Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 48.23
Liaison Asheen Phansey
Submission Date Jan. 28, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Babson College
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Carolyn Hotchkiss
Dean of Faculty
Academic Management
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Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

“The second key theme in Babson’s curriculum for the next generation of students is social, environmental, and economic responsibility and sustainability (SEERS). Current global, social, environmental and economic realities necessitate that responsible educators teach students to consider issues beyond profit creation and shareholder value maximization. Students, as entrepreneurial thinkers, need to develop a more complex understanding of the relationship between social, economic, and environmental value creation and the inherent tensions and potential synergies that exist among the three. They need to understand the interests, rights and/powers of different stakeholders. The question students need to learn to ask is not whether a sustainability solution to a particular challenge is possible, but how to creatively develop, implement, and measure the effects of responsible and sustainable solutions. For reasons related to both conceptual development and historical use of language, we have moved beyond the PPP (people, planet, profit) language to develop the terminology of SEERS.”

“SEERS is more about asking a broader set of questions than it is about naming a discrete set of topics.” The types of issues that would be explored under this theme include, but are not limited to: business ethics; economic sustainability; minimization of waste, pollution, and natural resource use in production processes; ensuring products are disposed of safely; development and diffusion of new technologies; human rights and labor rights; ensuring an organization’s work-force maintains necessary health and skills; responsibilities to the communities in which organizations operate.

SEERS Elements in the Curriculum
“We do not presume to define the topics that each faculty member might address in their respective courses. Instead we will define some core questions or elements that can open up the way we think about the curriculum and can avoid a set of false dichotomies that might crop up if we organized our questions around "social impacts" as opposed to "environmental impacts" as opposed to "economic impacts." That is, we want to avoid a premise that assumes business is somehow set apart from society/community; that workers and consumers are somehow distinct from citizens; that industrial resources are somehow distinct from the environment; that shareholders are distinct from stakeholders; that industrialized countries are independent of developing countries; and that individual countries are independent of the wider world.”

“Purpose. The first core element is purpose. Does this course or discussion explicitly name and critically examine the purpose of the issue, decision, or process under consideration in terms that are broad enough to include social, environmental, and economic impacts?”

“Multiple stakeholders. Through the theme of “Self and Contextual Awareness” students gain a deeper understanding of multiple perspectives and can begin to consider the perspectives of, the impacts on, and the rights and responsibilities of multiple stakeholders with regard to the topic under consideration.” Is the course also examining how some stakeholders have more responsibility, rights, and/or power than others, and how effects are felt far outside the walls of companies? For example, multiple perspectives might encourage students to examine how the U.N. Global Compact’s provision on labor rights might look different from the perspective of a multinational corporation, a family-run business, a labor union, or a state.

“Metrics. The third core element of SEERS is metrics. Metrics considers whether a course or discussion explicitly names and critically examines what is being measured and what is not being measured in the performance metrics applied to the activity under consideration. Do the metrics examine performance across different time frames – long term as well as short term? Do they seek to measure externalities?”

Sustainability-focused courses concentrate on the concept of sustainability, including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions, or examine an issue or topic using
sustainability as a lens. Sustainability-related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue.

Has the institution identified its sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course offerings?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

An inventory for undergraduate courses was initially created by the Babson Energy and Environment Club in 2008-2009. An inventory for graduate courses was compiled for the Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey 2009. The current inventory was compiled in late 2010 using the previous inventories as a base, then a thorough search through the Registrar's course inventory, and by surveying all Division Chairs at Babson in conjunction with the Lewis Institute for the Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey 2011.

Courses were only counted once over the course of the past three academic years (from Fall 2008 to Spring 2011).

Does the institution make its sustainability course inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability course inventory is posted:

We plan to make the inventory available online on our new sustainability website, planned to launch in Spring 2011.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.