The Moore School’s 13th annual Dr. Alfred N. and Lynn Manos Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business award winners were recently celebrated for their efforts to introduce or substantially upgrade sustainability courses or associated coursework into national and international business school curricula.
While many of the courses reviewed this year integrated new approaches to teaching sustainability in business education, this year’s award recipients set themselves apart by focusing on topics that have not been well-represented in business curricula. The Page Prize winners developed a sustainability course and content that will hopefully inspire others to integrate sustainability into their courses and prepare business school students for the sustainability challenges that businesses face. The winners highlight students as agents of environmental and social change and provide them the wherewithal to implement effective sustainability strategies as they enter the corporate world.
The grand prize winner of the 2020 Page Prize is Ellen Quigley, Ph.D., and David Pitt-Watson, both with the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. Their course, Purpose of Finance, addresses sustainability through the finance lens. Covered less frequently in business education despite the increasing role sustainability plays in finance, the graduate course offers deep, thought-provoking questions and challenges students to rethink traditional theory.
“The study of finance must surely begin with an understanding of the purpose of the industry. Only with that in mind can we understand how markets, institutions, competition, regulation, cultures and technology can be combined to create an effective financial eco-system that serves the outside world,” Quigley and Pitt-Watson said. “If that is so, then impact and sustainability are not a ‘noble add-on’ to the teaching of finance. They must sit at the heart of what we do. In this interconnected age, just about every institution in the world will need to address sustainability’s role in the coming years and decades — particularly financial institutions whose impact — for weal or woe — is so great.”
Covering another vital aspect of sustainability, Heather Ranson and Rachel Bond, from the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, were chosen as the honorable mention for this year’s Page Prize. Ranson and Bond developed a set of lesson plans designed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Since business schools are increasingly integrating sustainability content into their curriculum, these lesson plans provide an overview of each United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, learning objectives, a resource list, discussion and exam questions and in-class activities. Representing a starter guide for faculty who want to build on the SDGs in their courses, their materials can be adapted for either undergraduate or graduate courses.
“In encouraging faculty to include sustainability in their courses, we repeatedly heard that they felt unprepared and lacked materials or the time to develop business subject matter that related to the Sustainable Development Goals,” Ranson and Bond said. “This was the spark that encouraged us to develop 17 lesson plans, complete with readings, quiz questions and mini-cases that can be used across the business school from accounting to operations to integrate the SDGs into the curriculum. We are delighted to make this contribution to the Paige Prize database.”
This year’s pool of submissions included courses being taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels in business schools around the world. The courses covered a range of topics. Compared to previous years, there was an increased emphasis on multi-disciplinary understanding and quantitative analysis of sustainability trade-offs and performance through the development and implementation of sustainability strategies. Several submissions included unique speakers and projects embedded in the business school/local community. This year, there was also an increase in the number of resources that were submitted to guide professors in the integration of sustainability into their courses.
The Page Prize committee evaluated the pool of submissions based on course content, originality and ability to replicate across other universities and programs. While innovative approaches to relevant sustainability issues set some courses apart from others, overall course design, new approaches for conceptualizing sustainability, new sets of reading, thought-provoking questions accompanying the reading and clear descriptions of assignments are valued. Based on these criteria, two award winners were selected.
The syllabi and materials for the award-winning courses are maintained in a searchable database for other educators to use in the development of their own sustainability courses. The Page Prize demonstrates the Moore School’s continuing commitment to promoting the development of sustainability curricula and being a leader in business education.
Learn more about the Page Prize. The call for submissions for the 2021 Page Prize is now open; the deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2022.