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Education

Education chair Heather Ranson

Opening doors for educators

Part of CSSI's mandate is to support the Gustavson faculty in updating or expanding their current materials. There is a wealth of readings, cases and guest speakers that bridge sustainability and marketing, accounting, operations, finance and human resources. We offer easy access to such resources, as well as broader sessions on many facets of sustainability.

In Gustavson's classrooms

 

Faculty

Faculty

Many of Gustavson's faculty members have specific and active involvement in teaching and researching social and/or environmental issues. For example:

Dr. Monika Winn – Sustainability and organizational change; business, biodiversity and strategic fit strategies; corporate adaptation to climate change; managing stakeholder conflicts; social-to-strategic issue transformation

Dr. Ana Maria Peredo – Globalization and sustainable global response; rural poverty and development; alternative business models with an emphasis on equity, effectiveness and democracy; Indigenous peoples and development issues

Dr. Angela Downey – Health promotion

National Aboriginal Economic Development Chair: Judith Sayers - in collaboration with leaders from Aboriginal communities, business and government, Professor Sayers advances and shares knowledge of best business practices, economic enablers, and institutional mechanisms to foster Aboriginal economic development across Canada.

Dr. Josh Ault – Global poverty; commercial microfinance

Dr. Rebecca Grant – Pedagogical tools for social innovation

Mr. Robin Dyke – Pedagogy for social innovation

Dr. Aegean Leung – Social entrepreneurship

Dr. Richard Wolfe – Corporate social responsibility in professional sports

Dr. Brock Smith - Opportunities from climate change

Dr. Ken Thornicroft - gender equity in severance settlements

Dr. Matt Murphy - stakeholder relations and human rights

Dr. Mary-Yoko Brannen - impacts of growing bicultural workforce on business

Dr. Uzay Damali - application of lean practices to health care; patient education and training

Dr. Enrico Secchi – supply chain transparency in the food industry

Required courses

COM 362 (Business and Sustainability) and MBA 514 (Business and Sustainability), both required courses in our BCom and MBA programs, emphasize the business case for sustainability.

COM 362, developed by Dr. Monika Winn and Dr. Lorinda Rowledge, received Honorable Mention for the 2010 Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business Curricula awarded by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. In this course, students examine some of the major social, ecological, political, and economic forces pressuring business to question existing, more traditional, approaches to operating. They become familiar with how diverse companies across multiple sectors are responding to these forces and acquire concepts, tools and frameworks that are used by business as they incorporate social and environmental sustainability into strategy and operations.

Electives

Electives

IB 405 (Sustainable Communities) critically examines the global landscape in which business operates, with attention to social, political, economic and cultural issues, and the role that business might play in developing sustainable local societies.

COM 450 (Corporate Relations and Responsibilities) emphasizes the need to operate honestly and ethically while remaining profitable and competitive.

COM 400 (Strategic Management) and MBA 550 (Strategic Analysis and Action) students spend at least one three-hour session studying ethics and corporate social responsibility as they relate to strategy formulation.

COM 405 students select from a menu of possible self-directed activities. Among its eight categories is one devoted to sustainability and community enhancement. In 2011, its inaugural year, almost 50 per cent of COM 405 students chose the Sustainability and Community Enhancement unit. They'll participate in the Green Business Careers workshop, the Sustainability Club, a sustainability networking group, a LifePilot workshop, and/or create a Personal Sustainability Action Plan, among many other possibilities.

Specializations

Specializations

The entrepreneurship specialization includes sessions on social entrepreneurship and sustainable entrepreneurship (each three hours) as well as a simulation of implementing sustainable practices in a company.

"International business (IB) courses provide ongoing chances for students to confront their own ethics," says Professor Joshua Ault.

Amongst their peers in a classroom, they wrestle with these questions: In an environment where government regulations and social norms may not provide guidance, what are you willing to do to increase profits? Will you use sweatshops? Pollute the environment? Kill endangered species? Pay bribes? Expose employees to hazardous situations?

