York’s business and law schools rank tops in social responsibility

When it comes to which Canadian business and law schools do the best job at infusing social and environmental elements into the student awareness, the 2006 Corporate Knights magazine survey found almost none do better than York’s.

Both Schulich School of Business’ graduate and undergraduate programs rank No. 1 in the third annual business school ranking by Corporate Knights, which calls itself the Canadian magazine for responsible business.

Osgoode Hall Law School ranked No. 2 in Corporate Knights’ first annual law school ranking.

Survey results were published yesterday on the Corporate Knights Web site and will be inserted Thursday in selected copies of The Globe & Mail. In addition to the law school survey, Corporate Knights published its first survey of 31 Canadian engineering schools.

Rankings for all three school surveys were based on the number of socially or environmentally related elements in three main categories: institutional support (speakers, internships, endowed faculty, institutes); courses (electives, required courses); and the number of relevant student clubs.

Schulich School of Business No. 1

The business school survey was jointly conducted by the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility organization and Corporate Knights magazine. It assessed how well Canadian business schools are integrating corporate social responsibility issues into the curriculum.

Schulich’s MBA program maintained its top rank this year among 34 in Canada. This is the third time it has come No. 1 in the Corporate Knights surveys. It also topped the rankings in 2003 and 2005. Placing second and third this year were MBA programs at the University of Calgary and St. Mary’s University in Halifax.

Schulich’s undergraduate program also ranked first among 46 in Canada, topping Trent, last year’s frontrunner. In third place this year among undergraduate BBA programs was the University of Calgary.

In a separate global survey conducted in 2005 by two United States think tanks – the World Resources Institute and the Aspen Institute – Schulich’s MBA program was ranked third in the world in corporate social responsibility.

Schulich Dean Dezsö J. Horváth (right) told Corporate Knights, “I believe that corporate social responsibility is the single greatest trend affecting management education this decade; in much the same way that globalization was the defining trend of the last decade. Simply put, any business school that does not teach social and environmental impact management cannot hope to adequately prepare graduates who can lead and manage in a modern organization.”

Osgoode Hall Law School No. 2

Osgoode came second after the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law in a survey of 21 participating law schools across the country. Dalhousie Law School ranked third.

Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan (left) told Corporate Knights: “One of the most important things we ought to be doing is in fact instilling in our graduates a moral and ethical view of themselves as a profession and their role as a professional. We come to that with the recognition that substantive knowledge in law is changing rapidly.”

In a message yesterday to the Osgoode community, Monahan said, “I am delighted to report that Osgoode has been ranked No. 2 law school in the country.” He added, “As fraught as law school rankings may be with empirical and evaluative problems, it is nice to know that in 2006 we had a first-place ranking in Canadian Lawyer’s law school survey and a second-place ranking in the Corporate Knights survey.”

The Corporate Knights survey singled out for best practices Osgoode’s Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre for the Study of Organized Crime and Corruption, among institutes and centres; and Osgoode’s Bachelor of Laws/Master in Environmental Studies, among formal joint degrees. It also gave special mention to the $33,000 per year Osgoode makes available to students specifically heading for social justice programs and noted that York’s law school houses the Canada Research Chair in Transnational and Comparative Law of Corporate Governance.

Due to a tabulation error that was not caught until after the magazine went to press, the rankings in the magazine edition were incorrect. Corporate Knights subsequently corrected the mistake in a notice in the front section of Monday’s Globe and on the Corporate Knights Web site.

Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. is an independent Canadian-based media company whose magazine focuses on corporate responsibility. Other surveys published by the company include the annual Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada as a Globe and Mail insert, and the annual Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, announced each year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The most striking finding of the survey, according to Corporate Knights editor Toby Heaps, was the breadth and number of student clubs that are dedicated to social and or environmental issues, contrasted with the dearth of similarly-themed course offerings. “This gap suggests that student demand for sustainability education exceeds the present supply and those schools at the vanguard are well placed to entice the most interesting leaders of tomorrow.”

For more details, including methodology and a breakdown on strengths and gaps, go to the Corporate Knights Web site.