2016 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 1)

It is once again it’s time for PRiMEtime’s year-end review. 2016 was another exciting year with a lot of innovative new initiatives and approaches at business schools around the world embedding responsible leadership and sustainability into their programmes. PRiMEtime provides an extensive and growing database of examples from schools around the world on how to embed sustainability, ethics and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into management education as well as tips on how to move forward.

This year, 60 new articles were posted featuring over 143 examples from more than 65 schools in 38 countries. In this 2-part year-end post we review the examples featured this year, organized roughly around the SDGs, and what we have to look forward to next year. (Click on the links to read the full article).

SDG1SDG2SDG3The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Business School and the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, call the Wellness Clinic. It provides preventive care programmes designed, promoted, administered and implemented by students. IEDC-Bled School of Management partnered with members of the UN Global Compact Local Slovenia to organize workshops around the theme of “Health promotion in the workplace as part of the corporate social responsibility and sustainable business development’.

For one week in March, EADA Business School’s campus transforms into a model refugee course where students taking the Managing Humanitarian Emergencies elective learn about the main components required to respond to humanitarian emergencies and extreme situations in general.

 

SDG4

La Trobe Business School (Australia), ISAE (Brazil), Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland) founded CR3+ Network, a new program that provides a supportive platform to build international collaboration and enables the four schools to work together to build capacity in responsible management education. In the USA, Western Michigan University (USA) partnered with Christ University in Bagalore in India to create an experiential experience to engage students in sustainability discussions in India. Reutlingen University in Germany shared their experiences with the Ethikum Certificate awarded to students who complete a number of special experiences and courses during their time at university. Hult International Business School shared their experiences integrating the SDGs into the core Business and Global Society course. Hult International Business School and Ashridge Business School also shared their experiences integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into their PRME Sharing Information on Progress Report. The University of St. Gallen and oikos work together to offer the PhD Fellowship Programme, a unique opportunity to support international PhD students writing their thesis on sustainability in economics or management.

PRiMEtime also explored a range of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic. A series of posts provided an overview of the MOOCs available in the Spring (Part 1 and Part 2) and summer (Part 1 and Part 2).

 

SDG5

The American University of Beirut’s University for Senior Programme aims to redefine the role of older people in society by providing them opportunities to remain intellectually challenged and socially connected through a range of lectures, study groups, educational travel programmes, campus life and intergenerational activities. The American University of Beirut also paired up with Citi to provide crucial support and mentoring for female entrepreneurs in Lebanon and the MENA region with the goal of increasing their numbers significantly. Altis Postgraduate School of Business and Society in Italy introduced us to E4Impact, a special programme aimed at training a new class of African leaders who will be able to create jobs in the sustainability sector in their country.

 

SDG6SDG7

Ryerson University (Canada) designed a unique interdisciplinary programme that brings together faculty from all of the university’s six department called the Environmental Applied Science and Management (EnSciMan) with a focus on environmental management. In Italy, the University of Bologna’s Launch Pad aims to leverage the know-how of the hundreds of PhDs and post-docs studying at the university to facilitate its transformation into valuable products and services, many focused on social and environmental topics. PRiMEtime also looked at a range of global student networks engaged in sustainability that are active within and across business schools.

 

SDG8

Antwerp Management School’s ID@Work research programme aims to support organisations in attracting, developing and retaining employees with an intellectual disability. The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience at the University of Wollongong is an educational programme that supports Indigenous students through high school and into university, employment or further education. Also in Australia, Deakin University has been exploring how to encourage and train more Indigenous Australians to become accountants (currently of the more than 180,000 Australian professional accounting body members, only 30 identify as Indigenous). The Northwest Aboriginal Canadians Entrepreneurs Programme at the University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business is a partnership between several organisations including regional and provision government to offer first class entrepreneurial learning to the Indigenous people of Northwest British Columbia with the aim to enhance the self sufficiency and full economic participation of Indigenous people

Developing Future Public Sector Leaders – International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 10.32.18

August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, a day to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous populations. This is particularly relevant this year as the theme for 2016 is “Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Education”.

In June we featured examples from schools across Australia, Canada and New Zealand and the work that they are doing to engage Indigenous students and promote Indigenous businesses including an Aboriginal EMBA at Beedie School of Business; a programme to support Indigenous Entrepreneurs at Gustavson School of Business; the Indigenous Programmes Unit at University of New South Wales; contextualizing the MBA with an Indigenous focus at the University of Waikato; promoting accounting as a career choice with Indigenous students at Deaken University; and mentoring a new generation of Indigenous leaders at University of Wollongong.

