EMBA Faculty Feature: Judge Frank Sullivan, Eighth Judicial District Court Judge - EMBA 702 Laws, Regulation and Ethics

Oct. 27, 2018

Of all the wonderful experiences awaiting UNLV Executive MBA students, one of the last things they expect is Judge Frank Sullivan to break into song and dance during his EMBA “Laws, Regulations and Ethics” course.

Sullivan uses song, often in the form of rapping, as a mnemonic device to help EMBA students remember the basics of such law tenets as torts and contracts. But, he doesn’t do a solo show. Sullivan calls on cohort members to shed their inhibitions and sing along individually or as a group.

Soon, however, class discussion turns to the seriousness of ethics in business. “If there is one thing I want EMBA students to take away from my class, it’s that ethics and the bottom line aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Sullivan. “These students are the next C-level executives. Hopefully they leave the EMBA program with ethical principles that act as a compass to help them navigate future challenges.”

The heart of Sullivan’s course draws a parallel between the viability of business endeavors with the necessity of ethical decision-making in order to succeed. Simply put, Sullivan said, “Not including ethics in everyday decisions leads to a business model that is not sustainable. To be successful in business, you need to collaborate and earn the respect of others. If your decisions or behavior is unethical, you lose other’s trust, which has the potential to end your career and bring down your business enterprises.”

For many EMBA students, the course may be the first time they have been given the opportunity to delve into a discussion on ethics in business. Sullivan observes that the classroom setting can make students more comfortable talking about topics that might otherwise be awkward. “The chance to talk in depth about ethics also reveals that not everyone shares your own views. The person who thinks that the bottom line is all that matters may discover that not everyone thinks that way. A discussion on ethics gives individuals the chance to voice their own values, which makes it easier to speak up about injustice in the workplace.”

Sullivan has been teaching in the UNLV EMBA program for five years. He is also an adjunct professor with the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law where he currently teaches “Domestic Violence and the Law.” But, around campus, Sullivan is best known for his fervent Rebel support. “I never miss a  game,” said Sullivan.

When Sullivan isn’t teaching, he is a Juvenile Court Judge presiding over child welfare cases involving abused and neglected children. “Every day in my courtroom I see terrible things. Teaching is my outlet,” he said.

Sullivan has served the needs of children and their families for more than twenty years as a Juvenile Court Judge, Family Court Judge, Domestic Violence Commissioner and Juvenile Hearing Master. He is  committed to ensuring that every child in the child welfare system achieves permanency in a timely manner through placement in a loving, nurturing and stable home environment.

Among his many awards are the Judicial Excellence Award from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada; the Open Your Heart Award from the Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, and the Peacemaker of the Year Award from the Mediators of Southern Nevada. Sullivan earned his law degree from DePaul University School of Law in Chicago.