School Establishes Joint Sustainability Program

UCSD Extension and National University recently revealed a new, joint program in Sustainability Management that aims to provide interdisciplinary training and learning in business, sustainability and engineering.

The program, introduced on Jan. 27, offers both the practical training of UCSD Extension’s Sustainable Business Practices program as well as the theoretical learning of National University’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management. Students also have the option to have a one-class-a-month schedule.

Sarah Spicci, the director of Continuing and Professional Education at National University’s Division of Extended Learning, explained how the collaboration between the two institutions creates a versatile and expansive program.

“The [partnership] was a perfect fit: They had the certificate, we had the masters — the practical and theoretical side rolled into one … giving a potential student a robust, well-rounded education,” Spicci explained. “All of these speak to a great opportunity for a potential student, both in terms of increasing job competitiveness and a great learning experience.”

National University is the first institution in the San Diego region to offer a graduate program in sustainability management, which takes the ideas of sustainability and applies them to the management practices.

Spicci explained how that interdepartmental collaboration makes the program unique.

“It ties in the engineering department at National University with the business school to fully encapsulate ‘the Three Es,’” Spicci told the UCSD Guardian. “Equity, economics and the environmental components [are] all wrapped into one program.”

Laura Fandino, the director of Environment and Sustainability at UCSD Extension, emphasized that students gain hands-on experience throughout the program.

“Students work with an organization on a project that provide [students] with a resume-ready result in the Next Step Experience course,” Fandino said.

Muir College junior Taylor Crabtree, a marine biology major and the director of Community Outreach at the Student Sustainability Collective, commented on how the program is a jumping-off point for taking action in environmental sustainability and accountability.

“I think this program with National University and UC San Diego Extension is a great partnership to allow future leaders to see how important environmental sustainability is, and how action needs to be taken now rather than later,” Crabtree said.

A.S. Associate Vice President of Environmental Affairs Moon Pankam explained that these programs provide an opportunity for learning relevant skills.

“Sustainability management programs teach students an essential skill set for the 21st century,” Pankam told the Guardian. “It is necessary to look at economic growth within the context of environmental stewardship.”

Spicci added that there are some tentative plans to expand the range of programs between UCSD Extension and National University in healthcare, technology and education, and research and workforce development. Further collaboration between the two institutions would use UCSD Extension’s close relationship with scientific and technological resources of the military to fulfill the needs of National University’s large military-student population.


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