June 12, 2018
The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business Curricula. Due to the quality of submissions this year, two grand prizes and three honorable mentions were awarded.
Grand prizes represent well-designed, innovative courses addressing relevant sustainability topics.
Diane-Laure Arjaliès, Ph.D. (Ivey Business School) — Assessing the Broader Impact
Arjaliès’ undergraduate course is focused on the assessment of the societal impact of organizations through defined frameworks and models. The evaluation of organizational impacts is an often-overlooked topic and one that is challenging firms today. While the course discusses theory, the field work required represents a novel approach and allows students to acquire hands-on experience with sustainability assessment.
George Serafeim, DBA (Harvard Business School) — Reimagining Capitalism
Serafeim’s (and Rebecca Henderson’s) MBA course encourages students to take a critical look at capitalism and understand the role that private firms have in addressing public issues such as environmental degradation and income inequality. The course is well-designed, includes up-to-date readings and reflects the recent trends in questioning capitalism. The perspective captured in this course challenges existing business paradigms and reflects new conceptualizations of sustainability.
Honorable mentions represent strong contributions to the development of sustainability curricula.
Bodi Vasi, Ph.D. (University of Iowa) — Online Platform for the Global CSR Community
Vasi’s online sustainability resource provides an excellent tool for all business educators in the development of their own courses. With a broad selection of readings, cases and videos, his website is arguably the single best resource for course materials focused on sustainability.
Cynthia Thompson, Ph.D. (Baruch College) — Leading Organizational Change for Sustainability
Thompson’s MBA course builds on a previous Page Prize winner’s course (Daina Mazutis – University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management) and addresses organizational resistance to and implementation of change. While this course is rooted in organizational behavior literature, it incorporates applied projects focused not only on organizational change, but also on personal change, which is often absent from sustainability business courses.
Michelle Westermann-Behaylo, Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam) — International Business
and the Sustainable Development Goals
Westermann-Behaylo’s graduate course is organized around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is one of the prevailing approaches that organizations are using to align their actions. This very practical course is unique in that it encourages the critical assessment of both company and industry strengths and vulnerabilities relative to the SDGs. This course is preparing students to help organizations struggling to map their way in a broader economic context.
More generally, there were several trends across the syllabi submitted. There is an increasing focus on aligning coursework with global standards, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, some of the more innovative courses moved past basic coursework and encouraged the critical assessment of existing paradigms and development of new business models as well as non-traditional conceptualizations of sustainability.
This year, the prize received a record number of submissions covering a range of business disciplines. The growing number of submissions demonstrates the increasing commitment of business schools to prepare tomorrow’s managers to lead socially responsible organizations that encourage economic development and environmental stewardship.
Now in its 10th year, the Page Prize encourages business educators to design rigorous, innovative courses that address the major social, economic and environmental challenges facing business leaders. All award-winning course materials are maintained in a publicly available database as a reference for other educators in the development of their own sustainability courses. As such, the Page Prize demonstrates the Moore School’s continuing commitment to promoting the development of sustainability curricula and being a leader in business education.
At the inception of the prize in 2007, there was a lack of focus on sustainability in business curricula. Over the last 10 years, that focus has shifted along with that of the business community. As a result, the nature of the submissions has transitioned from teaching basic principles to more advanced and innovative approaches focused on understanding, analyzing and developing strategies to reduce the impact of businesses on society and the environment.
The increasing rigor around sustainability in business education has led the Page Prize committee to evaluate each submission more critically. 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.