Creating Students Passionate about Social Responsibility – Lomonosov Moscow State University (Part 2)

stud_zhizn1-235One of the main requirements for putting in place successful programmes that really engage students in sustainability is a passionate team of enthusiastic individuals. Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School in Moscow, Russia definitely has that. The result has been a range of different programmes that aim to involve students in a number of social projects throughout their undergraduate degrees.

I spoke with Natalia Bukhshtaber, Associate Dean for Academic Programmes and International Affairs, Natalia Sharabarina, Director of Social Education and Nina Koryakina, Supervisor of Social Education Programmes about their initiatives, in particular the Diary for Social Responsibility, and the impact this has had on their students.

What is the Diary of Social Responsibility?

Diary of Social Responsibility is an initiative we started a year ago and it has grown into a more comprehensive project. We realised that there was a need to address social responsibility issues earlier in the programme, during the first and the second years of study, since our Business Ethics and CSR courses are introduced during the third year. Two years ago we started a volunteering project for first year students and the Social Responsibility Diary for second year students.

The Diary of Social Responsibility course focuses on individual social responsibility, the importance of individual values, and corporate philanthropy, aspects that we consider prerequisite to our Business Ethics and CSR courses. Within this initiative, the students learn from and meet with a variety of charity foundations. They complete a number of Small Action projects with these groups to gain experience on implementing social projects. They are then prompted to reflect and discuss the experience in small group and one-on-one setting and to write about them in a Diary.

How did the course come about?

In our initial talks with the students, we encountered a number of stereotypes we wanted to challenge. These included:

  • Social responsibility is for ‘special people’ like social workers, religious workers, etc. I am not one of these; therefore, why should I be involved?
  • Volunteering is for people who have plenty of spare time. I am not one of these; therefore, why should I be involved?
  • Philanthropy is for rich people or celebrities who have plenty of spare money. I am not one of these; therefore, why should I be involved?
  • Social projects mean a personal encounter with dying children or deformed elderly or someone like this. It will clearly be a traumatic experience, and I don’t welcome it.

Most of these stereotypes were due to the fact that, despite media coverage of social initiatives, many of our students had not had any exposure of social projects. We realised that the exposure had to be limited so we came up with Small Actions strategy, providing small groups of students with clear, realistic, measurable tasks, so they would see that, once you become socially responsible (or, you become aware of social responsibility), you can always find ways to practice social responsibility, and even small deeds can make a big difference.

What do the students put in their diary?

The original idea was for them to reflect on every event they participated in. This proved a bit difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, journaling in general is not common in Russia. This year, in planning our new course (which is now required), we decided to ask the students to make presentations based on their reflections.

Personal discussions proved to be more informative than writing in diaries, either one-on-one or in small groups. During these, we discussed how their perspective on socially meaningful projects, volunteering, philanthropy, and NGOs was changing. We saw that some of their former assumptions were challenged and revisited.

What have been some insights from this initiative?

One of the interesting discoveries was that the students’ attitude toward social responsibility did not correlate with their academic achievement and education background. Some of our students who were not doing well academically became our ‘heroes’ and we saw a totally different side of them. Some of the people who had discipline issues took their Small Actions very seriously.

The biggest outcome of the project, perhaps, was the students’ initiative to do something bigger and on our own. Once they got engaged in Small Actions, the main question they had was “Can we do something bigger?” We ended up organising our very first Charity Gala to benefit one of the foundations we were cooperating with in the project. The second year students who were the core team and they really took charge of the event. At the end of the Gala, we raised over 330,000 RUB (nearly 5,500 Euros) for an elderly home in the Tambov Region. At the end of the year, when we asked for students’ feedback about the academic year (our regular practice), quite a few responses were, “We are incredibly proud that we were part of the Charity Gala and we hope the work will continue.”

What advice do you have for other schools interested in putting in place something similar?

You have to believe in social responsibility and practice it yourself rather than try to reproduce something that worked somewhere else. Every student body is unique and you need to find something that will truly resonate with your student community. However, do not be afraid to try something that is totally new. When we were starting, the core team got together and we said, “We may make all the possible mistakes we can make here but we are going to learn from that and make it better next year.”

Secondly, we saw the benefits of the Small Actions approach. In a situation where students had never participated in anything of the sort, most of them felt insecure and hesitant to try. The point is not to scare them off but suggest something that looks like fun and something they would be willing to try.