Here we introduce another innovative programme focused on developing future Indigenous business leaders, La Trobe Business School in Australia’s partnership to develop future leaders in the Public sector. I spoke with Dr Suzanne Young, Head of the Department of Management and Marketing and Dr Geraldine Kennett, Professor of Practice, Department of Management & Marketing about their new programme.

What is the programme for public servants (provide an overview)

La Trobe Business School developed a new Graduate Certificate in Management (Public Sector) in partnership with the Institute of Public Administration of Australia (IPAA), and in consultation with the IPAA Indigenous Advisory Committee. Initially enrolling 32 Indigenous public servants, the course has now expanded to be a combination of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous public sector professionals learning together. The course takes 1.5 years full-time or 2 years part time.

This innovative course uses a partnership approach; the participants study leadership, entrepreneurial business planning, financial management and accounting with the University and public policy making with the Institute of Public Administration of Australia. The students develop a plan for an entrepreneurial business or policy idea in their first subject and then build on this plan in subsequent subjects, cumulating in ‘A Pitch’ to senior public sector leaders. This practical form of assessment builds their confidence to get strategic buy-in for their business and/or policy ideas. Many of the students have used their new learning and skills to achieve higher level positions in the public sector. Four students are also continuing their studies with the La Trobe University MBA programme in 2016.

As academics, we have gained knowledge about Indigenous culture and how to integrate social identity into learning styles which has enabled us to develop supportive pedagogy for teaching. Our course ensures that the learning outcomes support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the capacity to straddle their leadership obligations in the workplace as well as in the Indigenous community.

How did it come about?

In 2010 the Australian government highlighted the social, political and economic gap between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the community. The Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2012) argues that improving higher education outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will contribute to nation-building and reduce Indigenous disadvantage.

The need for a postgraduate qualification for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants was seen as important in a study that IPAA Victoria commissioned with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The study highlighted the barriers to, and enablers of, career advancement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders employed in the public sector, including the need for professional development opportunities. Indigenous public servants experience a higher turnover rate than their non-indigenous peers. The 2012-13 Australian Public Service found that 20.5% of indigenous employees left the APS after less than one year —almost four times the rate of non-indigenous employees (5.9%). This is another challenge the programme aims to tackle.

IPAA approached La Trobe Business School to develop and conduct a postgraduate course due to its expertise in providing higher education for Aboriginal people, its status as the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champion Business school in Australia and the ability for regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants to continue their higher education at La Trobe University’s regional campuses. 

What have been some of the successes?

From the feedback loop it is clear that the project produces measurable impact for Indigenous peoples (including students and community), La Trobe University (including staff), IPAA, and the higher education sector.

Achievements to date include:

  • Initial enrolment of 32 students into the course
  • Strong retention rate with 22 students continuing into their 3rd subject
  • Employers contributing to student fees
  • Orientation programme and guidelines for delivery of Indigenous education
  • Second cohort of programme began in late 2015 consisting of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students
  • Students’ management skills enhanced in entrepreneurship and innovation, accounting and leadership
  • Students’ leadership skills enhanced in communication and team work
  • Peer and collaborative learning enhancing cross-cultural learning between students and staff and in the future between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students.
  • Four students progressing through to enrolment in the MBA

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students it provides an educational experience and improved educational outcomes and opportunities for employment and career advancement. A specific Indigenous course enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to bring their culture and identity into the learning experience, thereby making the teaching relevant for their needs. Also for Indigenous communities, it supports economic development, assists in closing the gap and provides mechanisms for breaking the cycle of Indigenous disadvantage.

Advice for other schools thinking of doing something similar?

It is important to develop and work in partnerships with those organisations and people in the community who are legitimately recognised with expertise by Indigenous peoples. It is also important to have orientation programs for teaching staff in Indigenous culture and nurturing this in the teaching environment. Flexibility of approach, and assessments that are meaningful and authentic to the Indigenous students are also important.

Next Steps for La Trobe in this area?

The course is now open for non-indigenous students as well to provide a culturally safe learning environment for students to be able to learn together. This enhances the learning of non-indigenous students who are all practising public servant professionals and so builds their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the importance of culturally safe practices. This also provides an environment where cross cultural knowledge is exchanged and others’ perspectives are more fully understood

Training a New Generation of African Entrepreneurs – ALTIS and E4Impact

2-GraduationCeremony 2Sub-Saharan Africa is a region with enormous growth potential, but there are significant challenges to assure this growth is inclusive. In Africa, SMEs generate only 17% of the GDP and 30% of employment, while in OECD countries figures ram up to 50% and 60%, respectively. The «migration phenomenon» from the African continent is, in part, a consequence of the lack of local businesses able to generate sustainable employment opportunities and wealth for communities.

