Programming sustainable managementA new master’s degree program through the University of Wisconsin-Extension focuses on a new paradigm of managing a business for long-term success.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
A new master’s degree program through the University of Wisconsin-Extension focuses on a new paradigm of managing a business for long-term success.
The paradigm takes into consideration the three Ps for success — profitability, people and planet — taking a holistic approach to managing resources, people and the business.
“A lot of private sector businesses and other kinds of organizations and local government are really looking for people that can apply that sort of systems thinking approach to decision-making of all types,” said Jerry Hembd, a professor with the University of Wisconsin-Superior who helped develop the curriculum for the new online degree.
The sustainability master’s degree program, like the sustainability bachelor’s degree program is about balancing business profitability with resources and the community, Hembd said.
“There’s been a long discussion — some might call it a debate — between economic development and the environment, and then the people part of that equation as well,” Hembd said. “Research is showing now, especially in the private sector, that what is good for the environmental bottom line is also very good for the economic bottom line.” It’s also true that is what is good for the people who work for you and the community is also good for business profitability, he said.
“By building in all three of those elements into your decision-making and how you approach all of your operations, it’s good for the community, it’s good for your bottom line and it’s good for the environment all at the same time.”
The Master of Science program, developed in response to student demand for a higher degree in Sustainable Management, was created by five campuses in the UW System — Superior, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Stout and Parkside, and draws from all five campuses rather than relying on the expertise available on a single campus.
“Since the Sustainable Management bachelor’s program was created in 2009, students have lobbied for a master’s degree option, said UW-Extension Dean David Schejbal. “They recognize, as do employers, that there is a critical need for experts who can lead sustainable business practices. In this economy, a company’s long-term growth is dependent on the ability to balance the triple bottom line of profitability, people, and planet. Our master’s graduates will be uniquely qualified to face this challenge.”
The degree is ideal for adult professionals who want to improve their career opportunities, whether in a new or existing position.
“I have been able to apply what I’ve learned in the Sustainable Management program to my work in the automotive industry,” said UW-Superior student Daniel Vores. “This degree has empowered me to develop new ways of looking at my company’s impact on the community and environment.”
Taught solely online, the program allows students to meet their educational goals while meeting other obligations.
“The online Sustainable Management degree has been ideal, allowing me to continue my education while working and raising a family,” said UW Sustainable Management student Keith Riley.
It also allows UW-Extension to offer a master’s program that brings together expertise in accounting, business, economics, logistics, botany, chemistry, environmental dynamics and environmental studies, geography, range science, resource management, computer engineering, law, psychology, sociology and urban planning.
“It’s a new paradigm in a way, but a lot of people are using it and finding it works very, very well, said Hembd, a professor in the Department of Business and Economics at UW-Superior and state specialist in community and economic development with UW-Extension.
Enrollment for the spring semester is underway.
For more information about the new master’s degree and the bachelor’s degree program developed in 2009, call 877-895-3276 or go to http://sustain.wisconsin.edu.