Thirdly, keep praising your students. Find ways to let your student body know of the special things that were done by their fellow students and even letting the parents know.

Fourthly, you need to find dedicated people among your faculty and staff who would really take this to heart. Do not ‘assign’ it to someone who does not really grasp the essence of what you are doing or is reluctant to be involved. See who of those supervising the project will be in charge of the ‘PR part’ of it. Proper and effective communication with the student body, other faculty and staff, and the third parties involved is crucial. You don’t want to alienate people or confront them (even if you want to challenge some of their assumptions), you want understanding and cooperation. Find the person on the team who is a good (great would be better) motivational speaker.

What are some initiatives happening at Lomonosov that you are particularly proud of in the area of PRME/Sustainability/Responsible Management?

The Ostafyevo Volunteering Initiative. Ostafyevo is a museum housed in a historical mansion in the suburbs of Moscow. Due to lack of media attention and effective PR practices, the museum had very low visibility, it was known mostly to the people of the local community. Our school started a volunteering project where, once a month, students go to the museum to help with a range of tasks (cleaning, sweeping the park, etc.) and to learn more about the museum. The students organise a special event to promote the museum (a concert, a photo contest, etc.) and at the end of the year student teams present business ideas that would help increase the museum’s visibility and attract sponsors, while not compromising the museum’s values and the mansion’s environment.

 

For more on Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School’s approach to sustainability and responsible management click here.

Creating a Sustainability Report – lessons from Hanken School of Economics

HankenAt the 2013 PRME Summit – 5th Annual Assembly in Bled Slovenia, a number of schools were recognised for their Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) Reports. Produced by schools on a regular basis, SIP reports outline a school’s approach and activities related to responsible management education. Hanken School of Economics was one of the schools recognised at the Summit, because its report had a clear and coherent structure, readability, and detailed the evolution of their activities, along with the school’s future goals and plans.

As many schools have experienced, putting together a report that brings together all of a school’s activities around responsible management education is a challenging, yet rewarding experience. I recently had the chance to speak with Nikodemus Solitander and Martin Fougere at Hanken about their experiences and lessons learnt around putting together a solid report.

How did you go about putting together the report?
From the beginning, we had a clear three-fold aim with establishing a SIP reporting praxis at Hanken: (1) Approach the task the same way we would a research project. This means that, on the one hand, we draw on the critical research the two of us have conducted on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and UN Global Compact reports, and on the other hand,  we do not outsource the collection or analysis of data to administrators or the marketing department, and we try to be upfront and transparent about progress as well as lack of progress and tensions.(2) Whenever possible, we try to create synergies with the data collection and reporting we provide to other organisations, such as AACSB or EQUIS, applicable research projects (as both myself and Martin conduct research on the implementation and pedagogy of PRME), and general development projects within the school. Finally,(3) we report on all principles even the ones where we do not excel.

How do you collect the information?
The data are collected from various sources, but the bulk of the information comes from interviews with the heads of each of Hanken’s units. The unit heads have the most up-to-date knowledge on projects, research, and various initiatives related to the PRME Six Principles that are addressed in their units – and are therefore in the best position to provide relevant information. The headmaster provides her contribution in the form of a letter where she discusses the ways in which PRME-related issues are worked into Hanken’s strategy, while interviews with deputy headmasters reveal how those strategies work in practice. We also look at our database of publications and identify recent research that relates to the topic area in a relevant way, and include these in the report. In addition, we talk to members of the administration and other staff to learn how sustainability goals are integrated into their jobs.

How has putting together your report changed over the past 3 reports?
For sure it is more systematic today. Now, we collect the data throughout the year and “reposit” it until we start writing the drafts. Usually we start working on drafts 6-7 months prior to our submission date. During the first year we made the mistake of not collecting data “outside” of the actual report production, and then it was really time-consuming to start collecting data about events and seminars retrospectively. You tend to forget a lot of things that are so rooted in praxis that they seem mundane – it becomes difficult to recall these in retrospect. These days, we start the actual writing earlier, for the first report we started 4 months prior, now its 6-7 months and it still feels rushed. For the most recent report, we wanted to develop the reporting on progress in a more clear and readable manner, so we introduced simple arrow symbols to indicate progress or lack thereof.
Is there a part of the report, or the report process that you are particularly proud of?
We’ve made an effort to be frank about lack of progress and things we have identified that need further development and work. Being reflective and transparent about your own organisation is never easy. The report has the feeling of being a report on our own organisational learning, and organisational learning is always something to be proud of. We’ve also made a very conscious effort to stay clear of marketing discourse with the reports, and we’re pretty content we’ve fulfilled that aim.

