Syllabus: Business of Sustainability, Spring 2015

Ramapo College
College of Social Science and Human Services
Master of Arts Program in Sustainability Studies

SUST64XXX CRN XXXXX | SSEC Classroom | M 6:00 - 9:30 P.M. | Schedule | Bulletin Board
Professor Wayne Hayes, Ph.D 201-684-7751
Office Hours:
G-231: M&R 12:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
SSEC: M 5:00 - 6:00 P.M.
G-231: W 5:00 - 6:00 P.M.
and by appointment

Course Description

The Business of Sustainability course takes up the challenge of working out an ethical and strategic analysis upon which to base economic policy and business practices.  This challenge extends the principles of sustainability to corporate social responsibility and accountability.  The purpose of the course is to provide sustainability practitioners an understanding of how economic policy and business practices can appropriately and ethically enhance sustainability.

The Business of Sustainability takes up the challenge of working out an ethical and strategic analysis upon which to base business models and practices, civic action, and public policy, incorporating the Triple Bottom Line. Operational organizational, investment, practical, and analytical skills and methods must extend to industries and firms as they shift to an era of sustainability.


The purpose of Business of Sustainability is to provide stakeholders an overview of how economics and business might appropriately and ethically enhance world sustainability. Two goals guide our course for its students:

  1. You must discover and demonstrate ways to think practically and strategically about the interactions of economics and sustainability at the macro- and the micro-level of analysis. Such thinking must be grounded in the Business of Sustainability.
  2. You must contribute a research project demonstrating how to promote the business of sustainability. That is, you should make economic principles of sustainability practicable to your life and career.

Books and Resources

Please purchase these two books for our course:

  1. Marc J. Epstein, Making Sustainability Work: Best Practices in Managing and Measuring Corporate Social, Environmental , and Economic Impacts (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2008)
  2. Peter Senge, The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World (New York: Doubleday, 2010)

Your professor will maintain an active web site and a wiki for presentation of lecture notes, distribution of course material, class interaction, and links to web-based content. The course schedule indicates assignments and the flow of the course. Course material can be downloaded there.The goal of the web site is to offer to students a toolkit for the Business of Sustainability.

Grading Policy

Students are responsible for attending class, for all material covered or assigned, for completing assignments on time, and for participating in class exercises and discussions. Reading assignments should be done before the class for which they are assigned. Students are expected to present their own original thinking for writing assignments, oral presentations, and class discussions.

  1. A term paper proposal counts 6 points. This assignment is due by February 10.

  2. Your report on The Necessary Revolution counts 16 points and will be due on March 3.

  3. A term paper draft will count 10 points. This assignment is due by March 31.

  4. Your report on Making Sustainability Work counts 16 points and will be due on April 14.

  5. A ten minute class presentation of your term paper @ 10 points. Expect 10 minutes of discussion. The presentations are scheduled for class on April 28.

  6. The term paper (or other approved project) of at least 12 double-spaced pages based on your proposal, above, counting 32 points. The term paper or project should support economic aspects of your anticipated final project or contribute in any other way to your goals as a student pursuing advanced study around an economic aspect of a theme related to sustainability. The paper will be graded as to depth, content, writing style, and integration. The project is due by May 5.

  7. Active contribution to the class by constructive participation @ 10 points.

Grades will be rounded off and scaled as follows: A = 93 and above; A- = 90 to 92; B+ = 87 to 89; B = 83 to 86; B- = 80 to 82; C+ = 77 to 79; C = 73 to 76; C- = 70 to 72; D+ = 69 to 67; D = 66 to 60; and F < 60. Notice that there are no in-class exams. Please see the Ramapo College Catalog grading policy. A Pass/Fail grade must be initiated by the student by September 18, 2013, as indicated in the spring 2015 academic calendar.

Attendance, of course, is mandatory. Perfect attendance will be rewarded with a bonus of two points. Missing a single session will be held as neutral. After that, each missed session will lead to a deduction of four points. Missing a significant portion of the class session, such as arriving late or leaving early, will lead to a prorated deduction at the discretion of the professor. Excused absences, counting as half an absence, may be granted for good cause, but may require documentation and should be arranged in advance whenever feasible. Holy days will be respected. College policy states that students must notify faculty within the first three weeks of the semester if they anticipate missing any classes due to religious observance.

Policy on Academic Integrity and Students With Disabilities

Academic Integrity: Students are expected to read and understand Ramapo College's academic integrity policy, which can be found in the Ramapo College Catalog. Members of the Ramapo College community are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavors. Students who violate this policy will receive a failing grade and may be referred to the Office of the Provost for further disciplinary action.

Students with Disabilities: Students who need course adaptation or accommodations because of a documented disability or related special circumstance should work with the Office of Special Services to appropriately inform faculty of their needs.

Wayne Hayes, Ph.D. | Initialized: 11/12/2009 | Last Update: 09/25/2013 | V. 7.0, Build #25