In response to this, ALTIS Postgraduate School of Business and Society launched E4Impact, a special MBA programme aimed at training a new class of African leaders who will be able to create jobs in the sustainable private sector in their countries. This perfectly fits ALTIS’ mission to foster impact entrepreneurship and management for sustainable development. I recently spoke with Jessica Vaghi, Communications Manager at E4Impact Foundation, about the impacts of this initiative.

What is the E4Impact MBA

E4Impact, launched in 2010, became a Foundation spin-off of Università Cattolica (ALTIS) in 2015 with the contribution of Securfin, Mapei, Salini-Impregilo, Always Africa Association, ENI and Bracco. The Foundation offers the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship in collaboration with Università Cattolica and a local university from the host country. The first MBA was offered in Kenya in 2010; now it’s also offered in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ethiopia.

The MBA is a unique 12-16 month executive program that guides active and aspiring entrepreneurs in starting or scaling their businesses, providing them simultaneously with an academic and business acceleration experience. It is comprised of a flexible blend of class lessons, distance learning, mentoring and networking events. Furthermore, participants are supported by a Business Coach: a dedicated business consultant that assists them in developing their business plan and establishing an industry network. There are also several occasions for participants to pitch their project to investors and the financial community in order to foster relationships of trust with these actors.

How did it come about?

Would-be entrepreneurs, owners of existing SMEs and successful impact entrepreneurs are hindered in various ways in Sub-Saharan Africa. They lack the business acumen necessary to have dialogue with financial institutions and struggle to find the structure and guidance to systematically test their ideas in the marketplace. Most MBA programs for African people are not aimed at entreprenuers and focus more on theory than on practice. African universities need to enhance their ability to offer educational programs for entrepreneurs, thus becoming a long-term driver of change.

The E4Impact MBA helps attenuate these problems and weakens the probability of collapse of new enterprises. It supports local universities in offering action-oriented entrepreneurial education and in becoming part of a pan-African system. The MBA is not an academic exercise, but applied learning, where entrepreneurs are guided in verifying the feasibility of their business project and in drafting an investor-ready business plan. The program is built around entrepreneurs’ business ideas and each academic module works on a particular aspect of running a business (Strategy, Marketing, Accounting & Finance, Operations, HR).

The first iteration of this course was set in Italy. In 2005, ALTIS launched an MBA program for African entrepreneurs. However, many students remained in Europe after the course instead of going back to their countries. Therefore, the program was moved to Sub-Saharan African countries and E4Impact was born with the goal of becoming the leading Pan-African university alliance for training and coaching a new generation of impact entrepreneurs capable of combining economic success with positive social impact.

What have been some of the challenges of E4Impact MBA? 

The biggest challenge has been finding an academic formula that suits not only to country’s context, but also to the entrepreneurs’ needs. The first two MBA editions in Kenya had a full-time formula. Although entrepreneurs liked the programme, it was soon clear that this wasn’t the right formula because they had no time to work on their businesses.

Moreover, the old editions followed a continental approach in the sense that people from all over Africa moved to Kenya to attend the MBA. However, creating a network around the entrepreneur and his/her business was not easy if he/she was out of the country.

In its third edition, E4Impact implemented its current academic formula: always aiming to assure students have an African CV that meets International standards.

The current formula is part-time (39 working days in class and distance learning modules) and has a country approach (participants are residents in the country where they attend the MBA). It enables entrepreneurs to keep on with their daily jobs while working on their business projects and helps establish a solid network of partners that are useful for business development, model testing and validation.

What about some of the successes? 

E4Impact counts 196 impact entrepreneurs under training and 185 already trained, 35% of which are women. We calculated that the 73% of alumni have a business in place and they provide 497 jobs.

There are seven local university partners: Tangaza University College (Nairobi), Catholic Institute of Business and Technology (Accra), University of Makeni, Uganda Martyrs University (Kampala), Centre de Recherche et d’Action pour la Paix (Abidjan), Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (Mwanza) and Institute Supérieur the Management (Dakar). E4Impact has trained 35 people among local university staff and professors; in 2017 this figure will rise to at least 63.

In 2012, E4Impact was the first non-American program awarded with the Ashoka Innovation University Award.

