Inside USD

Green Future: New Sustainabilty Certificate, Other New Programs

Monday, January 6, 2014

The new year is a time to consider new opportunities. This month, the University of San Diego will begin a new certificate program in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility that can provide a bright future for individuals working in environmental, green or sustainability fields or professionals seeking to move into the field.

Professionals and managers who have knowledge of both business and sustainability issues are in demand. More than 60,000 jobs nationwide now require knowledge of both issues, according to Ecotech’s Clean Jobs Index. But a recent survey by the MIT Sloan Management Review also found that more than 70 percent of companies had not developed a clear sustainability plan.

USD’s new certificate program offered by the Division of Professional and Continuing Education hopes to help fill that gap. The program will prepare professionals to lead their organizations’ efforts to comply with new regulations, standards and laws in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. All students will leave the program with a Sustainability Business Plan for their organizations.

“We see a clear need for a program to help professionals develop fundamental skill sets to manage their organizations’ compliance in these areas,” said Jodi Waterhouse, director of Corporate and Professional Programs. According to the MIT report, the more company employees and leadership teams understand sustainability, the more they evaluate and see opportunities for improved financial returns, better management and strategic market gains.

“One of the reasons corporations do not have sustainability plans is their lack of trained professionals within their organizations who can interpret the compliance information and their own corporate data to make informed strategic decisions about their companies’ sustainability plans,” Waterhouse said.

USD’s certificate program, which begins Jan. 20, will offer students six courses where they can learn the process for building a Sustainability Business Plan and how to incorporate this plan into the organization’s strategy, culture, mission and vision. Professors from USD’s highly ranked schools will teach the courses in the program. Instructors include Michel Boudrias, PhD, and chair of USD’s Marine Science and Environmental Studies and Simon Croom, professor of supply chain management.

Along with introductory courses in environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility, the program includes courses in measurement practices, the global supply chain and leading organizational change in sustainability. Students will also complete a capstone project in sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

“Those who begin the course in January could complete the certificate program by June,” Waterhouse said. “USD is well-positioned to play a prominent role in this educational field because of its strong commitment to sustainable business practices, its work on climate change and its designation as an Ashoka U Changemaker campus,” Waterhouse said. “Our program offers an academically rigorous program that has practical application for the sustainability community.”

The introductory course in sustainability will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. from Jan. 20 to Feb. 12. The certificate program can be completed for $3,391 and courses may also be taken individually. USD is offering new programs in other fields as well. Those include a new certificate program in Leadership Coaching with the opportunity to earn a nationally recognized credential in an emerging field and expanded course offerings in its Health Care informatics programs.

For more information about all these programs go to

– Liz Harman

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