Sustainability 101 and the Certificate in Rural Sustainability

Examine key features for building sustainable communities with this series of five, one-day short courses designed to support increased knowledge, capacity and skills for sustainability in rural communities. Based upon a 5-pillar model of sustainability (governance, economic, environmental, social, and cultural), these courses focus upon the nature, origins, relevance, and application of the core, but complex, concepts that comprise sustainability and community development.

Courses can be taken individually depending upon subject of interest, or as a series for maximum program impact. Complete all five courses to receive your Certificate in Rural Sustainability from the University of Alberta - Augustana Campus.

Overview | Who is it for? | Schedule | Instructors

Overview Back ↑

The Sustainability 101 series of five, one-day short courses is designed to strengthen leadership in five core areas:

Governance for Sustainability

Opportunities (and challenges) lie in the relationships created between citizens, organizations, institutions and the goals and actions of sustainability in rural communities. This course examines these relationships from the standpoint of 5 major themes:

  • Sustainable development as an integrative, multi-sectoral process for rural communities;
  • Public engagement and participation as a necessary condition of sustainability;
  • Public management as a key element of sustainability governance;
  • Accountability and responsibility of leadership, institutions and practices; and
  • The increasing importance of inter-municipal and inter-community planning and collaboration.

Economics & Sustainability

The primary focus will be on learning what is meant by economic sustainability and why this has an impact on organizational practices and activities. To do so, the course will examine the different ways that sustainability is measured by organizations. We will also examine the various reasons that organizations focus on economic sustainability and we will discuss some of the intended and unintended consequences of this strategic decision. Finally, we will discuss some of the emerging factors that can potentially impact an organization's long-term goal of achieving economic sustainability.

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability is characterized by change, challenge, uncertainty, and conflict. In this course, we will examine the different ways that environmental sustainability is measured by organizations, along with how and why organizations strive for improvements. We will concentrate on local and regional case studies to ground our thinking, test potentially helpful tools, and focus our discussions. Finally, we will examine emerging factors that will affect any organization's efforts to promote environmental sustainability.

Social Sustainability

Concepts like social networking, social capital, social asset mapping, and related terms are consistently identified as crucial components of sustainability in rural communities. This course examines these aspects of sustainability with attention to 4 major themes:

  • Social sustainability and its relationship to community goals, values and assets;
  • Ways of collecting information about social sustainability at the community level;
  • Linking social indicators to sustainability planning; and
  • Innovative and collaborative approaches to enhancing social sustainability

Cultural Sustainability

The primary focus will be on learning what is meant by the term 'cultural sustainability', and why this has an impact on organizational practices and activities. To do so, the course will examine why organizations are placing increasing importance on cultural sustainability, how they are implementing it into their practices, and some of the outcomes of doing so. Finally, we will discuss some of emerging trends and conversations currently occurring in this area.

Who is it for? Back ↑

This program was designed for elected officials, municipal administrators, not-for-profit organizations, economic development officers, and small businesses who have articulated a desire for more advanced education and training to benefit the governance, administration, and resilience of rural communities.

Schedule Back ↑

Environmental Sustainability Oct. 23, 2019 7.5 hours $450 + GST
Social Sustainability Dec. 4, 2019 7.5 hours $450 + GST
Economics & Sustainability Feb. 6, 2020 7.5 hours $450 + GST
Governance for Sustainability Feb. 27, 2020 7.5 hours $450 + GST
Cultural Sustainability Fall 2020 7.5 hours $450 + GST

Instructors Back ↑

Lars K. Hallström, Ph.D
Instructor: Governance for Sustainability, Cultural Sustainability

Dr. Hallström is a Professor at the University of Alberta and the inaugural Director of the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities. He is committed to overseeing the ACSRC's efforts to advance the U of A's rural focused research and to forge practical connections to rural communities.

Dr. Hallström comes to the U of A from St. Francis Xavier University, where he served as an Associate Professor of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Public Policy and Governance. He took a leadership role in establishing the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. His research has been diverse and includes issues relating to small-scale forestry and woodlots, public health, and the politics of environmental movements. He holds a PhD from Purdue University and a BA from the University of Calgary.

William (Bill) M. Foster, Ph.D
Instructor: Economics & Sustainability

Bill is a Professor of Management at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. His research has been published in journals and books such as Advances in Strategic Management, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Inquiry,Team Performance Management, Organizations in Time and Journal of Business Ethics. He currently serves as an Editorial Board member for the Academy of Management Review, is on the editorial board of Organization Studies & Business History, is incoming editor of Academy of Management Learning and Education, and he was a past Associate Editor for the essays section of the Journal of Management Inquiry.

Bill's primary research interests include rhetorical history, social memory studies, organizational identity and identification and business ethics. In the area of management education, he is interested in subjects such as service learning, ethics, undergraduate education and corporate universities. He has taught courses in organizational behavior, strategy, sustainability, marketing and management. His teaching style is Socratic and is focused on engaging students through various techniques such as experiential learning, service learning, case studies and classroom discussion.

Glen T. Hvenegaard, Ph.D
Instructor: Environmental Sustainability

Glen is a Professor of Environmental Science and Geography at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. His research focuses on the conservation dynamics of ecotourism (e.g. wildlife festivals, birding, whale watching, protected area tourism), biogeography (e.g. birds in agricultural environments, green spaces, shorebirds, ecological indicators), environmental education (e.g. fieldwork, park interpretation, independent studies courses, expedition courses), and rural sustainability (e.g. planning). His research has been published in journals such as Ecological Indicators, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, and Landscape and urban Planning. He is co-editor of two forthcoming books: Sustainability Planning and Collaboration in Rural Canada and Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Area: Guidelines for Sustainability. He is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas (and its Tourism Specialist Group) and a fellow with LEAD International (Leadership for Environment and Development). Glen teaches courses in environmental management, parks, wildlife, physical geography, and environmental education.

Dr. John Parkins
Instructor: Social Sustainability

A Professor in the Department Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta, John Parkins joined the university in 2007 after spending 10 years as a social scientist with Natural Resources Canada. He received his MSc in Rural Sociology and PhD in Sociology from the University of Alberta and his research interests focus on the interactions between rural communities and natural resource industries, rural development, social impact assessment, public engagement and environmental politics. Dr. Parkins has worked extensively with land management agencies, such as the Foothills Research Institute (Hinton, AB), the Sustainable Forest Management Network and Alberta Environment to establish principles and practices of socially sustainable resource management and indicators of social well-being. His research is published in a wide range of scholarly journals and government reports with a strong focus on applied research and best management practices. Dr. Parkins also teaches graduate and undergraduate students in the areas of social impact assessment and rural community development.