplished professionals, skilled to utilize and pivot as technology emerges.  

Karen Markel is the dean of the UCCS College of Business.