"In my debates, I always use a case that (a) teaches an IB topic such as culture, global financial systems, etc., and (b) presents the students with an ethical dilemma, such as Nike sweatshops, Shell in Nigeria, or Fair Trade Coffee," Dr. Ault explains. "Students constantly ask themselves: What kind of manager do I want to be?

"My hope is that if they make this decision here in the classroom, it will be less of a question when they face it in the real world."

PhD program

PhD program

BUSI 604 – Seminar in Global Issues of Business Sustainability

Beyond Gustavson's classrooms

RBC Case Competition

RBC Case Competition

An internal case competition is held for all BCom students each spring and at least one case specifically deals with a social or environmental issue. For instance, the 2011 competition called for students to analyze a business opportunity with a composting company. For other cases, students are expected to integrate a sustainable/socially responsible perspective into their analyses, and are judged accordingly.

Green Business Careers Workshop

Green Business Careers Workshop

For undergraduate students, this interactive session details the growing environmental career labour market in Canada. Also included are job-search and job-readiness resources, and networking opportunities for business students interested in pursuing a career that integrates environmental sustainability and business. 

BCom Sustainability Challenge

BCom Sustainability Challenge

During orientation week, 240 students work in groups, each one including an incoming exchange student. In 24 hours, every team develops an idea for a business oriented toward sustainability or corporate social responsibility in the exchange student’s country and then pitches the idea, using only a poster board, to a panel of judges.

Co-op work terms

Co-op work terms

Mandatory co-op terms might include paid work for a company involved with or incorporating sustainability in its mandate, such as The Good Planet Technical Operations Internship.

Student activities

Sustainability Club

Sustainability Club

Active, proactive and creative, Gustavson’s student-driven Sustainability Club manages a range of successful projects. For example:

In 2011 they created the largest Carrotmob event in North America – the second largest in the world! Students promoted a local pub and the manager committed a proportion of the day’s profits toward helping the business, in its historic building, be more sustainable. Gustavson’s Carrotmob raised $8068.63 from patrons, which the pub matched for a total of just over $16,000 going to upgrades.

In 2010, student volunteers created and maintained a composting program in their classroom building, keeping compostable material like food waste and paper towels out of landfill. It was so successful that university administration is considering including the system in its regular operations.

Caroline Tkatschow, Marylene Croteau, Michael Doyle and Linsi Comfort participated in the World Partnership Walk in 2011, helping to raise money as well as providing a no-waste solution for the event. In partnership with ReFUSE, the team had eight stations with compost, plastics, and garbage bins throughout the Beacon Hill Park location. Because food scraps were composted and plastics and drink boxes recycled, there was very little garbage.

The Sustainability Club ensured environmental sustainability at Commerce Students’ Society events by providing compost bins for leftover food and compostable utensils and plates, and recycling bins for drink boxes.

Commerce Students’ Society

Commerce Students’ Society

The Runway of Fame fashion show raised $3800 for the United Way of Victoria.

Organized by a fourth-year BCom student, the day-long interactive Blended Bottom Line forum on social entrepreneurship included a panel of four social entrepreneurs and workshops to raise awareness of and participation in social entrepreneurship.

Pitch It, Plan it contests

Pitch It, Plan it contests

David Lin and Mike DoyleIn 2011, business students David Lin and Mike Doyle took home $1500 and the award for Best Social Entrepreneurship Business Plan category of Gustavson’s campus-wide entrepreneurship Plan It contest. The men had a quarter of an hour to explain to judges their Coffee Bean Bug business plan to reduce water and waste in the processing of coffee beans.

The Plan It award followed Lin’s solo Pitch It win, another campus-wide competition in which he had only two minutes to wow the judges with the concept.

Exchange blog

Exchange blog

In 2011, students launched a new blog to post sustainability-related thoughts, experiences and photos while studying at Gustavson’s partner universities around the world.

Sustainable events checklist

Together, faculty member Heather Ranson and then-third-year BCom student Linsi Comfort created a checklist for planning and implementing sustainable events. The checklist is available on the Commerce Students’ Society website for anyone – and everyone! – to use.

Exchange photo contest

Exchange photo contest

A new category for the exchange photo contest opened up in 2010 and eight students entered sustainability/social responsibility images from their 2010/11 exchange trips.

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