Bringing about positive change
The Positive Impact Rating (PIR) is an assessment conducted by students and for students. For the second time, students around the world rated their business schools on how they perceive their positive impact on the world. The positive impact of business schools goes beyond their contribution to business; it is also about their positive impact on society.
Our university participated for the first time in 2021 and already in the first attempt, we were able to reach "Level 4 - Transforming Schools". Business schools on that level are described as universities that practice a positive and active impact culture and have the governance tools and structures to bring about social change. The sustainable corporate culture and the focus on sustainability in the study programmes were rated particularly highly in the rating.
“The results of the PIR show clearly the transformation we have made in the last years to not only integrate the ecological sustainability topic but rather provide a holistic view in all of our business programmes. By Fall 2021 all our bachelor programmes will include a course on ethics and sustainability engaging students to critically assess their own deeds as future business leaders.”, says Academic Head Martin Waiguny about the results of the rating.
Numerous ideas and suggestions on how we can improve further
At the end of the survey, our students were also asked to give their inputs for a better future. According to the survey, the students appreciate, among other things, the focus on sustainability in the degree programmes, the international orientation as well as a motivating atmosphere that encourages discussions and creative thinking. Digital course offerings are also appreciated because of the saved mobility as well as for reasons of increased accessibility and should therefore not disappear from the didactic mix of our university in the coming years.
The students see potential in the learning materials used: Here, for example, hardcopy books and the use of flipcharts should be avoided and instead more digital solutions should be used. In general, the respondents are in favour of an even stronger focus on the topic of sustainability in lectures and extracurricular offers in the future. For example, students would appreciate more best practice examples from sustainable companies, events on the topic and the opportunity to come into contact with (regional) sustainability champions and NGOs.
Unique commitment in Austria
A total of 47 business schools from 21 countries took part in this year's international rating. Four universities reached the highest level 5 "Pioneering Schools", 23 others share level 4 with our university. Our university of applied sciences is the only Austrian university that participated in the rating and one of only two universities in the German-speaking countries that made it to level 4 in the rating.
Case Study: Acting more sustainably as a university
We are particularly pleased that our efforts in the area of sustainable action have even been taken up and recognised in the Positive Impact Rating's new Case Study Series. Under the title Transitioning to a sustainable higher education institution, our path to becoming a sustainable university is outlined.
This year, we are also proud of our first sustainability report in accordance with the GRI standards, in which we provide a detailed overview of our measures in the 2019/20 financial year.
Sustainability can also be studied at our university
We have been offering the master degree programme Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement (Environmental and Sustainability Management) at our university of applied sciences since 2011. The aim of the programme is to provide students with the subject-specific and methodological competences that enable them to support companies and organisations in the implementation of measures and strategies for ecological and social sustainability in terms of both corporate and social responsibility.
In addition, the topic of sustainability is anchored, for example, in the Business Base Course "Ethics, Sustainability and Leadership" in all of our business bachelor degree programmes.