2020 PRiMEtime in Review – Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (part 1 of 2)

Here on PRiMEtime, the first week of January is the time to summarize and celebrate all of the examples featured over the past year. A big thank you to all of you who contributed, shared, read and commented on PRiMEtime throughout 2020. Over the past year almost 200 different initiatives were featured here from over 90 different business schools in more than 30 different countries. While the pandemic clearly had an impact on the way that everyone works, it was inspiring to see how quickly schools not only adapted but took the opportunity to innovate and rethink the way they approach some of their sustainability related offerings. 

The year started with a series of posts highlighting the 2018-2019 PRME Champions, including new initiatives their schools were engaging in around the SDGs, their favourite SDG related resourceswhat advice they had for PRME signatories moving forwards. and what their new year resolutions were in relation to PRME. Their list of tips is even more relevant and important in the current reality, so I encourage you to have a read through them. Another post in this year’s opening series focused in on how schools are measuring impact when it comes to their organisation’s contributions to the SDGs

Reykjavik University shared their experiences hosting the Arctic Circle, an open democratic platform with participation from governments, organisations, corporations, universities, think tanks, environmental associations, indigenous communities and concerned cities that is the largest network of international dialogue on the Arctic. University Externado de Colombia is involved in a range of projects involving dozens of institutions nationally, regionally and globally which they shared in one post along with their thoughts on how schools can develop better partnerships. 

A few specific issues were highlighted throughout the year as special features. MODERN SLAVERY is an issue that while an increasing number of companies are actively engaged in eliminating, very few schools make mention of in relation to their engagement in PRME. To highlight some of the work being done, a special feature on Modern Slavery featured the University of Western Australia’s Modern Slavery Research Cluster as well as the work of the informal global PRME partnerships on Modern Slavery that involves the University of Leeds Business School among others.  Another post highlighted eight examples of how Signatories are tackling the topic of Modern Slavery in the community (Nottingham University Business School), through events (Copenhagen Business School), research (Schulich School of Business, Oxford Brookes Business School, University of St. Gallen), networks (Babson College), curriculum (University of Technology Sydney) and operations (Nottingham Trent University, Winchester Business School). The feature finished off with a list of 28 resources on modern slavery that can be used in the classroom. 

Another special feature posted around International Women’s Day (March 8th) highlighted how several schools are engaging in GENDER EQUALITY.  Munich Business School shared several ways that they are supporting and promoting women both on their campus and in the wider communityMonash University Malaysia shared how they are approaching gender equality on campus, in the curriculum, and throughout their community.  Eighteen more approaches were shared from 18 schools across the world (in a 3 part post) including Stockholm Business School’s faculty mentorship programme, a course on Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace at Ted Rogers School of Management and in the community at T A PAI Management Institute.

A major theme for PRiMEtime throughout 2020 was STUDENT ENGAGEMENT. Rather than focusing on how to engage students, these posts looked closer at how students themselves are driving what student engagement looks like and how schools can engage students in more substantive ways. Given how central students are to everything we do, not as many schools report on student engagement as you’d think. At Toulouse Business School in France, the student association focused on sustainable development is actively engaged in sensitizing students on campus, often through partnerships with local, national and international organisations. Queen’s Management School collaborated with the Northern Ireland Business and Human Rights Forum to develop an innovative programme that engages students in human rights issues and raises the profile of human rights in business. At IESEG in France, students in the Responsible Leaders Programme work directly with the administration and management team, taking initiative proposing projects and managing existing projects to embed sustainability into their school. A few examples of how schools are engaging their students were highlighted in this post in August including in the classroom, through partnerships, and on campus. Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics shared all the ways students are engaged in sustainability throughout their time on campus, including how the school’s logo was developed by a current marketing student. Gabelli Fordham School of Business shared their experiences creating a space focused on experiential learning that is both for students and influenced and created by students.  Swinburne Business School has been exploring how to engage students in the SDGs in their everyday lives through the use of the recently launched SA4SI platform.

Schools aren’t just engaging their students, but PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS as well, often several years before they even start thinking about business school. One post highlighted a dozen approaches being taken by different Signatories aimed at students from kindergarten all the way through high school.  An interdisciplinary team at Wellington School of Business and Government developed a new virtual reality tool designed to support sustainability education in secondary schools across the country. 

There has been an increase in schools reporting on HEALTH AND WELLBEING on campus (SDG 3) and several posts highlighted these initiatives. At Vivekanand Education Society in India puts a major focus on mental wellness and holistic health because not only do healthy students and staff make for better learners and teachers, but habits learnt in youth tend to last through adulthood.  The School of Economics and Business at University of Ljubljana shared their impressive list of initiatives put in place to ensure that students and staff have access to healthy lifestyle guidance and support including lectures, meal choices, and even an obligatory physical education course for first year undergraduates.  IESEG focuses on mindfulness and has developed a range of both academic and practice-oriented mindfulness courses for students and staff. 

 Click here for part 2.

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