The MSC Approach

  1. Stories that revolve around critical issues and key players.

    Like traditional case studies, a standard MSC is composed of a clear narrative with a decision problem, one or more decision points, and several available solutions. With a seamless incorporation of diverse audiovisual sources and in-depth interviews with real-world decision makers, MSCs revolutionize traditional case-based learning, providing a more immersive and nuanced educational experience in sustainability and environmental decision making.

  2. Cases that lead students through complex issues, for knowledge that ‘sticks’.

    Emerging ‘wicked’ sustainability problems produced by, for instance, climate change are no longer limited to traditional environmental fields. They are complicated, posing challenges and requiring knowledge across disciplines—yet they deserve attention even in core curricula. Case-based learning creates space for such complexity, conveying a bigger picture even when addressing site-specific sustainability challenges.

  3. Designed by students, for students.

    MSC employs student authors who write the cases, curate the Edgenotes, and produce the podcasts themselves, in consultation with faculty, practitioners, and MSC staff. This allows for additional student learning outcomes in the form of critical thinking, time management, teaching, and teamwork.

  4. Open Access Library, for stories that evolve.

    MSC provides a library of cases that are modular to fit into a variety of classrooms, or able to be configured in “stacks” which form cohesive curricula. This library is open access for ongoing collaboration and development. In other words, life goes on, and so do our cases.

An MSC introduction presented by Associate Professor Rebecca Hardin, Director of MSC, at the UM-Biostation in February 2016.

MSC Aspirations

Our overarching didactical ambition is to help students achieve sustainability competencies. These skills will help develop critical and reflective future sustainability leaders.

With thoughtful pedagogy guiding the use of innovative e-tools and an engaging narrative style, MSC will transform sustainability learning on UM campuses as well as serve as a model for sustainability education globally. MSC will also facilitate a global sustainability learning community by building global partnerships, with resources and support for students who are interested in this ever-growing field to participate.

With a total of 100 cases by 2020 (50 cases produced by MSC and 50 cases co-produced by MSC and co-branding partners), MSC hopes to capture the attention of pre-college and current students around the world and promote the University of Michigan as a leader in sustainability education.