Categories: Press Releases
Corporate Knights releases its 2011 Business Knight Schools Survey
(Toronto, ON - September 22, 2011) The bulk of Canadian schools are blinded by the status quo, the fact that leading schools are mapping out a path to sustainability.
Today, Corporate Knights Magazine unveils the eighth-annual Knight Schools ranking. The ranking analyzes how Canadian universities fare in integrating sustainability into the school experience.
In reviewing MBA and undergraduate business programs, Corporate Knights adopted a broad definition of sustainability that encompassed environmental and social concerns. Issues of social justice, human rights, professional conduct, cultural diversity, climate change, and conservation were considered.
The survey, modeled after the US-based Beyond Grey Pinstripes Survey, scored the programs in the areas of institutional support, student initiatives, and course work. The survey also encompassed Canadian law school and teacher education programs.
There is a clear leader in this year's MBA program ranking, York University's Schulich School of Business. With a score of 94.6, the school consistently excels across all three evaluated categories: institutional support, student-led initiatives and coursework. Other notable performers in the MBA ranking are the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University (74.3 per cent), and the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta (70.9 per cent).
Among undergraduate business program, the Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo led the pack, with a score of 75.6 per cent. A strong focus on the environment and sustainability in required coursework helped set Waterloo apart from the rest. The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University also performed well in the undergraduate program ranking, following closely behind with a score of 71.4 per cent.
Despite a strong performance by the top-ranked schools, the vast majority of MBA and undergraduate programs obtained a score of 50 per cent or less. For MBA and undergraduate programs, consistently low scores were observed in institutional support and coursework. Particularly, greater support and incentives for students to participate in sustainability-themed internships is needed; over 50 per cent of undergraduate business and MBA programs offered no relevant internships or consulting programs.
Among Canadian law schools on the sustainability score, the Juris Doctor program at the University of Toronto led the pack this year with a total score of 88.9 per cent. Following on their heels was the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University (79.8 per cent), along with the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.
While it is evident that sustainability and its related themes in law have not been a priority in legal education, nearly all law schools analyzed scored perfect marks on research initiatives and student-led initiatives. So, it appears that there is a strong faculty and student interest in sustainability legal issues, but that has not yet transferred to the required curriculum.
The fourth and final ranking focused on teacher education programs, with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto excelling in every part of the survey, scoring a promising 91.3 per cent and placing it more than 20 per cent above all other institutions. The program is based on seven principles, including "equity, diversity, and social justice," which are strongly reflected institutionally. It was the only institution to offer an environmental and sustainability education course, as well as a myriad of other specialized classes.
What about the other teaching education programs? Most of them have at least some inclusion of ethics training, and courses on diversity and inclusive education for children with special needs are encouragingly common. But this is where most institutions draw the line, as all other sustainability-oriented courses (if offered) are electives. We hope that teacher education programs will evolve to incorporate concepts of social justice, environment and sustainability as OISE has done.