It is not easy to add programs to an academic curriculum, especially in large institutions. However with experience over four development years at DePaul and with growing student interest, we gathered resources and the feedback of about 60 faculty from all over the University. We started by launching an executive 2 day Sustainable Management Workshop and 4 month Sustainable Strategies Lab, and tested courses and methods in an MBA Sustainable Management Concentration Then, we developed the MS in Sustainable Management proposal from a standing start to approval to the highest level of the University in just four months. in our presentation to faculty Council, we were greeted by unanimous approval and applause. Such speed and support is almost unheard of in academia. Here is the original proposal and then five years later we were asked to defend it, which we did successfully. But with the usual movement of faculty and administration, it requires constant attention to keep the interdisciplinary and interconnected curriculum together, student focused and current in such an ever changing field.
Entering students begin by statements about their purpose why they are pursuing the MS in Sustainable Management. They then start their coursework with several professors expressing interest and support in our student-centric Arc of Pragmatic Inquiry. So, in addition to their usual course delivery, they provide space for students to write a paper at the end of the course outlining how the material presented had help them in developing their overall project. At De Paul, four of the courses which were critical to this effort were:
- the environmental science course: “Sustainability Science: Environmental Limits, Human Needs, And Systems Thinking
- The finance course: ” Sustainable Value Creation.”
- the marketing or economics course: “Business, Society and Sustainable Economic Development” or “Ecological Economics: A Macromarket Perspective.”
- the capstone course: “Developing Sustainable Strategies: Capstone Practicum.
The main focus is to help students either interest within the larger context of some sort of a circular economy or what we often referred to as an “macro market ecosystem.” that is simply because every organization, profit, nonprofit, government is designed to provide some good or service to society. We have taught this either through the marketing department as a “Sustainable Marketing” course, or through the economics department as a variation of Ecological Economics.
Their final project is to present some idea to intervene in the system to make it more sustainable and most importantly what values – their own and their organization are driving the strategy.
The degree concludes with a practicum/capstone course based on challenging students to inquiry pragmatically into a particular management challenge to further sustainable management development Here is an overview of the course:
Here is the template Arc of Pragmatic Inquiry website the students used to develop their Capstone: