Wednesday, September 15, 2010

West Michigan's Green Academic Offerings

With the exception of the Pacific Northwest, West Michigan offers the best sustainable education programs of any region in the country. West Michigan offers a wide array of green educational programs from graduate degrees to professional certification courses.

Aquinas College was the first school in the US to offer an undergraduate program in sustainable business in 2003. In 2010 they launched a sustainable business master’s degree program.

Aquinas College also has a certification course that began in 2009, it is designed to update the skills of professionals working in the field. The Professional Certificate Program in Sustainable Business includes six three-hour sessions, with two core sessions that are required plus four electives. The course covers topics such as energy systems and policy, corporate social responsibility, industrial ecology, life-cycle assessments, metrics and reporting. The college also has other professional certification programs in sustainable business practices including carbon management. For a complete list of the schools educational programs go to the Center for Sustainability.

In the fall of 2010, Davenport University in Grand Rapids began offering a post-baccalaureate sustainable business-development certification, and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo has significantly enhanced its “green manufacturing” program.

Many schools in Michigan are incorporating sustainability into their academic programs. One school, Grand Valley State University, is incorporating sustainability throughout its entire curriculum.

Following the office furniture industry and the green building movement's adoption of sustainable business practices, higher education is responding to the market demand for sustainable skills in West Michigan.

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