E4Impact’s greatest success, though, is represented by its entrepreneurs and their impact businesses. For example, Jacqueline Kiage, entrepreneur from the 2nd edition of the MBA in Kenya is the co-Founder of Innovation Eye Centre, a health social enterprise that offers high quality, affordable and accessible eye care services to the community in the South Western Region of Kenya and beyond. Osei Bobie, entrepreneur from the 2nd edition of the MBA in Ghana,is Chief Operation Officer & Founder of Farmers’ Hope, a Ghanaian enterprise that produces a potent and affordable organic fertilizer with local raw materials that improves the soil structure over long period of time. Similarly, Jody Ogana, entrepreneur from the 4th edition of the MBA in Kenya, is General Manager of The GoDown Arts Centre, a non-profit enterprise that provides the first Kenyan multi-disciplinary platform for arts, and there are many more.

How are these shared in Italy with students as well?

In 2012, E4Impact launched an internship program for students of the Università Cattolica in Milan to take part in the E4Impact programme. Twenty-four Italian students have already been sent to different African partner universities during the MBA academic year. They have assisted business coaches in his/her job and helped the African entrepreneurs transform their business ideas into bankable business plans. Some of the students also worked on their theses, developing case studies based on successful businesses of E4Impact impact entrepreneurs.

Given the relevance of the experience, E4Impact aims at extending the internship programme to students of other universities focused on sustainability and sustainable development.

What’s next for the initiative?

E4Impact aims to offer the MBA in at least 15 African countries by 2020. The final objective is to become the leading Pan-African alliance of universities focused on sustainability, able to support a growing basin of African impact entrepreneurs. In 2017, E4Impact MBA will be offered also in Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa; by 2020,in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Congo DR and Angola.

Thanks to its MBA, E4Impact facilitates the expansion of African and International SMEs oriented to sustainability in the sub-Saharan area. By matching them with reliable local entrepreneurs, E4Impact offers small businesses a low cost, low risk opportunity to enter African markets in countries where the MBA is offered.

E4Impact launched the first pilot project, “First-Step Africa,” in the 2014/2015 academic year with the Italian enterprise, SIPA, which is interested in exploring Ghana’s market of plastic containers. They are currently working with 5 companies and there are already 20 interested companies for the upcoming academic year.

SDGSDG8SDG11SDG17

Supporting Indigenous Entrepreneurs – Gustavson School of Business

In Canada, the Indigenous population is the fastest growing in the country. Through a succession of victories in high-profile Supreme Court decisions, First Nations in Canada have asserted their rights over their traditional territories, thus making business and government reliant upon a license to operate from First Nations when they wish to conduct business on their territories.

With 60 billion Canadian dollars in projects planned and underway in the Northwest of British Columbia Canada, there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses to help deliver these projects. In particular, businesses are eager to partner with Indigenous-owned businesses in a whole range of industries from tourism, to forestry, to mining, to energy, to training, to name but a few.

In order to help Indigenous communities in the area develop their entrepreneurial skills, the University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business offers, in partnership with the Tribal Resource Investment Corporation (TRICORP), the North West Canadian Aboriginal Entrepreneur programme. I spoke with Heather Ranson, Associate Director at Gustavson’s Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation, and Dr. Matt Murphy,  about this award winning initiative.

What is the Northwest Aboriginal Canadians Entrepreneurs programme?

The Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE) programme is a collaborative effort between indigenous communities served by Tribal Resource Investment Corporation, regional and provincial governments and the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business to bring first class entrepreneurial learning to the Indigenous people of Northwest British Columbia (BC). The primary aim of the programme is to enhance the self-sufficiency and full economic participation of Indigenous people in the many exciting projects underway in their traditional territories by helping prospective entrepreneurs start and grow their own businesses.

The programme includes a 6-week modular skill-based curriculum aimed at developing entrepreneurial expertise, followed by a 12-week Entrepreneurial Mentorship. Interested candidates apply by sending a letter of interest and are selected by TRICORP, the funding partner.

How did this programme come about?

The philosophy guiding the programme is founded on the belief that perhaps the NW-ACE can – in some small way – reverse the damage done to First Nation communities through colonisation. NW-ACE used this philosophy to guide the following three implementation strategies:

  • To ensure that the Indigenous communities served through TRICORP own and control the programme, the intellectual property and the trademarks for the NW-ACE programme. If the university were to own the curriculum for the programme, it would just be another example of colonialism.
  • To take the university to the Indigenous community rather than expect the Indigenous participants to travel to the university. The parents of many of the participants in the NW-ACE programme are from the generation of Indigenous Canadians who were taken from their communities and shipped off to residential schools. This programme should not be associated with the deep pain inflicted by a colonial approach of residential schooling, but should rather attempt to reverse it.
  • To enable Indigenous people in the Northwest to become full peer-to-peer partners in the Canadian economy as business owners, rather than just employees. The ideal prospective Indigenous participant would already have a skillset that can be leveraged to start a business that would ultimately become a supplier to one or more of the various corporations driving the development projects in Northwestern BC.

