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Campuses catch corporate responsibility fever

The corporate social responsibility movement is growing at universities across the country. The Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley has created the Center for Responsible Business, Stanford Business School has the Center for Social Innovation, and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has just begun the Initiative for Corporate Citizenship.

And the student-led Net-Impact, a non-profit organization for MBA students dedicated to using the power of business to improve the world, has grown to over 5,000 members with chapters in 75 leading business schools.

Ethics classes are increasingly required in business schools, but few tend to incorporate corporate responsibility as an integral part of business education.

Business school classes focused on sustainability, ethics or corporate social responsibility are very popular and even have waiting lists in some cases, says Doug Paxton, Program Director for Presidio World College, which is launching an MBA program in sustainable management.

Throughout the two-year program, students learn how to integrate ethical, social and environmental values with decision-making skills in business. Students are taught basic business skills such as managerial accounting, finance and operations, with special attention paid to companies that are implementing sustainability initiatives in their organizations. In addition, less traditional but increasingly important classes in "The Principles of Sustainable Management" and "Culture, Values and Ethics in Global Society" are also required.

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