Rutgers introduces Corporate Purpose, Social Impact specialization

The corporate social responsibility specialization is offered through the School of Communication and Information.
Photo by The Daily TargumThe corporate social responsibility specialization is offered through the School of Communication and Information.

A new specialization, focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR) titled “Corporate Purpose and Social Impact,” has been recently introduced in Rutgers Master of Communication and Media program (MCM). This specialization was added in the Spring 2020 semester to educate School of Communication and Information students for CSR careers so they are at an advantage when applying for these competitive positions. 

The purpose of the program is to "build a new vision of social impact based on a stakeholder framework. Whether CSR is understood as organizations taking responsibility or society holding organizations accountable, the underlying issues are about the environmental, social and governance opportunities and risks that have emerged in today’s globalized, networked world,” said Dr. Richard Dool, a teaching professor and director of the MCM Program. 

Dool said students will learn how to undertake CSR activities that benefit the public, how organizations can assess whether they are helping society and how companies are creating social impact beyond standard CSR practices. Students will also learn about the relationship between philanthropy, social impact and organizational self-interest. 

Dool said it is essential that students learn about CSR because he believes that the roles of organizations are changing.

“More and more organizations are redefining capitalism or joining the movement around conscious capitalism. This is particularly relevant as companies are making long-term commitments to improving the world through mechanisms like the Sustainable Development Goals,” Dool said.

Dool also noted the success of an organization often depends on its relationships with the stakeholders, and understanding CSR is important to understanding the role of business in society. 

“(The specialization) aims at defining CSR, how organizations create social impact. The program will look at new managerial solutions and new performance evaluation and reporting methodologies capable of integrating and improving traditional economic measures,” Dool said.

After completion of this course, Dool said students will be able to analyze and explore how companies are integrating the “Triple Bottom Line” of people, planet and profit. Through this program, students will help students develop a clear understanding of CSR and its boundaries addressing the merits and demerits of undertaking various forms of CSR, through exploration of the ethical, legal and business cases for CSR. The case studies in this course will help students learn the demands arising from the complexities of financial, social and environmental responsibilities often faced by business.

Dool also said the course is unique. Similar courses are offered in only a few other universities, like Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Illinois, University of Colorado, Baruch College and Tufts University.