NW-ACE is a collaboration between several partners. How does this collaboration work?

The success of the NW-ACE programme is only possible through extensive collaboration that spans regions, communities, institutions and faculties, including:

  • 28 professors, administrators and business professionals from the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, Faculty of Education, Office of Indigenous Affairs, Executive Programmes and others at the University of Victoria
  • 6 representatives from Tribal Resources Investment Corporation, an Aboriginal Capital Corporation
  • 25 Indigenous communities, 13 urban centres, and 9 First Nations spanning a geographic area of over 600,000 square kilometers in Northwest BC
  • 15 representatives from the private sector economy
  • 4 representatives from Service Canada, a branch of the Federal government
  • 2 post-secondary institutions (University of Victoria and Northwest Community College)

NW-ACE is a non-credit programme, although, students can receive credit for the course through North West Community College. However, most students take the programme to start their entrepreneurial endeavours.

The relationship between our school and the funding partner is critical.  Gustavson does not “own” the material taught in class, the funder does.  This gives them control and helps build Gustavson’s credibility when we go into a new community.

What challenges have you faced? 

The major challenge of this programme is to get entrepreneurs up and running a business in such a short time.  Some students need to finish apprenticeships, some need to conduct further market research and some are up and running shortly after the programme.  For students who need additional support after the programme, an alumni programme is in place as well as a mentorship programme.

What has been the impact of the initiative?

Out of 91 graduates from the first 6 cohorts of the NW-ACE programme, 21 have started new businesses. Four additional cohorts with a total of 63 participants will graduate ready to launch their businesses in the Fall 2016.

While we typically measure our impact in the number of businesses started, there are other impacts as well.  Some of our students have gone on to further their education, which will assist them in their ventures further down the line.  Others have had important self-realisations and pivoted their business ideas to better capitalise on their talents.  Some of the softer impacts have been developing a strong relationship between business in northern communities, TRICORP and Gustavson.  Also, students’ self-confidence and ability to develop ides into business plans are also stronger.

How can business schools integrate Indigenous business topics into their programmes?

Understanding the interests and issues of First Nations will help us prepare future generations as this part of the population gains a larger voice. Indeed, by working with Indigenous communities now, we can support them to have a stronger voice.

At Gustavson we work with First Nation communities to bring them into the classroom. For example, Patrick Kelly, a member of the Leq:amel First Nations and consultant and adviser in this space, is part of the Dean’s International Advisory Board, helping direct the strategy of the school and advising on issues important to Indigenous students and the community. He spends time with our MBA students, to help them understand the Indigenous perspective on business in dedicated classes and professional development sessions.

We regularly consider issues that come up in popular media and help students understand what that means for business. A good example of this is the three classes we spend in the BCom programme on Human Rights and the importance of free, prior and informed consent that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) outlines as critical in relationships with Indigenous communities. As the Canadian government is currently working to implement UNDRIP, and many Canadian firms impact Indigenous communities, this topic in particular, will become even more important for business in the future.

We also bring our students out to visit and support First Nation business projects. Professor Matt Murphy has taken MBA students to visit the T’Sou-ke Nation’s solar community project, which powers a First Nation on southern Vancouver Island. Dr. Murphy is also working with a group of MBA students who are designing plans for T’Sou-ke Nation to commercialise their clean-energy model.

Do you have any other programmes supporting Indigenous business/leaders?

University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business in Canada welcomes Indigenous students into all of their business degree programmes. Since Indigenous students that enter these programmes do not have to self-identify as such at any time during their education, the school doesn’t have statistics on the number or proportion of participation of Indigenous students in these courses. Our Executive Programmes are actively engaged in a variety of programmes in communities with local Indigenous Partners including Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), Service Canada and the Provincial Government. We also have an Executive Programme on Indigenous Business with Universidad ESAN in Peru to deliver a community relations programme to twenty-one post-graduate students. These students are already working within community relations in Peru — primarily in the mining sector. They come to British Columbia for a week in order to understand consultation and stakeholder negotiation with extractive industries. The students also have the opportunity to meet with the Kamloops Indian Band, the New Afton mining company in Kamloops and the Tsleil-Waututh in Vancouver.

