Education News

M.S. in Sustainability Management Welcomes First Class

2010-07-02
Faculty of the new M.S. in Sustainability Management

Faculty of the new M.S. in Sustainability Management

On June 9, the Earth Institute and the School of Continuing Education held an open house at Columbia’s Italian Academy with over 100 admitted students for the new Master of Science in Sustainability Management program. The event gave students a chance to meet one another as well as to be introduced to faculty members and administration. Deans from the School of Continuing Education;  Steve Cohen, the program‘s director and executive director of the Earth Institute; and many of the faculty members associated with the program were present at the exciting launch of the program, a first for Columbia, the Earth Institute and the School of Continuing Education.

In reflecting on the evening, Professor Cohen was upbeat: “This event marked the first opportunity for incoming students and the faculty to meet and discuss the courses, resources and opportunities being offered through the new sustainability management program. All evening long I found myself inspired by the enthusiasm for this innovative program and this emerging field. I know it provides a great launching point for the program as we begin our first academic year.”

The students for the new M.S. in Sustainability Management have come to Columbia from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many have experience in the corporate and public sectors, in areas ranging from banking to the restaurant industry to the military. Some already have exposure to matters of sustainability through their work.

At the evening’s event, students learned about the newly designed courses they will be taking in five categories: integrative courses on sustainability management, economics and quantitative analysis, the physical dimensions of sustainability management, the public policy environment of sustainability management, and general and financial management. Specific courses include Economics of Sustainability Management, Global Environmental Markets, Sustainability Science, Sustainable Built Environment, Energy Efficiency, and the Policy and Legal Context of Sustainability Management. The content covered will include organizational management; business; architecture; hard-core science; and practical skills in team work, data-gathering and project presentation. Students will learn to connect environmental protection to organizational management by exploring the technical, financial, managerial and political challenges of effectively managing a sustainable environment and economy.  

At the event, students had the opportunity to meet the faculty of the new master’s program. Some of faculty have been teaching in Columbia’s policy programs for 20 and even 30 years, while others are new to the University, but bring experience teaching at other institutions and experience in real-world sustainability arenas, including law, carbon markets, public service and sustainable architecture. The program’s faculty includes:

  • Professor Steven Cohen is executive director of the Earth Institute and director of the M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy at SIPA. Cohen wrote a book for the sustainability management class, which is required of all students in the program.
  • Professor Howard Apsan, a member of the faculty at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs since 1986 and currently the director of environmental health, safety and risk management for the country’s largest urban university system, the City University of New York.
  • Professor Eron Bloomgarden, a graduate of Columbia’s M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy and Harvard Business School’s Program for Leadership Development, who works in the environmental markets business, having done pioneering work in carbon finance and emissions reduction project development.
  • Professor Satyajit Bose holds a doctorate from Columbia in economics and wrote his dissertation on the linkages between financial option valuation and the assessment of trade-offs in long-horizon environmental problems such as global warming.  Professor Bose has taught in Columbia’s M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy Program and has worked as an investment banker and in other positions in the financial sector.
  • Professor Luke Falk holds a master’s in urban planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and currently works as a project manager for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
  • Professor Carol Casazza Herman is an attorney with a practice that offers consulting services to business, public interest and academic organizations in environmental policy and sustainability programs.
  • Professor Kate McFadden has a doctorate from Columbia’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology. Her interdisciplinary course in the new program will explore the major scientific issues behind our understanding of sustainability.
  • Professor Brannen McElmurray is a United States Navy veteran with a J.D. from Stanford Law School, who works in the financing of renewable energy projects and carbon offset project development.
  • Professor Davidson Norris, a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, has broad experience in daylighting design and analysis for the public and private sector, and he currently teaches sustainable design and architectural daylighting courses at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
  • Professor Louise Rosen, director of the Office of Academic and Research Programs for the Earth Institute and associate director of the M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy at SIPA, has degrees from Columbia and the London School of Economics. Rosen’s class will simulate real-world situations that sustainability managers can expect to experience when working in private and public agencies. It will train students to work in teams to collect and organize data, solve problems, and issue and present reports.

The air of excitement was palpable at the June 9 launch. In a world in which we are more accustomed to the disappearance of traditional industries and positions, this program offers training for a burgeoning new professional field. According to Louise Rosen, “the new M.S. in Sustainability Management will offer students the training and knowledge base to meet the growing demand for a new cadre of professionals in the private and public sector who will need to know how to recognize and address sustainability issues that arise as well as how to manage organizations in a way that is synchronistic with the planet.”