Regardless of whether you are just starting out to mainstream sustainability into your school and curriculum or have been doing so for some time already, one of the major challenges is how to engage your faculty. The experience by many schools has been that, at the beginning, these topics are usually accepted by a few actors. The challenge is both how to turn these first few interested individuals into active participants and how to get all staff more engaged.
Launched atPRME’s 3rd Global Forum at Rio+20 in June, the Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME: Placing sustainability at the heart of management education provides a range of case studies showing how schools are embedding sustainability into their schools and curricula, including how to actively engage faculty.
Bentley University in the US began by preaching to the choir, starting with those faculty across the institutions who were already committed to sustainability and responsible leadership. The basic strategy employed began with one-on-one conversations with key players across campus and gradually built to one-on-two, one-on-three, two-on-two, and so forth. Finally, the school focused on developing and supporting faculty with the intent of “seeding” every department on campus with faculty who would develop material for their courses and encourage their colleagues to do the same.
At Deusto Business School in Spain, the dean brought all faculty together to discuss the importance of these issues for the school moving forward and to provide them with a space to voice any concerns, opinions, or interest in these topics. From there, they were provided with a range of faculty development programmes and seminars on the topics of sustainability, organised by department, to provide them with the tools and knowledge to be able to incorporate sustainability and responsible leadership into their individual courses.
The University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur in Switzerland noted in their case study that a major step for them in the serious implementation of these topics was the installation of an open group of committed faculty and staff. Around twelve members, representing all University departments in equal measure, elected a steering committee consisting of four faculty members. This team has since gained formal appreciation from the University’s board, including the necessary financial resources for the next three years to continue to roll out PRME-related activities.
Ashridge Business School in the UK recognised the need to connect interested faculty and wider staff into an informal learning network, which includes guest speakers and sharing each other’s experiences of innovation. This informal work has been possible because of the recruitment and development of faculty and staff sustainability specialists and designing their roles to give them time to develop and coach others.
The University of Dubai in the UAE created awareness among students and staff by posting permanent posters with the Six Principles of PRME in the reception lobby of both of their campuses. This is part of an awareness campaign conducted every semester with their students and faculty to ensure not only their awareness of PRME but the importance of these issues to the schools.
The advice from Consuelo Garcíía de la Torre, Professor of Management and Marketing, at EGADE in Mexico is to, “show both professors and students how responsible and ethical management can create value for business and can make them achieve sustainability. If you can achieve that, the students and the faculty will believe in the management principles, not just as an ethical behavior, but as an enhancer for performance.”
The Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME: Placing sustainability at the heart of management education, is available online.