What’s next?

We plan to expand our First Nations programmes to more communities across the country, partnering with other universities to expand our reach. Also, our BCom programme is consulting with other faculties on campus to understand how we can better attract Indigenous students to the programme, and support them while they learn with us.

Executive Programme is continuously launching new programmes led by Dr. Brent Mainprize with our partner TRICORP, such as expanding the entrepreneurs programmes across Canada and creating a social media and website training programme that will allow communities to take ownership in the design and implementation of their websites and social media. Other projects are also in the works!

 

This post is part of a special month featuring examples of business programmes in Canada, Australia and New Zealand focused on Indigenous Peoples. For more visit primetime.unprme.org.

Managing Humanitarian Emergencies – EADA Business School

For one week in March, EADA Business School’s campus in Collbato transforms into a model refugee camp. Here participants from different programmes at EADA meet to take part in an innovative elective offered on Managing Humanitarian Emergencies. As one of the most highly evaluated courses at the school, it introduces participants to the main components required to respond to humanitarian emergencies. I spoke with Giorgia Miotto, External Relations and Communication Director, and Dr. David Noguera, founder of the course at EADA Business School, about this unique course.

What is the Managing Humanitarian Emergencies class?

Managing Humanitarian Emergencies is an elective course open to students from all programmes across campus. The course is given by Dr. David Noguera, cofounder and manager of ReAccio Humanitaria, an institution devoted to preparing for, training teams, and creating awareness around humanitarian emergencies. He is also a professor at EADA.

The aim of the course is to train students to respond efficiently in extreme situations. More specifically, the course is based on the Triple Bottom Line sustainability parameters:

  • The sustainability of profits, which has to do with the company’s economic sustainability,
  • The sustainability of people, who work for the organization, purchase its products, services or live in the surrounding area, and
  • The sustainability of the planet and environmental supply chain management

Why provide such a course?

The main goal is to show how humanitarian organisations achieve positive results reducing mortality, morbidity and suffering of populations in precarious situations. It is also a way to learn different ways to manage highly independent teams with a focus on achieving results. Extreme situations are often a good test to test our abilities to make complex decisions.

Dr. Noguera, who started the course, believes that in this day and age it is necessary to establish a dialogue between the corporate and humanitarian sectors. Companies need to not only be aware of humanitarian crisis and actions, but also understand if they have a role to play. Apart from this, there are also a lot of professional opportunities in the humanitarian field.

What are the key features of the course?

The course helps students make choices in complex settings and contests, as an individual or as a member of a company, through very interactive training. In one part of the course they plan a comprehensive response to a refugee population by designing, planning and deploying key activities in a refugee reception centre. Key benefits include:

  • Shared values: Raising awareness of individual and corporate social responsibilities
  • Improving teamwork: Dividing up roles and responsibilities in order to achieve goals in a fast, flexible and reactive way that reflects work in the field
  • Enduring and solving crisis situations: Facing crises affecting people’s lives is the daily challenge of humanitarian organisations
  • Learning about humanitarian action: As a professional field or as a matter of interest

What have been some of the challenges? Successes? 

Our main challenge is to get students to join this training, as they are unaware of the massive potential for collaboration between the private and humanitarian sector and how their professional profiles can fit into the humanitarian field. They believe humanitarian work is for doctors, logisticians, teachers and sociologists, but, in fact, there is a large variance in managerial profiles.

A second challenge is the lack of knowledge of what happens in the humanitarian field more generally.

The major successes are solving the challenges previously mentioned. But above all, the most important success is that participants leave the training with a deeper sense of responsibility and awareness about the suffering of the populations most in need, and with some tools and deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities to engage in contributing to the improvement of this situation.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

I would challenge them to ask themselves why they shouldn’t provide such an opportunity to their students. In the same way an economy, information or politics are global, the humanitarian crisis has a global impact that obliges all actors and stakeholders to decide how they can engage and contribute to improving the situation. Raising awareness and capacitating current and future leaders is a solid step in a good direction.

What’s next for the initiative?

We would like to grow and reach more people by shifting from an optional training to a compulsory and transversal one attended by all students so that we can increase and maximise impact.

Engaging High School Students in Sustainable Business – San Francisco State University College of Business

ethics-classroom-SFUEngaging business school students in ethics and responsible business is important, but business schools can also play another important role to influence students before they even enter business school. Many, such as San Francisco State University’s College of Business in the US, are providing a range of programmes to expose high school students to these topics. This provides opportunities to not only introduce younger students to sustainability, but also to introduce them to the business school environment, and in the process engage current students, staff and faculty. I spoke with Denise Kleinrichert, Director of the Center for Ethical and Sustainable Business (CESB) at San Francisco State University College of Business about this initiative.