What have been some of the challenges you faced and how did you work through these?
In the last mile of the report we have been consistently late with the last parts of editing and fine-tuning the report – keeping the deadlines is really hard. Our finalising process is such that after our PRME assistant has collected the data and put together the draft (3 months prior to submission), the two of us edit and rewrite the draft on top of our “paid duties” as faculty – as with all editorial work, it is at times monotonous and tedious. Getting the report to reach the consciousness of all internal staff was another challenge, until we received the SIP reporting prize at the PRME Summit. This gave the report and reporting process a good soap box to stand on.

How do you share the report? How has it been received by the school’s community?
Once the report is finalised, a printed copy is sent to everyone who has been involved in helping us gather the information. Of course it is also made available in electronic form, and posted on the school webpage, where it can be accessed by anyone. After the success of the last report, we were asked to present it to faculty and staff, at a type of mini-seminar. Additionally last year, the school rector presented us with an award for advancing these sustainability principles at Hanken. We would say that the whole process of interviewing key people for the report, as well as the final resource of the report, helps increase awareness of PRME within Hanken.

What advice would you have for other schools putting together their first report?
Try to be comprehensive in regards to reporting on the Six Principles, rather than minimalistic – recognising the needs for development is more important than reporting only on success, in the long-run. Try to create synergies with other activities with regards of the collection of data. Keep track of your institution’s PRME-related activities throughout the year, instead of working backwards. Begin writing the report three months prior to your original plan – it always takes longer than you expect.

What are your plans for your next report?
To have time for a proper spelling and language check… Half-jokes aside, we will build on the existing report and its structure, and perhaps try to get more student input again for the next report.

 

Creating a space for Interdiscplinary Reflection – Lviv Business School

ph2Over the past few years, Lviv Business School in Ukraine, has put in place several new programmes aimed at raising awareness, and supporting development of responsible and sustainable management education. One of these programmes, Reflexio, is an innovative, five-day interdisciplinary retreat that brings together faculty, entrepreneurs, religous leaders, artists, and a range of other individuals, to discuss and explore leadership, ethics, values, and trust.

I had the chance to speak with Halyna Onyshko from Lviv Business School about this innovative programme.

What is Reflexio and how did it come about?

Reflexio (Latin for “reversing”) is the unique ability of the human consciousness to perceive itself during the process of perception, so that the human consciousness becomes self-aware.

Reflexio takes place at the intersection of business, philosophy, and the humanities. The five day programme is set in the picturesque Carpathian landscape, in the tranquil Hoshiv Monastery, to encourage every participant to think about relevant issues of leadership, ethics, values, responsibility, and trust.

It is an invitation to discard what is urgent in order to reflect on what is important. We offer this programme in order to learn how to reflect and grow. Communicating with moral leaders, you will be able to crystallise the true priorities of effective leadership. Our aim is not to teach you but to help you to learn and realise your role as a leader not only within your enterprise – but also in the global context.

What happened during the programme?

The five-day programme had a series of new speakers and opportunities every day.  Participants had a chance to meet Bishop Borys Gudzik president of the Ukrainian Catholic University, and practice silence and retreat with Father Vasyl Zakharus on one day. On another day, participants painted pictures together with one of the most famous contemporary artists in Ukraine, Mykhaylo Demtsiu. They studied Eastern religions and the logic of writing hanzi with the director of Shanghai based company RR Commodities, Sergiy Lesnyak. Participants also studied philosophical texts and symbols with vice rector of the UCU, Volodymyr Turchynovksyy, while later, human rights defender Myroslav Marynovych shared his experience and lessons from his life. 

What has been the response to this new programme?

The best way to talk about the success of Reflexio is to share the reflections that participants gave to us at the end of the five days. One business participant wrote, “There is integrity in this programme: the atmosphere of a monastery, worship, and people with different and interesting experiences – are all valuable components of a new adventure. In business, there are issues that require strategic thinking and sacrifice in order to achieve aimed targets. The questions are what to sacrifice, and whether the target justifies the means. Here, I realised how important it is to understand your target, the target of your company, and to analyse whether or not the sacrifice is expedient.” Another participant said the programme helped her to rethink her life radically and realise the need for change: “LvBS managed to get together different people from different regions, and during the programme, we became very close. I felt inner peace and learned to listen.”  Many participants said that they usually don’t have time to stop and reflect, and that this experience was very useful for that.

