Petition to keep MGMT 231 in its current form as part of The University of Auckland's Business School Curriculum sign now

October 2011

Dear Professor Whittaker,

We, the undersigned, MGMT 231 alumni and current students, as well as Business School staff, would like to express our collective abhorrence at the fact that the Business and Society course run by award winning lecturer Dr. Ross McDonald is being dropped from the Business School curriculum as of next year, or at least is not going to be run in its current form.

Many of us have felt a true personal transformation after having completed Ross' course. He teaches in such a manner that really allows individual reflection and critical thinking of important global and national issues. His course material could not be more relevant for business at a time where critical thinking is imperative in a world that is fraught with famine, war, political unrest, and corporate greed.

Business graduates from The University of Auckland ought to be equipped with the knowledge and power to be able to think critically of important global and local issues, in order to effect positive and constructive change for our society, as well as the environment, in which the economy is undeniably embedded. This is something that Ross McDonald achieves beyond doubt in the teaching of this course, and its follow-on course, MGMT 331 Business Ethics.

It is vital that The Business School gives its students the opportunity to tackle issues of global and national significance, particularly those pertaining to humanity, the environment, and ultimately, the global economy.

Let us not forget the fact that The University of Auckland is a signatory to an array of international networks, including the Universitas 21 Network of International Higher Education, the Worldwide Universities Network, and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. Signatories to the declarations of these networks have promised to commit to environmental and sustainability initiatives, including education around these issues. Notably, it has been highlighted by each of these initiatives as well as hoards of international research that a multidisciplinary approach is a prerequisite to tackling the globally important issues, many of which, are covered in MGMT 231. It is not right to leave these issues solely to the Faculty of Science or Arts to impart to their students. Climate change and global warming, and ultimately, global security, are undeniably business issues that business and business schools the world over have a moral responsibility to mitigate.

Additionally, there is a whole research sphere that heralds the need for universities and institutions of higher learning to include sustainability and ethics courses within their curricula, and indeed in their entire systems of operation. One need only do a Google search for "sustainability education" to understand the universal demand and the scale and scope of this matter. Indeed, our very own UofA libraries house hundreds of books on how to integrate sustainability and ethics education into tertiary course curricula. It has also been noted in international literature that business schools have a particular stake in sustainability education, and recently, the Worldwatch Institute in October 2011 announced that sustainability is a growing theme in business schools the world over.

We fear that The University of Auckland, and in particular, The Business School, will be left behind in this solid and well-justified global movement towards a more egalitarian, ethical, and sustainability focused curriculum.

We leave you with Dr. Ross McDonald's recent student citation for his Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award, and hope that a reconsideration of the above can be made.

MGMT 231 Alumni, and current students.

I am honoured and delighted to acknowledge today the outstanding achievement of Dr. Ross McDonald, recipient of the Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award.

Ross McDonald is an exemplary teacher, passionate and wholly committed. Not only is he concerned with the delivery of his often challenging and thought provoking course content, but he also ensures a novel teaching and learning experience.

Students are encouraged to engage in meaningful critical reflection, they are persuaded to ponder what sort of future they want to create for themselves, and they are challenged to think of ways they can enact that future.

Ross persuades his students to think critically about the world and the systems in place that are often taken for granted. He does this in a manner that subtly balances being both gentle and accepting, whilst also being candid and provocative. Students come out of the other side of his courses being thoroughly challenged with a newfound perspective of the bigger picture.

Ross’ commitment and passion for education is not only demonstrated here in our own back yard, but he also works very closely with the government of Bhutan in the development of the country’s curriculum.

Ross joined The University in January 1996. In the 15 years since then, I am certain of one thing: that he has made a lasting impression on every single one of the students who’ve been under his instruction. Indeed, a Facebook group was created in his honour over five years ago, where students have called Ross “inspirational”, “an absolute legend”, and even, “an undercover superhero”.

There is no doubt that Ross McDonald is a most deserving recipient of this award. I am certain that colleagues and peers of mine both past and present, together with all of you will join me in congratulating Ross on his commendable achievement.

cc. Professor Greg Whittred, Dr. Ross McDonald, MIB Department.

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Sian ColemanBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Alumni and current students of Dr. Ross McDonald's courses.

Petition community:
Myself, friends and colleagues


business ethics, capitalism, culture, global issues, society, sustainability


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