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Beyond the bottom line

New Commerce course emphasizes experiential learning and community impact
Wanda Praamsma

The expectations of business are changing. Increasingly, businesses are being called upon to contribute to solving the world’s biggest issues. Organizations need talent that understands the changing role of business in society.

“Issues such as social impact, sustainability and ethics are no longer just a nice to have. They’ve become central to the work of businesses,” says Jean-Baptiste Litrico, associate professor and director of the Centre for Social Impact at Smith. “A business school like Smith has to anticipate these trends and equip students with the tools they need to deal with these issues effectively.”

That’s why Litrico is revamping the Commerce program’s mandatory course on social impact. “Business for Good—An Introduction to Impact-Driven Leadership” will replace “COMM 104: Introduction to Business Ethics”. The new course has received funding through the Queen’s University Principal’s Impact Courses initiative, which supports the development of teaching and learning experiences with a focus on the world’s most significant and urgent challenges.

“The intention is to give the new course a broader base and a more hands-on experiential component,” Litrico says. “Students will work as part of a team to address a social impact challenge submitted by a real organization in the community. It’s a wonderful learning opportunity and it’s a chance to actually make a difference.”

The new Business for Good course will be added for the 2023-2024 academic year.