Effective Collaboration Leads to Broadly Applicable Student Programs

UMass Boston’s sustainability centre helped launch five clean energy and sustainability programs. Leaders describe the process and lessons learned.
Chelsea Hicks-Webster September 6, 2017
Benyamin Lichtenstein is an Associate Professor of Management and Marketing at University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston). David Levy is Director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC), housed at UMass Boston’s College of Management.  Levy and Lichtenstein discuss the development of clean energy and sustainability programs at UMass:

SERC recently helped launch five clean energy and sustainability programs at UMass Boston.  SERC began with months of scoping collaborators, both within the university and beyond. The Centre soon built a healthy relationship with the Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences department (EEOS). The pair then worked together to land $197,000 in government funding through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. This funded the development of the five clean energy programs.

Major Successes

Two major achievements of UMass Boston’s clean energy programs have been:

About the Programs

A brief description of each of the five programs is provided below.

Degree Specializations

These programs are available only to students already enrolled in a degree program.

Certificate Programs

Certificates make the content of degree specializations available to a broader range of students, including non-degree students and those outside the College of Management.

Benefits of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Programs

David Levy and Benyamin Lichtenstein share the positive outcomes of the clean energy and sustainability programs:

Advice on Replication

Levy and Lichtenstein offer advice for developing new interdisciplinary programs:

Choose collaborators carefully.

Possible collaborators for any sustainability project will be plentiful. SERC employed a graduate student to research related work happening at the university and beyond. The research found that departments as diverse as Sociology and Nursing had sustainability activities. To choose the right collaborators, Levy and Lichtenstein suggest:

Marketing a new program takes time.

Program enrollment may not be high the first year. It takes time for students to learn what your program offers and how it can further their career. Be patient. Develop demand and awareness, both on and off campus. In the current economic environment, it’s critical to demonstrate the availability of internships and career paths. Students are usually surprised to learn that the sustainable economy involves more than science and engineering for solar and wind. The sustainable economy also needs motivated people who understand marketing, accounting and product management.

More Information

Visit the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC), or contact David Levy or Benyamin Lichtenstein for more information.