Royal Roads Bachelor of Business Administration focuses on social impact
VICTORIA, CA In November 2017, Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Program Head, Todd Thexton approached Brian Belcher about the prospect of collaborating to articulate a Theory of Change the BBA program at Royal Roads University. Thexton had become aware of the Sustainability Research Effectiveness (SRE) team’s work in social impact assessment through the Climate Action Dialogue and Royal Roads’ journey to becoming accredited as an Ashoka Changemaker Campus. Belcher saw this as a learning opportunity for the team to apply the tool in a higher education context to get a better understanding of how higher education programming contributes to change and achieves social impact. The workshop took place in November 2017. Members of the BBA Steering Committee , facilitated by Brian Belcher, Rachel Claus and Rachel Davel, used a ToC framework to articulate a roadmap of the diverse ways in which the BBA program aims to achieve social impact. The Theory of Change identified four interconnected pathways through which the BBA program pursues this aim: i) a marketing, recruitment, and admission pathway; ii) a teaching and mentorship pathway; iii) a faculty scholarship and engagement pathway; and iv)an institutional change pathway. The marketing strategy intends to attract students with the aptitude and interest in sustainable change for business, and enhance the reputation of the BBA program and the University. The overall program strategy focuses on curriculum and teaching oriented around the intended learning outcomes for students, as well as fostering attitudes toward sustainability that will guide students’ everyday behavior and that they will practice in their future careers. The BBA program aims to support its faculty to engage in research and collaborate with external actors, such as First Nations and Chambers of Commerce, as well as with other departments in the University through the development of crossover courses. The BBA program aims to be a leader at Royal Roads in driving the breakdown of disciplinary silos, first between business and sustainability. The BBA program found the exercise valuable as a way to define strategy, and they plan to continue developing and refining the theory of change. “This process opened up dialogue among the program’s academic leadership through which we explored both our goals and the activities undertaken to achieve these goals, identified our levers for impact, provided clear structure to think about program development and a foundation upon which we can build a system for measuring and reporting on our impact,” said Thexton. Lessons from the process were shared with colleagues at a “Roads to Research” session on April 18th, 2018, which provided insight into some opportunities for expansion. Learn more about the BBA program here.