Educating Worldshapers 5 2017-12-15T12:37:10+00:00

Educating Worldshapers 5

Sustainable Business and the Liberal Arts

Always a locus of innovation in higher education, in 1963, Goddard College introducted the first Adult Degree Program for working adults. This program has been copied around the world and since that date over 20 million adults have been educated using this innovative, intensive, student-centered model. In 2002, after 54 years, the college terminated its traditional age onsite experimental bachelor’s degree program. Today its 600+ adult students attend residencies in either Plainfield, VT, or Port Townsend, WA.

Another locus for innovation has been Antioch University. It’s New England campus not only has an MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability (see below) but Masters programs in Environmental Advocacy and Organizing. (see

Some liberal arts schools now see the importance of fusing entrepreneurship into their traditional curricula (see below) A good example is the Wake Forest Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts ( which also offers students opportunities to get involved in social entrepreneurship.

Bard College now offers an MBA in Sustainability. The Bard MBA curriculum is an integrated series of 19 courses taught over two years. Classes provide grounding in core business competencies with a focus throughout on the integrated bottom line: economics, environment, and social equity. From courses on leadership to operations, marketing to finance, and economics to strategy, the program builds sustainability from the ground up. The Bard MBA curriculum provides integration and focus. Click below to download a copy of the 2013-2014 Bard MBA in Sustainability Catalog.

Goddard College Master of Arts Program in Socially Responsible Business and Sustainable Communities

The Goddard MA in SRBSC is a new stand-alone graduate degree program that Goddard College began in August 2006. The program is offered in two formats: a two year full-time 48 credit master’s degree program and a one year full-time 24 credit certificate of graduate study program. Both formats will be delivered using Goddard College’s intensive residency graduate education model where all students are in residence in Plainfield nine days per semester and use a self-directed distance learning model otherwise .

The MA in SRBSC aims to help students acquire the resources they need to create and lead profitable, just, and socially responsible businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies; and in the process create sustainable communities that will assure a healthy, viable future for people and the planet.

The program offers students the opportunity to choose among three focused study areas: socially responsible business, social entrepreneurship, and sustainable community development.

Socially Responsible Business regards people, principles, profits, and the planet as inextricably interconnected. SRB uses the power of business to create positive social change through the creation of values-driven, profitable and sustainable businesses.
Socially responsible businesses utilize business, management, and ethical leadership practices that seek to create respectful, fair, and positive impacts for employees, stockholders, the community, and the planet. Socially responsible businesses balance multiple bottom lines such as profitability, quality of life for people, and environmental impact. The fundamental guiding principle of a socially responsible business is that business can do well by doing good.

Social Entrepreneurship is driven by a social mission. The explicit and central objective is to create positive and sustainable social change in the social sector by creating new models (not-for-profit, for-profit, or hybrids) that address entrenched social problems at their root. The criterion for successful social entrepreneurship is mission-related social impact rather than wealth creation as an end in itself.

Sustainable Community Development focuses on local community and economic development that is grounded in principles of sustainability. SCD supports the preservation of local character and/or improvement of the quality of community life by helping community members work together to create and implement their vision for a vibrant community, healthy environment, robust economy, good governance, and a sense of deep connection to their neighbors and world. Sustainable community development fosters democratic values, social and economic justice, environmental integrity, and respect and care for the community of life.

Each student in the MA in SRBSC program, in collaboration with members of the faculty, creates an individual degree plan that embeds their unique personal and learning goals. Student degree plans integrate self-development and experiential learning along with theory and skill mastery.

Antioch New England “Green “MBA
MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability

The purpose of the MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability (Green MBA) is quite simple; business as usual is not sustainable. The program is one of only a few interdisciplinary Green MBAs in the world. You learn what you would expect in an MBA program, plus the unexpected—a curriculum that considers not only sustainable business practices, but also the natural environment, leadership, systems thinking, and collaboration. The 45-credit MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability is a six-semester program with completion expected in two years. Classes meet approximately one intensive weekend each month, and for one weeklong intensive each summer. An online forum supplements learning between classes.

Fusing Social Entrepreneurship and the Liberal Arts

“Liberal arts colleges such as Connecticut College, Wake Forest, Roberts Wesleyan, College of Wooster, and Sterling College have all incorporated social entrepreneurship as an adjunct to their liberal arts curriculum. Connecticut College has developed a partnership with an angel investor who sponsors a social enterprise business plan competition. Wake Forest has developed a social entrepreneurship minor in its school of liberal arts. Sterling College also has a social entrepreneurship minor, and has developed partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and Feed the Children, both as a way of introducing its students to social entrepreneurship and training field staff of these two organizations. College of Wooster has started a social entrepreneurship program incorporating a nonprofit venture capital fund to seed new nonprofit business start-ups. Roberts Wesleyan had an Institute for Social Entrepreneurship where social work and business students work together to coach nonprofit organizations and small start-up businesses in business planning and practices. They have also established a partnership with local high schools to teach a Youth Entrepreneurship course.

With new institutional support for social entrepreneurship from foundations like Kauffman, Kellogg, Skoll, et al, there is a need for leaders who have the complex skills needed to run social enterprises. The challenge of social entrepreneurship is that focusing on both making money and fulfilling a community mission can be often seen as paradoxical. The mix of analytic, quantitative, ethical, and interpersonal skills needed to keep these sometimes seemingly contradictory goals in balance can perhaps best be taught in the liberal arts college. This is an approach, i.e., development of a social entrepreneurship course(s) or center that if followed by liberal arts colleges could significantly increase their enrollment and donor support. Students will learn ethical principles and a host of practical skills, which will stand them in good stead in many areas of the contemporary marketplace.”

From “Rejuvenating Liberal Arts Education Through Social Entrepreneurship”- Mark Pomerantz