Lessons from Learning Diaries for Sustainable Business Education
Trudy Heller, Ph.D.
Executive Education for the Environment
225 Vassar Avenue
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania  PA 19081   USA
1-610-543-0499  heller@ExecEd-environment.com
Advancing the goal of sustainable development requires effective strategies for educating business and environmental professionals. This poster will present preliminary findings from learning diaries of MBA and Environmental Studies students in the graduate course, Business and the Natural Environment. Students were asked to record their personal reactions to discussions and readings after each class.

 An early sample of 25 diaries from three classes was analyzed. The poster will present themes emerging from the analysis, and quotations from students. The poster format will promote dialogue on the interpretation of the students’ comments and on effective teaching strategies

 Emerging themes include:

= Never underestimate the lack of trans-disciplinary knowledge. Students with strong environmental values (enrolled in a Master’s of Environmental Studies Program) may not have heard about the many greening initiatives of industrial companies. An assumption of “preaching to the choir” is false. = A cohesive story line helps; a garbage can of problems and solutions is not compelling. Students report being strongly impacted by such grand ideas as A Second Industrial Revolution, as described in Natural Capitalism. On the other hand, students reported feeling “lost” during parts of the course that were less tightly connected to a coherent theme.
= Instilling hope promotes learning. Hope comes in surprising ways. Students report feeling hopeful after viewing a hard-hitting documentary video that shows the disassembly of electronic waste in China. The video includes horrendous scenes of environmental degradation and human health hazards. Students report that hope comes from thinking that “If only everyone saw this video, they would act to solve this problem.”

 My hope is that the poster will inspire other educators to join in the collection of learning diaries, so that cross-cultural and international comparisons could be made.



All Submissions
7:00 AM-5:00 PM, Thursday, 20 October 2005, Oral

The Nova Scotia, Canada 2005 Meeting