At heart, our cases are stories. Some even seem like puzzles. Many draw from practitioners’ own experiences. They begin with a decision maker and center around a problem that needs to be solved. The cases introduce different sets of interests, present options and tradeoffs, and ask learners to make a choice. In this way, a successful case can guide students through complex information, to inductive understanding of how sustainability problems can be approached, analyzed, and altered.

Our stories are wide-ranging:

  1. Topics

    MSC authors represent a variety of disciplines and research domains.

  2. Sectors

    MSCs engage with public, private, non-profit, and other sectors.

  3. Scales and locations

    MSCs occur at multiple scales and locations, ranging from global to national and subnational, pre to post industrial, and rural to urban.

locations of some current MSCs
The locations of some of our MSCs.

Reading our stories

MSC’s narrative style allows students to immerse themselves in the context, an experience largely absent in typical academic articles. Below are just a first taste of our MSC storylines.

Josh Castonguay

Can new battery technologies solve problems of peak demand in energy grids?

Visualize yourself as Chief Innovation Officer of Vermont’s Green Mountain Power utility company, Josh Castonguay. You are weighing the pros and cons of pairing up with Tesla and offering its new ‘Powerwall’ battery as a “behind the meter” renewable energy option to your customers. Yet, many uncertainties exist with regard to customer uptake and interactions with the standard utility grid. Should you try to find a way to bring new energy technologies to your clients? If so, exactly how will you proceed?

Laure Katz

Marine conservation happens at geological time scales; conservation finance doesn't.

Picture yourself as Laure Katz, the Director of the Bird’s Head Seascapes Initiative at the global NGO, Conservation International. Prompted by recent shifts in Seascape’s traditional funding structure, you must rapidly formulate a strategy to transfer management to local bodies and establish a sustainable funding model for effective, community-driven conservation. The incredible ecology of West Papua, Indonesia is at stake…

Nikki Rothwell

Cherries are a key Michigan commodity, but earlier blooms are vulnerable to volatile frost cycles.

Imagine that you are Nikki Rothwell, the Coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center, a unique cooperative partnership between Michigan fruit growers and Michigan State University. As coordinator, you are responsible to develop a management plan for the center to ensure the viability of cherry growing in Michigan. Yet, unpredictable weather patterns are increasing…

Tyson Gersh

A not-so-secret garden, weathering histories of inequality and tides of social change.

Put yourself in the shoes of the co-founder and President of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), Tyson Gersh. MUFI is a volunteer-run community urban agriculture organization subsisting off of the fundraising efforts of its 35,000 social media supporters. You must decide if changing land use and social tensions in Detroit fundamentally challenge the core of MUFI’s identity, and the value of its contributions to long term residents of Detroit. What urban agriculture practices best empower communities themselves?