What is the High School Student Summer Sustainability Workshop?

The High School Summer Sustainability Workshop began as a collaboration between several faculty members and MBA students in which the Center for Ethical & Sustainable Business hosted a sustainable business workshop for high school students. The workshops started in 2011 with 12 students from private schools that came together for half days over a one week period. The success of this camp and its students’ enthusiasm encouraged the development of an ongoing project that would be expanded to include the San Francisco United School Districts’ 19 public high schools in 2012 and 2013,drawing up to 40 students each summer. After a two-year hiatus, a 2016 summer workshop is in the planning. The workshops are free to public high school juniors and seniors through application process, including teacher and parent recommendations/approvals. We receive some financial support for the learning materials, beverages and snacks for the week from a continuing relationship with a Bay Area bank through the support of one of our MBA alum.

What are the key features of the programme?

Key topics of the week include understanding human and business impacts on the environment, such as:

  • Access to and maintaining clean water, arable land, and clean air
  • Ecological footprints of individuals and businesses, life cycle analysis of durable products and their manufacturing, waste management and recycling
  • Understanding supply chain impacts from raw materials through product end-of-life
  • Closed loop production; consumer awareness and overconsumption impacts on the environment
  • Fair Trade practices and food sources
  • Technology and clothing industries and their environmental impacts
  • Social entrepreneurship practices and their positive impacts

Why have it? 

We hold these workshops because high school students are just starting to understand environmental impacts on the communities in which they live. We want to broaden their global perspectives of how business can effect positive outcomes. High school students also have so much fun and energy and so many ideas – it’s great to introduce them to a university campus environment.

How are current business students and faculty involved?

We have had strong support from MBA students and upper division business undergraduates who show an eagerness to get involved and help. The mentoring possibilities are valuable for both sets of students. We also now have alumni who want to continue their ongoing roles, and new alum eager to also give back to their campus and the local community by volunteering their time for this project. Faculty also volunteer their time and expertise for the development and leadership of this initiative.

What have been some of the challenges? Successes? 

We haven’t really had too many challenges, except for faculty travel or teaching that might conflict with leading the annual workshop each June. Also, due to the diverse community in which we are located, some parents do not have the language skills to understand printed materials, such as approval forms or materials we provide about the programme. However, the successes are found in the connections we are able to make by bridging the high school to university experience through the students’ shared interest in sustainability.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

We wouldn’t be able to host this event without the strong support of the city school system’s administrative staff who oversee the science curriculum for all 19 high schools. They are the ones on the front lines promoting our workshop, securing student applications and attendance approval forms from parents. Also, at least one or two Science teachers/Administrators attend every day of the workshop to assist in managing 40 students.

What are 2 or 3 other initiatives at your school you are particularly proud of in this area from the Center for Ethical and Sustainable Business?

CESB hosts an annual Business Ethics Week each November (just celebrated our 10th year in 2015) that includes a wide variety of out-of-classroom activities and events focused on business ethics topics, including corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship and sustainability. During Business Ethics Week, students attend campus events, such as speaker panels, film and documentary screenings, ethics debate competitions on case study solutions, and hands-on exercises with industry leaders. There are two to three events each day. Additionally, at least 50% of faculty integrate ethics-related topics or speakers into class lectures during that week.

CESB also hosts an ongoing series of full day industry-to-student Ethics & Compliance Workshops with cross-industry executive panels tackling trending ethics and compliance issues in healthcare, pharma, banking and finance, consulting, risk management, tech and privacy, and hospitality. These workshops discuss real world ethical challenges, case studies and strategies for issue analysis, successful mitigation, and employee training.

SDGSDG4SDG11SDG9

Redefining the role of older people: American University of Beirut’s University for Seniors Programme

During the past few decades, the number and proportion of older Lebanese individuals has been rising steadily. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the proportion of people aged 65 years and over will approach 20 percent, the highest among its Arab neighbouring countries.

In general, older people have more free time than their younger counterparts and possess an incredible amount of wisdom, as well as life and professional experiences, that they are eager to share. The University for Seniors programme at the American University of Beirut (AUB) was developed in response to this, providing an opportunity to redefine and defy the negative stereotypes associated with the ageing process in Lebanon and greater the region. I spoke with Dr. Cynthia Myntti, Director of the AUB Neighbourhood Initiative, and Dr. Abla Mehio Sibai, Professor of Public Health and an expert on aging, about AUB University for Seniors.

