Collaborating Universities Announce Sustainability Education Milestone

In a world first, the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and City University of Seattle have collaborated to develop a bachelors level accounting degree designed around the United Nations Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

USQ’s Professor Allan Layton unveils redesigned Bachelor of Accounting and Sustainable Business (BASB) program.

The GRI is an international standard for business to report against a range of key indicator protocols under the categories of economic, strategy and profile, product responsibility, society, labour practices and decent work, human rights and the environment. By co-accrediting two new courses developed by CityU of Seattle, to be delivered in the existing USQ Bachelor of Accounting and Sustainable Business (BASB), the program has become the first to comprehensively embed the principles of the GRI within the curriculum. USQ BASB Program Coordinator Dr Geoff Slaughter said while many programs dealing with sustainable business cover the general principles of the GRI, USQ was the first to use the GRI indicator protocols as a basis for curriculum development.

“This will give our students a great advantage, as they will have a clear understanding of what the GRI protocols entail and how to report against them,” Dr Slaughter said. “The BASB program is accredited by the Australian Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) Association and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA). It is designed to produce graduate accountants equipped for a world where sustainable business, and all its associated reporting requirements, is not only a reality but a priority. “To achieve this, unlike normal accounting degrees, there are courses in environmental science, sustainable business, sustainable accounting and finance. The program now also includes two newly co-accredited CityU courses of Corporate Social Responsibility and Fair Labour Practices.”

Associate Dean of the CityU School of Management, Tom Cary said the GRI principles are the future of responsible businesses. “We are preparing students to have a thorough, detailed knowledge of its requirements. The partnership between USQ and CityU brings a unique and global perspective on sustainable business for the students.”

Dean of USQ Faculty of Business, Professor Allan Layton, said the relationship USQ has with CityU has the added benefit of including a number of co-accredited courses allowing graduating students of the USQ BASB to also qualify for the award of CityU Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Sustainability.

“Students thereby receive two degrees – one from Australia and one from the US – for their four years of study of the USQ BASB, a really terrific outcome for students,” Professor Layton said.

Director of USQ Springfield Campus, Doug Fraser, said the redesign of the program more clearly defined what sustainable business education was about.

About the University of Southern Queensland

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) has forged a reputation as one of Australia’s leading providers of on-campus and distance education programs in Australia. With more than 75 per cent of students studying via distance or online, USQ is at the cutting edge of flexible delivery of resources and technology. From Arts, Business and Education to Sciences, Engineering and Surveying, the University continues to develop programs and courses that reflect the changing needs of society. USQ has three campuses located in Toowoomba, Springfield and on the Fraser Coast and welcomes international students from more than 100 countries each year.

About City University of Seattle

Founded in 1973 in Seattle, Washington, City University of Seattle is a private, not-for-profit university that serves more than 8,000 students worldwide each year, with more than 45,000 alumni worldwide. City University of Seattle’s mission is to change lives for good by offering high quality and relevant in-class and online education options to any person in the world with a desire to learn. The university is comprised of the School of Management, the Gordon Albright School of Education, and the Division of Arts and Sciences. Headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, City University of Seattle offers classes at locations throughout Washington, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, and China as well as through its collaborative arrangement with USQ in Australia.

Jo-Ann Sparrow, USQ Media, +61 7 3470 4119

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