MISSOULA – A University of Montana accounting professor has been nationally recognized for his course that teaches students how to measure the social and environmental performance of businesses.
Kent Swift, professor of accounting in UM’s College of Business, recently earned honorable mention for this year’s Dr. Alfred N. and Lynn Manos Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business, from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina for his Sustainability Reporting course at UM.
Swift said he created his reporting course because companies are increasingly tasked with presenting their social and environmental performance through annual sustainability or corporate social responsibility reports. In addition to reviewing sustainability reports, the course provides business students a set of tools to analyze the quality of such reporting.
“The sustainability reporting course provides students with the skills needed to understand and analyze the metrics used for measuring a company’s environmental and social performance,” Swift said.
Award winners were recognized for their efforts to introduce, or substantially upgrade, sustainability into national and international business school curricula. Swift’s course is part of the Sustainable Business Certificate program offered at UM through the College of Business.
The Page Prize committee evaluated the pool of submissions based on course content, originality and ability to replicate across other universities and programs. While innovative approaches to relevant sustainability issues set some courses apart from others, overall course design, new approaches for conceptualizing sustainability, new sets of reading, thought-provoking questions accompanying the reading and clear descriptions of assignments were valued.
UM College of Business Interim Dean Suzanne Tilleman said Swift’s award speaks directly to the cutting-edge business education UM students receive.
“We’re delighted to celebrate Dr. Swift’s accolade from peers and the Page Prize award for his leading work in infusing sustainability reporting into the College of Business and UM curriculum,” Tilleman said. “The impact of measuring and reporting on these efforts cannot be understated, as companies continue to improve their impact on the environment and society, sustainability reporting is a priority for many businesses. Thanks to courses like Swift’s, UM students are fully prepared to enter the workforce with an in-demand skillset.”