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Workshop Facilitates Cross-College Connections in Sustainability Research

The Penn State Smeal College of Business held a Sustainability Research Workshop earlier this month, encouraging faculty in all business disciplines to share their current sustainability-related research.
November 19, 2013

The Penn State Smeal College of Business held a Sustainability Research Workshop earlier this month, encouraging faculty in all business disciplines to share their current sustainability-related research.

Several faculty members from other colleges, including the College of Communications, the College of Engineering, and the College of Agricultural Sciences, also attended.

“My hope is that this workshop has served as a catalyst for research collaborations among Smeal faculty and also among colleges to advance our understanding of business issues in sustainability,” said workshop facilitator Gerry Susman, who directs the Smeal Sustainability Council.

“My hope is that this workshop has served as a catalyst for research collaborations among Smeal faculty and also among colleges to advance our understanding of business issues in sustainability.”

The one-day workshop, held in the Business Building on Penn State’s University Park campus, consisted of two parts. In the morning, 10 short presentations from Smeal faculty and doctoral students featured current research projects. The afternoon included breakout discussion groups for faculty to make connections and explore further research ideas and collaborations.

In addition, Dean Charles Whiteman has committed to support sustainability-related research proposals, particularly those fostering cross-department or cross-college collaboration.

“We are dedicated to infusing our curriculum, our research, and our business with a focus on sustainability,” said Whiteman, the John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. “I’m proud of the level of research we conduct here at Smeal, and I’m committed to supporting our developing expertise on the forefront of sustainability issues.”

Some of the topics that faculty members and doctoral students presented included how corporate responsibility initiatives affect the buyer-seller relationship, the ways in which corporate accountability reporting can influence cases of misconduct, and how the remanufactured product market is hampered by consumer perception.

In 2011, a similar workshop focused on incorporating sustainability-related concepts into the curriculum.

The Smeal Sustainability Council is dedicated to the study of sustainable business practices and was formed in response to the sustainability aspect of the college’s five-year strategic plan. The council consists of more than 15 key faculty and administrators from across the college.

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