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On ethics: Colleen Dorsey, JD

Director, Organizational Ethics & Compliance, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

An interview by Adam Turteltaub CHC, CCEP, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & International Programs, Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics & Health Care Compliance Association.

AT: First, can you give us an overview of the program at St. Thomas?

CD: The Organizational Ethics and Compliance (OEC) Program offers graduate degrees in ethics and compliance resulting in a master’s of studies in law (MSL), a concentration with a juris doctorate (JD) degree, or a master of laws (LLM) in compliance. The program includes six graduate degree tracks:

  • On-campus master’s degree (MSL)

  • Online master’s degree

  • On-campus LLM degree

  • Online LLM degree

  • JD/LLM dual degree

  • JD with concentration

The MSL and LLM degrees are the only AACSB International accredited graduate degrees in ethics and compliance in the nation.

AT: It’s great that there are students eager to study compliance and ethics. What is driving their interest in the field?

CD: I have found a few drivers for the interest in this field. First, professionals see and understand the growth in jobs in this field. If you do a typical search on the SCCE job board, LinkedIn, Indeed.com, or any other search engine, you can easily pull up several great openings all over the world. For those that are already working in compliance and ethics, the graduate degree (whether an MSL or LLM) offers them an opportunity to gain a master’s degree education in their chosen field—something that generally was not available until just the last few years. For those just entering the field, including JDs, they understand that a concentration or an LLM in organizational ethics and compliance sets them apart and gives them a leg up on others for compliance and ethics positions. Many of the JDs know going into law school that they do not want to necessarily practice law in the traditional sense, so the concentration or LLM provides them an alternative pathway to use their law degree.

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