As of June 2014, 48 business schools in the UK and Ireland, out of a total number of around 110 in the region, have signed up to PRME. These schools have joined forces in creating the regional PRME Chapter UK & Ireland. In order to bring together their common experiences, inspire more action in their schools and encourage other schools in the region to implement PRME, they recently launched the Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME UK & Ireland Edition.
Seventeen business schools contributed to the guide, which is divided into three main areas: examining the values and mission for the school, developing centres and outreach initiatives embedding the values of PRME, and developing programmes in research and learning and teaching. Each case story focuses on a particular programme, project or activity that the institution has implemented, and provides an overview of the particular challenges faced, an explanation of the actions taken in relation to those challenges, what were the results, and advice and ideas for other signatories.
I spoke with Alan Murray from Winchester Business School, co-editor of the guide, about putting this collection together and their experiences and lessons learnt.
Why did the UK & Ireland Chapter decide to put together an inspirational guide?
As one of the first Established Chapters, and being conscious of our status as having one of the highest proportions regionally of PRME signatory schools, we wanted to put a regional spin on the PRME Inspirational Guides (see here editions 1 and 2). We also wanted to highlight some of the very innovative initiatives being undertaken in the UK and Ireland in the field of sustainability education and community involvement.
How did you put it together?
We have a good working relationship with the publishers, Greenleaf, having a number of individual members of the Chapter already part of editorial teams compiling edited editions on Poverty and Gender, as well as being authors with Greenleaf in their own right. Greenleaf was very supportive of the idea, and when the PRME office gave us their sanction, all that was left was to get the Chapter members in. Initially we put out a call, but followed that up with a theme at the first Chapter symposium, held at Winchester Business School in April 2014. At this meeting we hatched an ambitious plan to compile and edit the book in 4 months, to allow a launch at the British Academy of Management meeting in Belfast in September 2014. We asked for volunteers to be part of the editorial team and devised a schema to review and return chapters in double quick time. And we succeeded!
How was the response?
The response was very positive and we received more submissions than we expected given the time frame. You will see from the range of activities covered that some very exciting initiatives have been developed and schools were keen to inform the Chapter signatories and the wider UK and Ireland business school community of their endeavors.
Any advice for other Chapters that might be interested in doing the same?
Yes – allow more time! A good team of editors, all of whom are willing to commit time and effort is essential! The team at Greenleaf are brilliant and they can help sort out most issues.
What’s next now for the Chapter (related to how the guide will be used or more generally)?
We are going to send out a copy to the Dean of every school in the UK and Ireland that has not signed up to PRME, to showcase the activities of schools within our community and highlight the benefits to be gained being part of that community.
What you can expect to find in the Inspirational Guide
1. An examination of the values and mission for the school
Strathclyde Business School shares their experiences in creating their Management Development programme, intended to provide an intellectual and experiential spine to their undergraduate degrees. Newcastle University Business School discusses the PRME agenda and how it can add value to its stakeholders, as well as discussing their research agendas on gender equality and the PRME Working Group on Gender Equality.
2. Developing centres and outreach initiatives embedding the values of PRME
Lancaster University Management School shares their experiences re-launching their Leadership Centre. Winchester Business School and University of Huddersfield Business School both explore their lessons learnt around creating new centres focused on sustainability related topics, and integrating PRME into their programmes and centres.
Kemmy School of Business shares their experiences in establishing both a centre as well as a new programme on Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. Bournemouth University Business School and Hertfordshire Business School share their approaches to engaging students in local projects through experiential learning. Finally, Glasgow Caledonian University shares their work on how to tackle the issue of widening access to higher education.
3. Developing programmes in research and learning, and teaching
Coventry University Business School, UCD School of Business, Winchester University, and Bradford University School of Management all share their diverse experiences in developing new modules in research and learning, and teaching. University of Huddersfield Business School outlines how they use group work to improve critical thinking skills, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School shares how they use field trips to bring their classroom messages across, and Durham University Business School challenges students to use their skills in real-life situations. Henley Business School presents their MA in Leadership, which uses innovative teaching technologies, and Aston’s Business School shares lessons from developing its MSc in Social Responsibility and Sustainability. Glasgow Caledonian University outlines how they reviewed their curriculum to reflect PRME values.