Turning a ‘black soul’ green: How CSR became a mainstay of business education

The Schulich School of Business at York University was among the first Canadian universities to integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into its offerings, including required and elective courses and endowed faculty positions. In 1992 and 1993 Schulich won funding for research chairs in business ethics and business sustainability. “Canadian business schools have been more advanced on these issues than those in other countries,” said Andrew Crane, the director of Schulich’s Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business, in the Financial Post Nov. 25. “This is partly because of the global orientation of Canadian schools. They have very international faculty and students, and they think outwards – training students to work everywhere, not just in Canada. Schulich is a good example of that, because more than half of our faculty and students come from overseas.” Read full story.

Ahead of the curve: Recent international focus in business schools allows grads to tackle CETA head on
Many schools have long been expanding curriculum associated with growing overseas markets. Others, like York University’s Schulich School of Business, have also added an entrepreneurial component. Schulich announced last week it will be launching its Centre for Global Enterprise to support teaching and research on international business for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as to provide them with consulting services in hopes of expanding into other regions, including the EU and Asia. “I think it’s absolutely critical that we take the best advantage we can of these trade agreements,” said Lorna Wright, director of the Centre for Global Enterprise and the EDC Professor of International Business, in the Financial Post Nov. 25. Read full story.

Nuclear faces long road as Ontario maps its energy future
Nuclear power suffers from that fact that its high, upfront capital costs must be amortized over 30 years in the case of refurbishments, and 50 to 60 years in the case of new reactors. Given the rapid technology transformation, a long-term bet on nuclear is fraught with the risk of the province being saddled with an expensive white elephant, said York University environmental studies Professor Mark Winfield in The Globe and Mail Nov. 25. But industry advocates insist that nuclear remains the best option for providing base load power – the bulk of electricity supply that is required regardless of the peaks and valleys of hourly and seasonal demand. Read full story.

How US re-shoring will force Canadian manufacturers to innovate – and change the very nature of the sector
In Canada, re-shoring is less pronounced – namely because few Canadian companies have taken advantage of global supply chains – yet a shift in manufacturing is still evident. “Whatever trickle of business that comes back to Canada, there will be upgrades in skills and technology and I believe those will have to come from higher levels of people that have been let go out of the manufacturing sector or new entrants,” said Markus Biehl, a professor of operations management and information systems at York’s Schulich School of Business, in the Financial Post Nov. 25. Read full story.

Misdirected criticisms prove need for more reform in financial services
“I’ve been writing op-eds for the National Post for years. While I hope they inform opinion, it is rare to get much of a response. Hence my surprise that one co-authored with Ian Russell on the efficacy of rule-making by Canadian securities regulators has drawn several strident responses from some very distinguished industry participants, including one of Canada’s leading fund managers, preeminent plaintiffs’ counsel and a number of investor advocates,” wrote Edward J. Waitzer, director of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, in the Financial Post Nov. 25. Read full story.

Global recession forced business schools to focus on exposed warts, silos
For Kiel Depoe, the 2008 market collapse is what drove him back to pursuing his business studies at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto. “It was a big factor, mainly because I couldn’t join the workforce straight out of university,” said Depoe in the Financial Post Nov. 25. Having graduated with his master of finance in 2010, he is now an investment-banking associate with TD Securities Inc. in Calgary. With the recession so closely behind them when he joined Schulich, he says it became a focal point in his studies. “Rather than a textbook type of teaching, a big part of the curriculum was looking at leading indicators about something very current. That was on top of the basics. Had I been in the same program two years prior, it would have been a completely different experience.” Read full story.

Canadian SMEs need to be hungrier
York University’s Schulich School of Business last week launched a new think tank to assist Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in expanding into off-shore markets, as well as train management students to help entrepreneurs make that leap. The Centre for Global Enterprise is a partnership between Schulich and Export Development Canada, the Royal Bank, Scotia Bank and the Certified General Accountants of Ontario, reported Profitguide.com Nov. 26. . . . “It’s a win-win,” said inaugural director Lorna Wright, noting that international business students gain direct experience with a potential employer, while the company receives valuable strategic advice at no cost. “I don’t want Canadian SMEs to just go global. I want them to succeed.” Read full story.

Board games / The push for new blood in the boardroom
They’re called “zombies” – corporate directors who have served on a board for so many years they have lost energy for the job and are shuffling through the motions. . . . Richard Leblanc, a law professor and governance specialist at Toronto’s York University, said many directors grow attached to the work, the prestige and the pay, and are reluctant to leave voluntarily. He is concerned that long service makes some directors less independent from management as time passes. “Boards can ossify and can become entrenched and stale,” he said in The Globe and Mail Nov. 25. Since the global financial crisis, he added, “there’s less tolerance from shareholders. . . . There’s less tolerance for entrenched boards and there’s more acceptability of term limits, diversification and renewal.” Read full story.

Learning outside the law school bubble
“Experiential education has been a hot topic ever since I began studying law in 2011, although it was most definitely an important conversation before that too. My law school has placed particular emphasis on it and Osgoode Hall Law School’s clinical programs are, in my view, one of the school’s strongest selling points,” wrote Rebecca Lockwood, a third-year student at Osgoode, in Canadian Lawyer Nov. 25. “So I was slightly surprised recently when I heard some strong arguments against this pedagogical approach given experiential education’s widespread appeal in my daily environment.” Read full story.