What are the next steps for the programme?

Next summer we are planning to continue our programme and make it completely different from first one – to try a new approach, while  keep is the intersection of business, philosophy, and the humanities

 

Putting together your first SIP report – Glasgow School for Business and Society (Part 1 of 2)

GCUIn August, Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) submitted their first Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) Report. The report was recognised for Excellence in Reporting among new signatories at the 2013 PRME Summit – 5th Annual Assembly earlier this year in Bled, Slovenia. I recently had the chance to speak with Dr. Stephen Sinclair and Dr. Alec Wersun, Co-Chairs of the PRME Leadership Team at the Glasgow School for Business and Society, about their experiences putting together the report.

1.     Briefly describe GCU’s approach to sustainability

Our approach to sustainability is to make it strategic and incorporate it into our way of working as well as into our teaching and research. While we think it is vital to educate our students (future leaders) about all aspects of the sustainability agenda, we think it is equally important to ‘walk the talk’ and practice what we preach.  It is for this reason that the Glasgow School for Business and Society (GSBS) is a member of Business in the Community, the United Kingdom’s largest business-led charity of its kind, committed to building resilient communities, diverse workplaces, and a more sustainable future. It is also important to emphasise that we see ‘sustainability’ as covering not only environmental sustainability, but also economic and social sustainability.

To give you a sense for our commitment to environmental sustainability, GCU recently won a Gold Award under the UK’s ‘Eco-Campus’ programme, thanks partly to installing a more efficient heating system to help the University reduce its carbon footprint, actively encouraging recycling throughout the campus, and setting up a gardening group to grow vegetables on campus for resident students. Environmental sustainability is also a feature of research in all three Schools of the University. For example, GCU recently launched a Climate Justice Resource Hub, in partnership with the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, that aims to uphold the ‘Principles of Climate Justice’ created by that body.  Climate Justice links human rights and development to achieve a human-centreed approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution, equitably and fairly. There is so much more we could tell you, but space precludes this!

2.     How did you go about putting together your first SIP report?

Most of the information included in our first SIP report was provided by colleagues, and this was gathered by talking to as many members of staff as possible to learn more about relevant teaching, research, and community and stakeholder engagement activities that they were involved in or knew of. We also contacted a number of our external stakeholders and partners to learn more about what they valued in their relationship with GCU and considered how these accomplishments related to the Six Principles of PRME. Because of the wide-ranging nature of PRME, it is unlikely that all of the potentially relevant information would ever be held in any existing central repository, and so we found that there is no substitute for asking questions and engaging colleagues in dialogue. This process becomes a way of not only learning more about the work underway within GCU but is also a way to publicise GCU’s involvement in PRME itself.

In this sense, our first audience for the report was internal; it was a way of documenting and celebrating some of the excellent work in which our colleagues are engaged. An additional benefit is that, the more we all learn about the work of our colleagues, the greater the opportunities are for new collaborations between us, and this is at the very heart of our inter-disciplinary School, comprising business, law, and social sciences.

3.     Is there a part of the report or of the report process that you are particularly proud of?

If we might be permitted to select two features in our SIP report, we take particular pride in our close relationship with Nobel Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus as well as GCU’s commitment to paying a ‘Living Wage’ to all staff.

GCU’s relationship with Nobel Laureate Professor Yunus dates back several years but was deepened and extended when he was appointed University Chancellor in 2012. Our relationship is about far more than merely having Professor Yunus as a figurehead, important as that is, there is a vibrant academic and research aspect as well. For example, the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health is developing an important and entirely new research agenda, exploring the relationship between microenterprise, capability, and health. Sadly, although Glasgow is a vibrant city with lots of exciting things happening, parts of the city, along with other parts of the West of Scotland, are blighted by some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world, so developing and evaluating the viability of innovative responses to this problem is a vital socio-economic issue, as well as an important scientific challenge.

GCU’s commitment to paying all staff a ‘Living Wage’ – beyond that required by the statutory national minimum wage – is an important statement about the value that the University attaches to the well-being of all its members. GCU is the first UK University outside London to make this commitment, and hopefully it will not only contribute to improving the living standards of staff, but also serve as an example to other employers of the importance of recognising and respecting the contribution of all staff.

4.     What have been some of the challenges you faced?

PRME is still unfamiliar to many and so there is a job to be done in explaining what it is and how it relates to the interests and expertise of some colleagues and stakeholders. However, the aim of transforming business practice and management education so that they become part of the solution to contemporary and future global challenges quickly becomes appealing to those who learn about PRME and the Global Compact. Once again,we have found a process of continuous dialogue to be the most effective way to improve understanding of PRME among staff, students, and other stakeholders, so that they are able to consider how it relates to their work and how best they can contribute to it. It soon becomes clear that anyone with an interest in sustainable development, equalities issues, or globalisation – let alone business and management issues – can contribute to PRME and the transformation in thinking to which it ultimately aspires. Within GCU, we have tried to enhance this process of familiarisation by establishing a PRME Leadership Team, which promotes awareness of PRME and which shares information on how the Principles relate to teaching, curriculum development, and research.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn more about GCU’s first SIP report. To read GCU’s SIP report click here.

– What were your experiences putting together your SIP report? Share them in the comments below. –

A Focus on Sustainable Textiles – IESC

Mr. Flavio Fuertes (Focal Point of the UNGC Argentinean Network) and Miguel Angel Gardetti (Sustainable Textile Center) with designers in the ceremony programme end.

Mr. Flavio Fuertes (Focal Point of the UNGC Argentinean Network) and Miguel Angel Gardetti (Sustainable Textile Center) with designers in the ceremony programme end.

The Instituto de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad Corporativa in Buenos Aires, Argentina has chosen to take both a broad approach to sustainability in their work as well as to focus on a few issues that they believe are of key importance. One of their core topics is making the textile and fashion industries more sustainable, and their Sustainable Textile Center is dedicated to that cause, both nationally and internationally. I recently had the chance to speak with Miguel Angel Gardetti and Ana Laura Torres, coordinators of the Center, about their work.

1.     Describe the work of the Centro Textil Sustentable

The Centro Textil Sustentable (CTS) (Sustainable Textile Center – STC) was created with the purpose of providing the textile and fashion sectors with a broader outlook in order to ensure that social and environmental issues are fully integrated into the decision-making process by correctly assessing the strategic sustainability challenges. This Center promotes a holistic, multidimensional, and more sustainable vision of the textile sector, which includes fashion, through knowledge generation and transfer, education and capacity building, and strategic partnerships.

2.     Why did the Institute decide to focus on sustainable textiles?

No doubt the textile industry (including production of clothing, fabrics, threads, fiber, and related products) is significant to our economy. However, within the context of corporate sustainability, this industry often operates to the detriment of environmental and social factors. The textile industry uses large quantities of water and energy (two of the most pressing issues worldwide), in addition to creating waste, effluents, and pollution. Both textile product manufacture and consumption are significant sources of environmental damage. As to social aspects, non-qualified jobs have been lost in regions that mostly rely on these industries. Another serious and still unresolved problem is the increasing flexibility that textile industry companies need. Faced with fierce international competition, these companies find it more and more difficult to ensure job security. Plus, there exists clandestine work proliferating both in developing and developed countries. Child labour also continues to be a fact in this sector, despite efforts by a growing number of agencies and organisations. Precisely for these reasons, the Institute decided to focus on sustainable textiles.

3.     What are some examples of the projects that have been undertaken?

The Center has been very active, both nationally and internationally, in this area. The STC has developed, jointly with the United Nations Global Compact Argentinean Network, the first edition of a Training Programme of Agents for Change in the Fashion and Textile Sector (August-October 2013). This programme is based on the Code of Conduct and Manual for the Textile and Fashion Industry, which is the first sectorial initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, jointly developed with the Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical (NICE). From here, we expect to have a positive impact through agents of change in the media, the private sector, the academia, government agencies, etc.

We also developed and delivered a workshop called “Textiles, Fashion and Sustainability,” which is addressed to teachers of the Degree in Apparel and Textile Design of the Pacífico University (Santiago, Chile) in August 2013. We have participated in a range of conferences and workshops on the topic at Rio+20, at Copenhagen Business School and also at the recent Sustainable Apparel Coaliton Educational Summit, which is building a framework for measuring and evaluating the social and environmental sustainability of apparel and footwear products called Higgs. The STC was also in charge of the translation into Spanish of the Code of Conduct and Manual for the Textile and Fashion Industry. We are also part of Socio-Log, a group of academics in the field of sustainable fashion belonging to universities from 33 different nationalities with the purpose of analysing the best way to integrate issues of sustainability across undergraduate and graduate curricula and generate suitable materials for use in class.

4.     What have been some of the challenges? Successes?

There are great challenges in this field, including but not limited to, breaking with the status quo of the informal work, child labour, and illegal immigration, which is VERY rooted. Since we started relatively recently, successes are mainly at the academic level through teacher training in Argentina and other Latin American countries on issues of sustainable fashion and textiles.

5.     What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place, and what is next for the Center?

Something very important is that academic learning and research should become vital and current for future leaders from the textile and fashion business, the government, and civil society. This means taking a broader picture to ensure that social and environmental issues are completely integrated into the decision-making processes in these sectors. We understand that academic learning and research is incomplete if it does not appraise the strategic challenge raised by sustainability. Because academic learning and research is the field of universities and business schools, these institutions are called on to play an important role in the transformation of the current textile and fashion system into a sustainable one.

Moving forward, the Center will continue with the programme editions, both at the local level (Argentina) and the regional level (Latin America), with the participation of other UN Global Compact Local Networks in Latin America. Perhaps we should create a PRME working group on textiles, fashion, and sustainability?

For more information on Sustainable Textiles:

From the pilot phase to the online portal: Key steps toward Anti-Corruption Toolkit for MBA programmes

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Almost exactly one year ago, I had the chance to speak with Matthias Kleinhempel and Gabriel Cecchini from the Center for Governance and Transparency at IAE Business School in Argentina and coordinators of the PRME Working Group on Anti-Corruption in Curriculum Change. Together with the members of the Working Group, they had been working on developing an innovative new resource for integrating anti-corruption (AC) values into the core curricula of leading business schools. This new online Toolkit utilises a mix of core concept readings, details case discussions, primary sources, and documents, and includes scenarios devised for class discussion. Each of the ten study modules contains a long list of resources that allow faculty of different countries to design a course that is appropriately suited to the necessities of his/her students.

The online Toolkit, which was funded through a grant from the Siemens Integrity Initiative, was tested during a pilot phase, and participating schools recently submitted their feedback on how to make the toolkit even stronger. I recently had the chance to speak with Matthias and Gabriel about this project.

1. What is the status of the toolkit?

Over the past two years, the PRME Working Group on Anti-Corruption has developed and tested a unique approach to teaching business and management school students about anti-corruption. The resulting Anti-Corruption Toolkit provides flexible guidelines and resources for MBA programmes in Business Schools around the world. The Toolkit was piloted in 12 schools from 10 different countries between mid-2012 and mid-2013. Last July, the Working Group met at Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin to review feedback from this pilot process, focusing particularly in the following areas:

– Localising content to specific countries and regions,

– Creating a system for easily updating material, and

– Integrating a user friendly search engine for the web-based toolkit.

Following this meeting, the Toolkit will be finalised to help professors design anti-corruption courses and select the most adequate content and/or teaching methods for stand-alone courses and/or for anti-corruption sessions as part of other modules, with the understanding that courses can be customised to the needs and context of the institutions using it.

2. How is the toolkit being used by schools?

The toolkit was implemented differently by each of the 12 schools. Some of them incorporated selected topics into already existing courses, while others implemented the toolkit almost in its entirety; others integrated only some documents/materials or points of view about corruption; some courses were mandatory, while others were optional/elective; some courses had many dozens students, while others had only a handful of them.

3. What changes will be made based on feedback from the pilot phase?

Maintenance and refinement of the Toolkit were among the primary challenges cited by the pilot schools. A website was designed to allow professors to submit additional material in the different topic areas. Standards of relevance and quality will be assured by “gatekeepers” designated by the PRME Working Group which developed the toolkit.

4. How can faculty access the Toolkit?

The Toolkit and its online portal (http://actoolkit.unprme.org/)  are available at no cost to all interested business schools and universities around the world. The Toolkit is organised around 11 topics/modules covering different aspects of anti-corruption and corporate integrity problems and issues, plus a teaching methods section with a broad scope of tools and approaches to improve anti-corruption teaching. Additionally, it will provide a search function for easy access to concepts, key words, and tools.

5. How was the Toolkit used at IAE Business School?

The AC toolkit was implemented in its pilot phase at IAE Business School during the second semester of 2012 through the incorporation of some of its content into a 10 session-elective course “Corporate Governance and Anti-Corruption,” both in the MBA and Executive MBA programmes. The course was designed to help students gain a better understanding of the relevance of anti-corruption policies and of its importance for corporate governance.

Students who took the course (23 in MBA; 26 in EMBA) found the toolkit’s materials generally useful. They appreciated the material as excellent bases for interesting discussions around the issue of corruption. When preparing the elective course, four main topics from the toolkit were particularly useful: Core Concepts, International Standards, Supply Chain, and Managing Anti-Corruption Issues. With respect to methods, long and short case studies were used as well as dilemma scenarios and lectures with guest speakers (i.e., compliance practitioners); additionally, group work and discussion were incorporated.

6. What are the next steps for the Toolkit?

Looking forward past this Toolkit stage, the Working Group will continue working in a second phase in the direction of creating bridges between academia and business through education actions aimed at “train the trainers” and best business practices programmes and workshops, in order to share academic knowledge and tools with compliance practitioners around the world. Information about this next phase will be communicated in due time.

Encouraging Sustainability Discussion on Campus – Milgard School of Business

Communication ColumnBusiness schools around the world have been exploring how to bring sustainability into the classroom, but how do you get students talking about sustainability in between classes? In an attempt to increase student interest and debate around sustainability issues, the Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington Tacoma in the US regularly posts current sustainability news on a prominent column in the main lobby of the school. I recently had the chance to speak with Joe Lawless, the Executive Director of the Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility at the Milgard School of Business about their efforts.

1.     What is Milgard’s approach to sustainability/responsible leadership?

The Milgard School’s approach to sustainability/responsible leadership is a comprehensive approach through curriculum integration in all courses, as well as course offerings that specifically address the topic. More essential, however, is creating an environment where students are consistently exposed to corporate citizenship and sustainability issues through communications, activities, and speakers who bring abstract concepts to life with real-world issues that face business leaders. Many of these activities are coordinated by our Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility.

2.     What is the Communication Column?

The Communications Column was developed to provide a forum for students to be exposed to the innovative ways that companies are dealing with sustainability and corporate citizenship issues. The column is in the main lobby of the Milgard School of Business building, and students pass it on a daily basis. We took what was a simple support column and wrapped it with a 4-sided, wooden (reclaimed wood from a campus remodel project) display case. The column came about because we needed a way to keep the messages of responsible leadership, social responsibility, sustainability, and integrity in front of students in order to affect the culture within the school. It was a simple way to leverage unused space to move the Principles of PRME forward with our students.

3.     What is posted on the Column?

We promote our Center’s events and activities, like our CSR Student Case Competition or speakers series. On a weekly basis, we rotate stories of companies and their sustainability/citizenship initiatives. The stories are researched, compiled, and displayed by a marketing/public relations student. The student involvement is crucial to our mission and also provides stories through the lens of student experience. As we rotate to new student workers, they will bring new perspectives and approaches. We keep links to full stories on our Center’s website at: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/clsr/column, so that students can read the full story and/or cite it in their research papers. Typically the column contains more graphics with story “briefs” for a quick read.

4.     What impact has the Column had on the campus community?

The column has had a very subtle, but meaningful effect on the tone of our students’ experience. We hear students reference stories that they have seen on the Column in class and in conversation. Often times a conversation with a student will begin, “I saw that story about how XYZ company is handling their energy impact on the column…”

5.     What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenges were getting the column designed, built, and through the administrative maze of approvals. We overcame this challenge through sheer determination. It took about 2 years for the entire process, but it was well worth it. Our next challenge was keeping the stories updated and relevant. We began by having our (very limited) staff creating and building content, but quickly realised that in order to do it well, we needed someone’s full attention. We pay a student worker for 10-12 hours a week to do the company and/or story research, create the graphic and story details that will go on the Column, and update the website with links to the full source information. This model has worked out very well for the school and for the students who have served in this role.

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

Make sure that you have the resources and/or systems in place to keep the information relevant and continually changing. If the same information stays on display for more than a week, students will begin to ignore it. Having a website set up for links to full source information is also a great way to archive materials over time and to provide an additional service for students. The last word of advice would be to have someone with a good sense of graphic design do the displays. The more visually appealing the stories are, the more they will make an impact.

How do you encourage discussion about sustainability issues on campus? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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