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Corvinus University’s community engagement pedagogical innovation wins UN Education Award

2024-06-19 10:50:00

A lecturer from the Corvinus University of Budapest and the Science Shop of the university received international recognition on Tuesday from almost 100 countries. The UN's Programme for Responsible Business Education (PRME) awarded the Hungarian institution in the marketing category for its innovative teaching methods that promote sustainable development.
Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

On 18 June, the 2024 Faculty Teaching Awards of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative of the UN Global Compact and the world’s leading business schools, were announced in New York. The awards recognise pedagogical innovations that contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the spread of responsible management practices through business education in the fields of management science, accounting and finance, and marketing. More than 800 institutions from 96 countries applied for the awards, five winners were announced, with only Corvinus colleagues from Hungary and Europe being honoured.  

 

Real-life challenges of community partners addressed in Corvinus award-winning course 

Corvinus University staff won the marketing category with a collaboration between the Corporate Social Responsibility course and the Corvinus Science Shop, which connects university citizens with non-profit and civil society organisations and social enterprises, supports the development of subjects, and the educational process itself with the methodology and tools of community-embedded education. Katalin Ásványi, Head of the Department of Sustainability Management and Environmental Economics, is the course instructor, while Science Shop was represented by Márta Frigyik and Réka Matolay, the organisation’s manager and director. The course for undergraduate students on Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) follows a community engagement learning approach. It is a semester-long course that is based on group work, builds on experiential learning and offers skill-building collaboration between students and a community partner for mutual learning. In doing so, PRME has rewarded collaboration twice, which also serves the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN SDG17. The collaboration is manifested not only in the diversity of actors within the course, but also in the development of the course, continuously since the creation of the Corvinus Science Shop in 2017.   

“The award is a celebration of collaboration,” said Réka Matolay, head of the Science Shop, at the ceremony. Manager Márta Frigyik shed light on how the Science Shop as a university institution supports this mutually beneficial learning.  

“Our methodology has seen us work with 12 community partners over 9 semesters, so we have worked on a wide range of issues: i.e., ethnic groups, children in state care, children in hospital care. The students prepare a CSR cooperation proposal for a selected company on behalf of the community partner, which the partner can use when approaching the company in person. The field visits, visiting the stakeholders of the organisations, are a central part of the project, bringing students closer to the case and to who will be affected by their project work,” said Katalin Ásványi, lecturer of the winning Corvinus subject. She added: “The method has allowed me to become more deeply involved in the teaching process and has created a learning environment that is different from traditional lectures and I learn a lot from it.  The development of the students and the success of the community projects was a motivating factor for me. I could see the impact of my work directly in the community, which gave me positive feedback and reinforcement.”  

Based on feedback from Corvinus students, there have been students whose attitudes have fundamentally changed as a result of the course, and they have become more aware of environmental and social issues, and have been guided on how to become more responsible individuals towards their environment and community. For some, the project allowed them to see the theoretical, practical, and scientific aspects of sustainability at the same time. The course can have a lasting impact on students by working with community partners. “It still happens that I think about the children with whom the Foundation worked. I think it is a very good initiative that the university is trying to find solutions to the problems of the foundations by actively involving students. I hope to have the opportunity to help foundations in the future,” said a former student of the course. 

The project encourages interactive, experiential learning, co-created knowledge, develops cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral thinking, problem solving, and fosters collaboration between students, academics, and community partners through innovative integration of scientific research and societal needs. In particular, students benefit from learning about real partnerships that go beyond individual projects, develop positive relationships with local communities, and not only learn about social challenges, but also find solutions to them. 

 

The quality of this year’s applications was outstanding, and Corvinus stood out among them 

“Overall, Corvinus’ application exemplifies impactful and sustainable educational practice, making it a standout team-based candidate for recognition,” the PRME press release stressed. “ The quality of this year’s submissions was truly exceptional, reflecting a profound commitment to integrating sustainable development into business education,” added Omid Aschari, PRME Senior Advisor. “The innovative teaching methods and impactful projects presented by these educators are truly inspiring and set a new standard for excellence.” In the other categories, the winners were from the US, Brazil and India: in the accounting and finance category, a faculty member from California State University, in the management category, the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and the Sao Paulo Business School shared the prize, while in the operations and analysis category, the winner was from the Goa Business Institute. The award-winning teaching projects are listed on the PRME website Award Repository | UNPRME and the work of the Corvinus team is described in the 2024 PRME Faculty Teaching Award | UNPRME. 

All of the winners presented teaching methods that are creative, thoughtful, pedagogically excellent, and effective in developing students’ skills to promote sustainable development. The jury also considered whether the proposals were in line with the objectives of the PRME’s Impactful Five pedagogical framework. They looked at how innovative and effective the teaching method is in supporting students’ learning and personal development and how far it goes beyond traditional classroom teaching. Through immersive experiences, practical applications, and reflective elements, the winners not only prepare students for successful careers but also emphasise the importance of ethical leadership, sustainability, and addressing societal challenges. By promoting critical thinking, collaboration, and empathy, the award winners have created transformative teaching methods that encourage students to become thoughtful and responsible leaders.

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GEN.:2024.07.15. - 11:57:59