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Westerman to serve as sustainability fellow beginning in fall 2014

BOONE—Management professor Jim Westerman has been appointed as a sustainability fellow at Appalachian State University for the 2014-16 academic years.

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Westerman is the first faculty member to hold the half-time position. He will work to strengthen the university’s sustainability efforts by engaging in the development, support and encouragement of new initiatives related to sustainability in curriculum and research. He will work in the Office of Sustainability and serve as a liaison between that office and Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs, the Sustainability Council, faculty, staff, administration and students.

“Sustainability is an important core value at Appalachian as evidenced by the number of faculty who weave the concepts of sustainability and civic responsibility into their courses and research,” said Dr. Lori S. Gonzalez, Appalachian’s provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs. “Dr. Westerman’s expertise in guiding curriculum development and his track record of scholarship and research will further strength Appalachian’s goal of expanding sustainability-related coursework and research across campus and equipping students with the skills that will prepare them to be responsible citizens and leaders in their communities.”

With the new position, Appalachian joins the growing rank of universities and colleges such as the University of Vermont, Elon University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Clair that have academic positions designed to promote academic sustainability programs and broaden sustainability across the curriculum and support research initiatives. Westerman’s position is funded by Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Sustainability.

“Jim’s knowledge of and passion for sustainability, coupled with his experience and leadership on Appalachian’s campus make him an ideal partner in our ongoing effort to demonstrate and educate for a sustainable future,” said University Sustainability Director Ged Moody.

Westerman is a professor in the Department of Management in Appalachian’s Walker College of Business. He holds a Ph.D. in management from the University of Colorado at Boulder and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Florida State University.

In his letter of application Westerman wrote, “I was motivated to pursue my Ph.D. to address social, economic, and environmental justice in the manner that I found to be most impactful – educating vast numbers of students who can change the future to be more sustainable. For me, sustainability is not just a high-minded, theoretical pursuit. It is grounded in personal experience and resulting intense desire to create meaningful change.”

Westerman’s research on sustainability and ethics has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, the Journal of Business Ethics, the Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal, the Journal of Management, Spirituality, and Religion, and the Journal of Management Education.

Westerman is already active in the campus’s sustainability movement, helping to develop a proposal for a sustainable business minor to be offered that would include courses in sustainable development, anthropology, sociology, technology and political science.

His teaching skills are also highly regarded. In 2012 he received the Walker College of Business “Teacher of the Year” award and Appalachian’s “Board of Governor’s Excellence in Teaching” award. He has taught courses on “Social Responsibility of Business” and “Business Ethics,” and has been involved with efforts to improve on-campus bicycle commuting options on campus.

“I am deeply interested in advancing sustainability efforts on this campus, and I believe I have the motivation and experience to successfully launch this position in a meaningful and effective way,” Westerman wrote.