In order to assist students and staff in engaging in the Sustainable Development Goals and PRME more broadly, Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Canada launched the Sobey School PRME Library, a curated online collection of educational resources related to ethics, sustainably, social and environmental issues within and beyond business. I spoke with Georgia Atkin, newly appointed PRME Coordinator at Sobey School, about this exciting project.
What is the Sobey School PRME Library?
The Sobey School PRME Library is an online collection of links to over 500 PRME teaching resources: books, journal articles, videos, teaching games, simulations, case studies, student projects, newsfeeds, pedagogical research and more. It was developed in partnership with the Patrick Power Library, using the Springshare LibGuides platform. We’ve organized resources according to business school departments and discipline-specific subtopics, and every item is labeled with the relevant SDGs. Due to copyright restrictions, the full text of certain resources (e.g. books and journals) is only directly available to Saint Mary’s University users, but references and bibliographic information are accessible to all.
Why did you decide to put together these resources?
We wanted to develop a tool that would empower educators to find the materials they needed to incorporate PRME and the SDGs into their coursework. The PRME Library collection was made for that purpose, with the knowledge that many faculty and educators struggle with busy schedules and limited time for scouring the vast numbers of resources available.
What has been the response?
It’s a little too soon for us to know the full impact of the PRME Library, but most of the early feedback has been positive. We had over 1200 online views in the first month! I’m excited to see what happens as the project develops further. We strongly encourage users to share their thoughts and experiences with us, and I can be contacted directly via the ‘Email Me’ button under my photo on the bottom left of the PRME Library homepage.
We introduced the PRME Library to new faculty members at the Sobey School recently, and they responded with interest and excitement. I’m hopeful that the collection will inspire faculty and other educators to add something new to their teaching style and content. I have also been contacted by outside organizations and institutions who are responding positively to having their work featured in the collection, and I think this project will help create stronger relationships between the Sobey School and other members of the PRME community.
What are some of your favourite resources on the site, anything you want to highlight?
It’s tough to choose a favourite, but I’m personally excited by resources such as WikiRate, AIM2Flourish, and Sourcemap, which all encourage users to actively engage with real-life companies and the SDGs. I have also located a number of thought-provoking books, papers, cases and videos on the topic of Indigenous issues and Indigenous leadership in business, and users can find these items across the different business discipline sections of the PRME Library. I’m eager to see these resources grow, and I welcome suggestions for more teaching materials focused on business and Indigenous peoples.
One final highlight is our PRME Newsfeeds page, which I created by locating PRME-related RSS feeds from almost a dozen business news publications. These RSS feeds are updated automatically every day, providing users with current headlines relating to business and ethical, social and environmental issues.
What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar in place or looking to use yours?
For other schools thinking of developing a similar collection, I would advise consulting with faculty first to learn what types of resources they might find most helpful. I received lots of great content suggestions from Sobey School faculty during the initial development of the collection, and this input will continue to have an impact on how the project develops over time.
What’s next for the initiative?
The collection will continue growing as new resources become available. Users are welcome to submit resource suggestions using the “Suggest a new PRME resource” online form. I’ve just created a ‘What’s New?’ page, where visitors can check to see a list of all the latest additions to the collection.
How else is Sobey engaging in the SDGs?
In April 2016, the Sobey School held a faculty session on PRME and the SDGs. Faculty members in attendance made a commitment to incorporate some SDGs in their courses the following year. When I was hired as PRME Coordinator in the summer of 2017, I completed follow-up interviews with faculty, assessing the progress made on their SDG commitments and asking them about their personal challenges and successes. This fall, the school began organizing PRME Lunch & Learn sessions where both new and experienced faculty can come together to talk about PRME and the SDGs.
The Sobey School has a number of other projects planned. I just sent out a special PRME-themed campus newsletter for faculty and staff, with the goal of highlighting all the great work and research happening on campus, and the newsletter received a very positive response. We have plans for a research project that will focus on mapping the different interactions between SDGs, and the Sobey School is investigating ways of engaging the broader Saint Mary’s University community in discussions of sustainability and the SDGs.