A program with roots at Dominican is being added to the University’s graduate business offerings. Starting this fall, Dominican will offer an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise. Dominican has acquired the trademarked Green MBA program currently offered at New College of California. The Green MBA was among the first of its kind and remains one of only a handful of MBA programs specifically focused on corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and social justice within the business context.
In addition to gaining the Green MBA, Dominican will become home to the Environmental Finance Center for EPA Region IX (EFC9). The office, which is funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, coordinates the Green Business Programs for California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada. The office encourages businesses in those states to adopt source reduction, pollution prevention and energy efficiency.
The Green MBA was the brainchild of John Stayton and Jane Lorand, who will move with the program from New College to Dominican. The move is a homecoming of sorts for Stayton, who earned an MBA in International Business from Dominican in 1995. Stayton will retain his title as Green MBA program director.
Shortly after earning his MBA, Stayton began working with Lorand, who had formed the nonprofit Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship in order to develop the Green MBA curriculum. They launched the program at New College of California as an MA program in 2000 and as an MBA in 2002.
“New College was the perfect incubator for our program,” said Stayton. “Being part of a creative, alternative college gave us the latitude to develop a truly innovative, rigorous learning environment for sustainability change agents. But in considering the best institutional home to support our students in the future, Dominican had a lot to offer. The values of the institution, the beautiful campus in an ideal location, and the intellectual infrastructure were all key factors.”
The Green MBA provides a cohesive third offering to Dominican’s existing graduate business programs at a time when demand is growing for a workforce with an expertise in sustainability, said Dr. Christopher Leeds, Director of Dominican’s Graduate Business Programs. Dominican also offers an MBA in Strategic Leadership and an MBA in Global Strategic Management in its Division of Business and International Studies.
Dominican’s MBA programs began in the 1980s and, thanks largely to support from the Compton Foundation, have long integrated environmental sustainability into the curriculum.
“The Green MBA program is an excellent fit for Dominican, both in terms of our location and our existing MBA programs,” said Dr. Leeds. “Sustainability is becoming a part of many businesses’ strategy, and the North Bay is home to many businesses which are leading innovation in sustainable business practices. In addition, major corporations are beginning to use sustainability as integral to their strategic position globally.”
The Green MBA program is a four-semester program with classes held two weekends per month, Friday through Sunday. The curriculum consists of three major components: business fundamentals, sustainability, and leadership. Students work on solutions to promote financial viability, ecological sustainability, and social justice. Courses include Eco-Commerce Models, Managerial and Environmental Accounting, Diffusion of Innovation, Green and Social Marketing, and Ecological Economics.
The Green MBA program has received significant national attention — including a recent article in the New York Times — and is drawing students from around the world, as well as from California. Students receive a community-based, rigorous business curriculum and social milieu that are tailored to their social and environmental values.
“We attract students who are passionate about advancing environmental and social initiatives through business,” said Stayton. “Because we limit class size to 20 students, the classroom is a highly engaged, hands-on learning environment.”
About 45 students currently enrolled in the New College program will begin classes at Dominican in the fall. Spring 2008 enrollment is projected to reach 65 students. Two full-time faculty from the New College program, including the director of the Green MBA, will join Dominican’s faculty. Stayton plans on bringing the 10 adjuncts who currently teach in the Green MBA to Dominican.
Relocation of EFC9 to Dominican will give Dominican students access to conferences, internships, and governmental support for students and faculty via the EPA and other grants. Projects currently underway by the EFC9 include encouraging the use of healthy, non-toxic personal care products, working with southern California tribes to reduce illegal solid and toxic waste dumping, and introducing environmental product placement to the film and television industry.
EFC9 officials have been involved with the Green MBA program for several years and are relocating to Dominican in order to enjoy closer collaboration with the program.
“At Dominican, we will continue our efforts through projects such as promoting the California Green Business Program, encouraging use of healthy, non-toxic personal care products, working with southern California tribes to reduce illegal solid and toxic waste dumping, and introducing environmental product placement to the film and television industry. We look forward to new collaborative efforts with Dominican University and the Green MBA program,” said Sarah Diefendorf, EFC9 executive director.
“The prestige of having EFC9 at Dominican with the Green MBA will be increasingly significant as research and alliances build,” added Dr. Leeds.