Ideas Worth Teaching Awards

What kinds of teaching can change the world?

Our nomination window is now closed for our 2017 award cycle.  Please see below for information on the call for nominations and our timeline for next steps.

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What is happening in classrooms to inspire and equip future business leaders to tackle the issues of our times? What courses speak to our highest aspirations for capitalism? Help us answer these questions and paint a picture of what is possible in management education.

The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program seeks to recognize individual undergraduate and graduate business courses that challenge conventional approaches to private enterprise and capitalism — and put forward a new narrative for how business can create better jobs and an equitable and more sustainable world.

Download the Call for Nominations 3



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What We Are Looking For

Our ambition is to celebrate innovative teaching and create a catalogue of courses that:

  • Prompt students to think more expansively about their role in firms and in markets—and to think more creatively about how to align business activities with the long-term health of society.
  • Consider frameworks, metrics and valuation tools that give business leaders “room” to make business decisions that align with the long-term health of society.
  • Explore new organizational designs, business models, and governance and management practices that do the same.
  • Give students practice in critically examining fundamental assumptions and concepts taught in b-school curriculum.

How We Will Evaluate Courses

Aspen Institute staff, along with an international advisory board of business school faculty, will evaluate each submission on its potential to address these aims. Specifically, we ask three questions as we evaluate each course: How innovative is the course content? How innovative is its design? Do course assignments and projects prepare students to make business decisions that create both financial and social value?

We welcome nominations on a broad array of topics. Some topics of particular interest to us include:

  • The purpose of the corporation
  • Businesses’ role in society’s “grand challenges” (e.g. sustainability and poverty alleviation)
  • The future of work – and the role of businesses in creating quality jobs
  • The future of capitalism
  • Social intrapreneurship
  • Time horizons in management and markets (short v. long-term)
  • The comparative roles of business and government in creating economic growth and social value
  • Values-based leadership

Nomination Requirements

For those who have participated in our awards program in the past, it is important to note three changes for 2017. First, nominations are for courses, not for a faculty member’s body of work. This year we are focusing exclusively on courses. While important, contributions to the scholarly community, research and other courses taught by the faculty member(s) are outside the scope of our 2017 awards program. Second, we are accepting nominations for courses taught at the undergraduate level as well as the graduate level. Third, we are accepting nominations from students. Of course, we continue to welcome self-nominations, as well as nominations from faculty and staff.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Our on-line application allows more than one faculty member to be associated with a given course
  • Course must have been taught within the past two years (2015-2017)
  • Graduate-level courses must be listed in the course catalogue of an MBA or your institution’s comparable degree
  • Undergraduate courses must fulfill a requirement for a business-related major or minor

Important Dates

March 1, 2017: Nominations Open
Our on-line nomination form goes live and we begin accepting submissions.

March 31, 2017: Nominations Close
Our on-line nomination form closes and we begin evaluating submissions.

Fall, 2017: Recipients Announced
We announce this year’s award recipients and launch our updated awards website.

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The Ideas Worth Teaching Awards build off of our former awards program, the Faculty Pioneer AwardsThis year we’re focusing exclusively on courses, as we’ve previously looked to highlight the faculty behind the teaching.  For more information on the Faculty Pioneer Awardsplease visit our website.

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