Leadership by Design: Environmental Solutions and Sustainability

Our Flagship Course 

Moving toward a sustainable future requires effective action now. We need serious people who know how to succeed and how to work together for maximum impact. The aim of the course is to assist students in generating applied solutions and provide them with skills and tools for ongoing professional development.

 

Program duration – 14 days

Dates

23 May – 05 June, 2019          19 June – 02 July, 2019          26 July – 08 Aug. 2019

28 Aug. – 10 Sep. 2019            14 -27 Oct. 2019

 

Target group

Upper division undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals. We seek to create diverse interdisciplinary groups.

Course Video

Pre-requisites 

Upper division or higher standing in a related discipline; such as sustainability, environmental design, environmental management, biology, conservation, ecology, forestry, industrial ecology, corporate sustainability, policy, community development, anthropology, communications, business, etc. If you feel your experiences will allow you to fully benefit from the course, but you do not neatly fit in the preceding description of pre-requisites, please contact us and we will discuss your interest further.

Course fees

$3,400 US dollars. Includes all accommodations, meals, ground transport, airport transfers, course materials, and several recreational activities to help you enjoy and experience Costa Rica. Transportation to and from Costa Rica is not included.

Introduction

Students and professionals often lack key skills necessary for success in protecting our environment and creating a sustainable future. This course works to close gaps through lecture, discussion, workshops, field experience, and direct contact with effective and successful environmental professionals.

Students who successfully complete the course will gain skills for maximizing their effectiveness in implementing their projects and ideas by using proven tools and lessons learned over decades of environmental work – combined with their own ability to create, innovate, and design.

We will mix site visits with lectures, discussions, presentations, and case study based workshops. Many of these case studies will be those provided by the students themselves, giving them opportunity to share and develop their ideas and solutions in a constructive and analytical group setting, with critiques by the group, course leader and guest experts – a crucially important experience for real life success.

Rationale

Critical global issues need immediate and effective solutions to achieve sustainable development. We have identified eight key topics which frequently are not adequately understood and addressed by professionals in the field. These topics have been chosen based on decades of experience and analysis. We want our students to avoid the mistakes many have made before them by showing them these keys to effective solution design.

Goals and Objectives

Students will be have a fundamental understanding of each of the eight key topics and the skills, tools and resources to further investigate and develop their understanding and command of each of them.

The Eight Keys – the important topics every environmentalist should know & often does not:

  1. Interdisciplinary Environmental Analysis and Problem Solving
  2. Natural Capital and Payment for Ecosystem Services
  3. Life Cycle Analysis
  4. Corporate Sustainability and Business Economics
  5. Business Plan Contents – addressing the questions a good business plan answers
  6. Project Management Fundamentals
  7. Effective Environmental Communications
  • Design
  • Branding
  • Social Media
  • Presentations
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  1. The connections between Sustainability and Social Justice and where to find leverage

Students will learn to anticipate challenges and objections in order to design effective interdisciplinary solutions. Environmental professionals must be able to communicate their case effectively to a variety of stakeholders, including policy makers, the general public, and the business sector, to achieve the results they want.

Required Materials

Laptop computer or tablet – project(s) and topic information from home on one or more solutions or themes the student wishes to craft and develop. All other course materials will be provided.

Learning Outcomes

Students will have a fundamental understanding of each of the eight key topics and the ability, tools, and resources to further investigate and develop their understanding and command of each of them. Through the course activities, and their capstone project which they will create, critique and present, students will demonstrate their command of the course materials. They will also become part of our network of professionals, gaining valuable links and contacts for their future.

Assessment and Evaluation

Students will be evaluated by their peers, the course leader, and themselves on the basis of their participation, professionalism, commitment, and their capstone project. Students who successfully complete the course will be issued a certificate of completion and a written evaluation.

 

Sample itinerary – Flagship Course – Leadership by Design: Environmental Solutions and Sustainability

 Day1:

  1. Arrival Day. Welcome to Costa Rica! – airport pickup – Liberia International Airport (LIR) 
  2. Welcome and team introductions
  3. Travel to Lake Arenal
  4. Lodge check-in
  5. Dinner
  6. Orientation

Day 2:

  1. Breakfast
  2. Student introductions and interest discussion
  3. Team building games
  4. Lunch
  5. The 8 Keys
  6. Capstone project launch
  7. Dinner

 Day 3: Topic 1 – Environmental Analysis and Problem Solving

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Dr. Tom Wake – guest lecture
  4. Lunch
  5. Discussion session
  6. Visit Arenal Dam and hot springs
  7. Dinner
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 Day 4: Topic 2 – Natural Capital and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES)

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Dr. John Agard – Guest lecture
  4. Lunch
  5. Discussion and group workshop session
  6. Dinner
  7. Hike to Lake Arenal shore

 Day 5: Topic 3 – Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Dr. John Agard – mentoring session
  4. Lunch
  5. Wind power tour
  6. Waterfall swim
  7. Dinner

Day 6: Topic 4 – Corporate Sustainability Management and Business Economics

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Dr. Steve Tippins – guest lecture
  4. Lunch
  5. INVENIO University visit
  6. Tree planting
  7. Dinner

Day 7: Topic 5 – Business plans

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Lunch
  4. Rancho Margot Ecolodge and farm Tour
  5. Dinner

 Day 8: Fun and recreation

  1. Breakfast
  2. Go zip-lining, canopy touring, kayaking on Lake Arenal, or horseback riding
  3. Lunch
  4. Hot spring
  5. Dinner
  6. Brief capstone discussion
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 Day 9: Topic 6 – Project Management

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Ms.Cherrie Ann Joseph – guest lecture
  4. Lunch
  5. Discussion and group workshop session
  6. Dinner

Day 10: Topic 7 – Social Justice

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Ms. Patricia Turpin – guest lecture and mentoring session
  4. Lunch
  5. Tour of Sustainable farming initiatives
  6. Dinner

 Day 11: Topic 8 – Environmental Communications

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Dr. Sam Ham – guest lecture
  4. Lunch
  5. Discussion and group workshop session
  6. Branding/marketing professional – guest lecture
  7. Dinner

 Day 12: Topic 8 – Environmental Communications

  1. Breakfast
  2. Lecture and discussion
  3. Dr. Sam Ham – guest lecture and mentoring session
  4. Lunch
  5. Discussion and group workshop session
  6. Mrs. Denecia Grant guest lecture
  7. Cookout dinner

Day 13: Capstone

  1. Breakfast
  2. Capstone workshop
  3. Lunch
  4. Capstone presentations, analysis, and discussions
  5. Dinner
  6. Celebration of learning

 Day 14: Departure

  1. Breakfast
  2. Travel to airport
  3. Departure
Ecology