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Syllabus for SUM-501



Principles of Sustainable Management introduces students to the topic of sustainable management in organizations. Sustainable management views the goals of an organization (its product and/or service-providing mission) through a long-term, environmental and social cost/benefit mental model. The course provides background on the social, economic, and environmental sustainability challenges facing managers today and explains the trade-offs and payoffs involved in striving for zero waste, both social and planetary. In addition, it provides tools that will help students guide organizations along appropriate paths to become more sustainable.

Through this course students learn from the key leaders and the important literature in the field about the global issues challenging today's sustainable managers. Students will also develop their capacity to think critically about the role their organizations have played or can play in building a more sustainable world.

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Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Course Objective 1 Explain the meaning of sustainability as well as its importance to the long-term viability of an organization .

  • CO 2 Discuss the ethical implications of sustainability and sustainable management practices.

  • CO 3 Identify key aspects of a sustainability enterprise .

  • CO 4 Evaluate the current state of sustainability within an organization.

  • CO 5 Apply management concepts to the development of a viable sustainability strategy.

  • CO 6 Discuss the role of the manager in driving an organization toward sustainability, including the use of metrics.

  • CO 7 Evaluate change management approaches for implementing sustainability objectives.

  • CO 8 Analyze how specific organizations have implemented sustainability strategies and sustainable management practices.

  • CO 9 Analyze ways to engage all stakeholders in implementing sustainability.

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The following materials are required to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

Wirtenberg, J. et al. (2009). The sustainability enterprise fieldbook: When it all comes together. New York: AMACOM.

ISBN-13: 978-0-8144-1278-7

Senge, P. et al. (2008). The necessary revolution: How individuals and organizations are working together to create a sustainable world. New York: Doubleday.

ISBN-13: 978-0-385-51901-4

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Principles of Sustainable Management is a three-credit graduate course, consisting of four modules.

Module Module Title and Topics/Key Ideas
1 The Meaning and Importance of Sustainability Management

1.01  Today’s unprecedented organizational challenges
1.02  The Industrial Age: benefits and legacy
1.03  Shifting the burden: externalities
1.04  The 80-20 challenge
1.05  The transformative role of business
1.06  The business case for sustainability
1.07  The importance of value alignment
1.08  Qualities and practices of a sustainable enterprise
1.09  The sustainability pyramid
1.10  Attributes of successful sustainability managers
1.11  Seeing entire systems, not just parts of systems
1.12  Managing a regenerative enterprise
1.13  Creating desired futures
1.14  Sustainability value framework
1.15  Sustainability drivers

2 Key Qualities of a Sustainable Organization

2.01  Core values of sustainability
2.02  Command and control management and its alternatives
2.03  Self-organization: pros and cons
2.04  The Leadership Diamond
2.05  Domains of leadership
2.06  Practices of sustainable enterprises
2.07  Organizational culture
2.08  The process enneagram
2.09  Mental models
2.10  Appreciative inquiry
2.11  Sustainability strategies
2.12  A strategy formulation model
3 Managing Change to Achieve Sustainability

3.01  Importance of managing change
3.02  Triple bottom line metrics
3.03  Transforming enterprise cultures
3.04  Reframing organizational opportunities
3.05  The importance of quick wins
3.06  Learning from living systems
3.07  Creative tension versus emotional tension
3.08  Prototyping
3.09  Networks of common purpose
3.10  Lenses of sustainable globalization
3.11  Going beyond financial metrics
3.12  Leveraging technology for growth
3.13  Finding potential in areas of poverty
3.14  The limits of growth
3.15  Geopolitical issues of sustainability
4 Engaging Stakeholders for Sustainability Results

4.01  Principles of employee engagement
4.02  Psychological dynamics
4.03  States of knowing and not knowing
4.04  Sustainability development indicators
4.05  Sustainability Management Systems
4.06  Business Metabolics
4.07  Financial performance indicators
4.08  Management and leadership performance indicators
4.09  Measuring enterprise sustainability strategy
4.10  Employee engagement drivers
4.11  The importance of dialogue
4.12  Four types of conversation
4.13  The ladder of inference
4.14  Engaging organizational renewal
4.15  Architecting participation
4.16  Using networks for collaboration
4.17  Engaging customers, supply chain, the academic community, elected officials and other stakeholders
4.18  Building shared commitment

For the course's instructional modules, go to the Course Content area of the course Web site. (See also the course Calendar.)

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Within each module you will participate in one or more online class discussion forums. All discussion forums take place asynchronously on the class Discussion Board.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion board interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Click link for an Evaluation Rubric.

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Each module contains several types of assignments:

  • Reflection Exercises (one per module): These assignments ask you to reflect on key course elements in written assignments of 1 to 2 pages.
  • Written Assignments (one or more per module): These assignments ask you to discuss or analyze key course concepts in written assignments of 1-1/2 to 3 pages.
  • Module Papers (one per module): In each module you analyze a question thoroughly in a paper of 2 to 5 pages. You are encouraged to do research and bring in outside resources (including videos from the course site) into these papers; be sure to cite any sources correctly in APA style.

The last module contains directions for your final project (see below).

Click the appropriate link for the evaluation rubrics for these assignments:

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A final paper of 10 to 15 pages is an opportunity for you to synthesize and then demonstrate what you have learned in this course. You will develop a detailed proposal for leading a sustainability initiative in an organizational context with which you are familiar. It could be one in which you are currently working or an example from your reading. You will consider yourself to be the leader of this sustainability initiative; your paper is an opportunity to "sell" the idea to the executive committee of this organization. A full description of the paper and its requirements is found in the Final Paper Assignment in the Course Content area.

Click the link for the evaluation rubric:

A Note About Research

The use of Wikipedia or other online encyclopedias for graduate-level papers is inappropriate. Aside from the uneven quality of the information that may be found in these sources, the real issue is that the information presented in these sources is "already digested." Use of such sources is an unacceptable shortcut for the graduate student. Students gathering information from these sites are essentially obtaining analyses done by someone else, not doing the work themselves. Rather than exploring the literature on a subject, such students are merely using the words of others who have already taken this vital step in academic research. It is imperative that graduate students be able to search the more academically-oriented literature, sift through useful (and not so useful) information, analyze, synthesize, and report the results of their activities. All of these steps are bypassed if information is cited from an online site such as Wikipedia. To sum up: Using information summarized or annotated by someone else is an unacceptable shortcut for a graduate student.

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Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

Online discussions 10 percent
Written Assignments 25 percent
Module Papers 15 percent
Reflection Exercises 10 percent
Final Paper 40 percent

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., written assignments, papers, etc.). You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. (Note: Graduate students must maintain a B average to remain in good academic standing.)

Letter grades and their numerical equivalents are as follows:

A = 93–100
= 90–92
B+ = 88–89
B = 83–87
= 80–82
C+ = 78–79
C = 70–77
F = below 70

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Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  • Fabricating information or citations
  • Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  • Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  • Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  • Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Graduate Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism and advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

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Syllabus Index

This document contains the following main sections:

Course Description

Course Objectives

Course Materials

Course Structure

Online Discussions


Final Paper

Grading and Evaluation

Academic Integrity

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