Kent State College of Business Administration's Responsible Leadership Initiative Promotes Business as Force for Good

Sdg Workshop


The inaugural year for the College of Business Administration’s Responsible Leadership Initiative (RLI) was marked by innovation and progress.


The initiative was officially launched in Fall 2017 under the leadership of Associate Dean for Graduate and Online programs Cathy L. Z. DuBois, Ph.D. and Assessment and Accreditation Analyst Brandon Shields. The initiative was introduced after the College became an advanced signatory to Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) and an associate member of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI). Both organizations are supported by AACSB, the leading international accrediting body for colleges and schools of business, which advocates for colleges and schools of business as a force for good throughout the world.


The RLI is aligned with the College’s mission and core values and demonstrates how business can drive achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established in 2016 by the United Nations Global Compact.


“We are delighted in the accomplishments of the Responsible Leadership Initiative to date and look forward to increased engagement and impact,” said DuBois. “College faculty and staff have been instrumental in making progress toward educating students on the range of ways in which business is creating societal and environmental value in addition to profit.”


Highlights of the initiative’s first year include:


  • A social media Snapchat campaign, PRME Time Thursdays, was launched to educate business students on topics related to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Previous campaign topics have included introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals and career opportunities in CSR. The current campaign engages local business owners through in-person interviews highlighting sustainable business practices and offering an entrepreneurial perspective.
  • A faculty workshop was held to promote deeper integration of the SDGs and sustainability concepts into the curriculum. The event featured a corporate panel of sustainability leaders from Davey Tree, GOJO Industries and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and a presentation by Kent State student Nahuel Alfredo Gorostiza, youth ambassador of Argentina to the United Nations.
  • Shields worked with software provider Digital Measures by Watermark to create a report that measures the impact of faculty research related to the Sustainable Development Goals. Based on his innovation, Shields was invited to speak at the Digital Measures by Watermark User Group 2018 event.


Progress on the initiative has been shared with leaders in higher education through presentations at several professional conferences including:


  • DuBois presented on the progress of the RLI at AACSB’s International Conference and Annual Meeting. Her presentation was titled, “Responsible Management: Engaging Faculty, Students and Staff with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”
  • DuBois and Shields presented at the premier sustainability conference hosted by AASHE on the topic, “Fast-Tracking a Comprehensive Responsible Leadership Initiative – a 5-Step Process.”


The College will expand its work in sustainability with local organizations through its Global Management Center in spring 2019. The Global Management Center will provide sustainability programs and services to businesses in the region, as well as support student internships and projects focused on sustainability.


In June, the College will co-host the 5th Regional PRME Chapter North America meeting at Case Western Reserve University’s Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The event will include sessions on how institutions and organizations can effectively integrate the 17 Global Goals within educational programming, research and strategic partnerships.


“The Responsible Leadership Initiative directly supports the College mission, which is guided by core values of respect, ethics, collaboration and a sense of purpose in all we do,” said Deborah F. Spake, Ph.D., dean of the college. “We aspire to produce business graduates who go beyond finding personal success. Our graduates will also pursue their purpose and passion through contributing positively to economic, social and environmental conditions where they work, whether in northeast Ohio or across the globe.”


For more information on the College’s achievements in the area of corporate social responsibility, view the college’s two-year comprehensive report, “Engaging the Dialogue.”



UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 07:57 AM