What is it the University for Seniors (UfS)?

The University for Seniors is a pioneering programme, initiated in 2010. It addresses the aspirations of many older adults to remain intellectually challenged and socially connected. The programme aims to create a new and positive image of aging in Beirut, Lebanon and the Middle East: one that offers visible proof that engaged aging is possible in the Arab world, and that it contributes to healthy and successful aging.

The programme offers lecturers, study groups, educational travel programmes, campus life and intergenerational activities, in addition to social and cultural events over two terms per year. The programme is open to anyone 50 years and older.

How did the programme come about?

Public health studies have shown that meaningful social engagement has a positive effect on the physical and psychological health of older adults. In 2007, the AUB Neighborhood Initiative learned from interviews with residents of Ras Beirut that prospects for older residents are largely lacking, with few occasions to leave their homes, not enough mental stimulation, and virtually no opportunities to give back to their communities. In response, Cynthia Myntti and Abla Sibai joined forces to create an educational and cultural programme at AUB designed with and for older adults.

How does it work?

Adult education programmes typically cater to adults seeking to improve their careers with additional skills and certificates. In contrast, learning in the University for Seniors is sought for pleasure. The programme rests on three unique principles:

  1. Peer-learning: seniors learn from one another rather than from a paid professional instructor;
  2. Community building: seniors join a community rather than paying for one-off activities; and
  3. Intergenerational connections: seniors have multiple opportunities to connect with AUB faculty and students.

Over the years, the programme has developed beyond expectations and has grown exponentially: from 50 enrolled members in three courses offered in 2010 to this term with 21 courses, 30 lectures, and 5 trips within Lebanon and abroad. The UfS currently has over 260 enrolled members and close to 1,600 subscribers on its mailing list.

What impact has this had on the University itself? The other students?

The University for Seniors has had an impact on AUB in a number of ways, such as: engaging alumni and attracting people from outside the AUB community; creating good will and great publicity for the University (extensive media coverage); offering AUB the opportunity to pioneer lifelong learning in Lebanon and the Middle East; changing the concept of learning to include all ages; inspiring younger people, both faculty and regular students, with the image of active, curious older people who they see on campus and in classes; creating an opportunity for AUB students to give back to their community by volunteering in classes to UfS members, mainly on social media; and offering AUB students the chance to welcome their own parents, aunts, uncles and even grandparents to campus as learners like them.

Challenges?

A major challenge is the labor intensity required to organize the term offerings. In regular universities, courses mostly remain the same and the students change. In the University for Seniors, most of the “students” remain the same (new members do join), but the courses change. Courses and lectures are run by volunteers, so the UfS always needs more interested persons to give courses and lectures. To keep offerings new and fresh, all leads are pursued.

Another challenge relates to finances. The UfS does not see itself as a programme for elites, so every effort is made to keep membership fees affordable and to attract members of different backgrounds from all over Lebanon.

Successes

Words such as ‘your programme is life changing;’ or the ‘UfS has become our reason for being’ are a testament to the programme’s value in the lives of its members and its success. Members take real pleasure at being on campus, rubbing shoulders with AUB’s ‘regular’ students and faculty, and being part of the AUB learning community. Members participate in the programme’s governance and strategic planning (the steering committee, Curriculum Committee and Social Committee), and some act as lecturers and study group leaders. Everyone has something to share in the University for Seniors; members feel that their experience and wisdom are valued and that they still can achieve new things.

Beirut has few places where people of different backgrounds meet, but the UfS has created such a place, becoming a strong and diverse community. Psychologists and geriatricians are even prescribing UfS membership for their patients!

What advice do you have for others thinking of putting in place something similar at their schools?

  1. In a world that is aging, recognize the remarkable resource that are older people and the power of the older a University for Seniors-like programme within your university and in the community at large.
  2. Embark on a feasibility study to identify the target population and its needs to tailor the programme accordingly.
  3. Start with an experimental phase to try out different modalities and elicit feedback from members about what is working and what is not working.

What’s next for the programme?

The University for Seniors is now one of AUB’s premier community outreach programmes. In the coming years, it intends to:

    • Expand its reach to serve a wider community
    • Maintain its affordable status with low membership fees and the establishment of a scholarship fund
    • Document the effect of the programme on individual members’ health and well-being
    • To position the programme as the platform for change in ageing-related issue.

SDGSDG3SDG5SDG11

%d bloggers like this: