Greetings ONE members on behalf of the Teaching Team, and thank you for tuning in to the inaugural ONE teaching team blog. Beginning with this entry, Debbie De Lange, Dennis Heaton and I will be posting blog entries on issues or ideas related to teaching sustainability topics every two months, in order to provide another forum sharing best teaching practices in our field.
In this first entry, I would like to discuss research that Jonathan Doh and I conducted in 2012 on how well sustainability-related topics are embedded in business school curricula, and ask for your advice on how to better promote sustainability in our programs. In a survey of ONE and SIM members, we found that a plurality of responding teachers did consider the topics of CSR and sustainability as integrated into their curricula; however, only around a quarter of respondents felt that this was true to a great extent. Further, respondents used a great variety of approaches to teaching related subjects, including no theory at all, institutional theory, the natural step, and many others. Finally, respondents indicated that they faced a number of constraints in teaching CSR and sustainability issues effectively, including a lack of good teaching materials, a lack of immediate utility in the job market for students, curricular constraints, and the general mindsets of students and colleagues. Thus, while our survey was encouraging in indicating that sustainability-related topics were indeed becoming important in business schools, it also suggested that best practices for both teaching sustainability issues and successfully promoting their importance were still materializing.
Many great teaching resources are available for ONE members’ use including cases from the Erb and William Davidson Institutes, Oikos, as well as the usual sources of HBP and Ivey. There are also free cases from MIT Learning Edge. Further (and more importantly!), the ONE website offers a great repository of teaching resources including syllabi, exercises, cases and notes that members have freely shared and successfully used. We hope that ONE members will continue to share and add to this repository. We will send out requests on the ONE list serve in this respect and we look forward to your creative and up-to-date additions.
We are also wondering if members would be willing to comment on best teaching practices that they have developed or seen implemented in their departments or elsewhere for: a) organizing the variety of different theoretical approaches that can be used to teaching sustainability issues; b) promoting a coherent approach to teaching sustainability within programs and/or functional areas; c) embedding sustainability in the value-systems of faculty and student culture; and d) getting buy-in from skeptical students, colleagues, and/or department heads and deans. Thanks!
Pete Tashman on behalf of the Teaching Team