Lecturer-researcher Theo de Joode has been awarded a NWO doctoral grant for his research 'Building an integrated sustainability curriculum for higher economic professional education’. From his position in the New Finance research group, he wants to develop building blocks based on research, with which sustainability can be fully incorporated into the curriculum in the coming five years.

Politics and society are increasingly calling on companies to incorporate sustainability in their operations. Higher economic professional education partly meets this need by offering more or less stand-alone sustainability subjects. ‘That is of course a great step, but I see that it’s difficult for students to make the link between sustainability and the regular subjects they take,’ says Theo. ‘Right now, we still give students the image of companies that more profit - for the shareholders or otherwise - is the central process for companies. That doesn't really fit in this day and age.’

Too much about numbers and money

A new economy, an economy that is virtuous, is very close to Theo's heart. ‘I think economics is too much about numbers and money. It could be more about people, wellbeing and sustainability. For example, years ago, I managed to write a final paper for my Business Economics studies without any numbers in it. The fact that I can make a difference with my research and contribute to the next steps towards a new economy motivates me enormously.’  

Specific approach

Theo strives not only to gain knowledge during his research, but also to deliver useful products. ‘Part of the research is to identify what is currently being done with sustainability in both the formal as well as informal curricula. I am curious to know if there are already other images of businesses and if there are also other images of people that go with it. The next step is for me to collaborate with SMEs, large companies, alumni, students and lecturers to see how we can meet the expectations of politicians. I want to be able to offer very specific solutions for this. For education, think for example of module descriptions or adjustments to the national “learning outcomes”.’

Additional information

Theo works as a lecturer at various degree programmes within the Faculty Business, Finance & Marketing. He is also affiliated as a researcher to the New Finance research group within the Digital Operations & Finance Centre of Expertise. 

Are you interested in this research? Let Theo know: t.dejoode@hhs.nl