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A hand draws a light bulb on a chalkboard.Brian Jackson/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

Three Canadians dominated the list of four finalists for Business Professor of the Year, sponsored by the Economist Intelligence Unit, but a professor from a top school in Singapore walked off with the $100,000 (U.S.) prize this week.

At a live teach-off in London, England, yesterday, Vijay Sethi, a professor of information technology at Nanyang Technological University edged the three Canadians: Johanne Brunet, a marketing professor at HEC Montreal; Darren Dahl, a marketing professor at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business; and Kevin Kaiser, a professor of management practice at INSEAD, based near Paris, France.

The professors each had 35 minutes to lecture on a topic of their choice to a classroom of students and a panel of judges, with others able to view the presentation live online and, like those physically present, to cast a ballot.

In a statement after the event, judging panel chairman William Ridgers praised Dr. Sethi for a "compelling lecture" on digital networks and dynamics of network-based industries, adding "he took some complicated ideas and made them accessible and engaging to the audience."

Prior to declaring the winner, contest organizers announced that Dr. Dahl received top marks from the judges, as well as from online viewers, for a talk on creativity peppered with references to chocolate, condoms, aliens and typewriters. But in the end, students voting in the classroom tipped the scale for Dr. Sethi.

Sustainability support

At the University of Victoria's Gustavson School of Business, a $500,000 corporate donation will enable a recently established sustainable innovation centre to expand its operations.

"The donation is designed to give us operating funding for two years," says school dean Saul Klein, of the gift from Goldcorp Inc., a Vancouver-based gold resource firm. "It is very important for us to get operating funding in place quickly."

The school's Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation was set up in 2011 to carry out research, develop pedagogy and identify best practices on sustainability, one of four components of the Gustavson program.

On research, says Dr. Klein, "we want to understand best practice around sustainability and social responsibility," potentially providing insights for companies that grapple with sometimes-competing pressures to respect the environment, give back to society and make a profit. Effective teaching about sustainability, he notes, is not about adding another course but finding ways to integrate concepts in a meaningful way throughout the curriculum.

As part of its work, the centre also will examine how the school itself can practice what it preaches on sustainability. For example, Gustavson promotes international study abroad and research opportunities for students and faculty, a goal that runs afoul of the school's ambition to reduce its carbon footprint.

"It is very much something we are grappling with," says the dean, frank about the contradiction. "At the same time, we think that it is the kind of issue that business is facing."

With assistance from the centre, Gustavson aims to become the first carbon-neutral business school in Canada.

Case winners

In a recent case writing competition sponsored by the European Foundation of Management Development, faculty with the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business led all other schools, winning top honours in three of 18 categories.

The competition drew entries of 200 cases from 30 countries.

As well, three other cases registered with Ivey Publishing also won top prizes in other categories, with several runners-up in other cases distributed by the school's case-publishing arm.

Brussels-based EFMD has more than 800 members in 30 countries, with management development professionals from academia, business, public service and consultancy.

MBA ranking

York University's Schulich School of Business placed 22nd, down four spots from 2011, in a global ranking of Top-25 MBA programs by Mexico's Expansion magazine. Schulich was the only Canadian school on the list, which evaluates programs on criteria that include academic quality, return on investment and global value.

This year, according to the survey, Schulich MBA graduates posted a 113-per-cent average salary increase after graduation, putting the school fourth in a global comparison of post-program salary growth.

Schulich opened a satellite centre in 2011 in Mexico City for recruitment and executive education programs, adding Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2012.

Meanwhile, pitted against 11 schools from Canada and the United States, Schulich MBA students won first and second prize in the third annual Developers' Den real estate case competition. The event, held earlier this month, was organized by Schulich's Real Estate and Infrastructure Program and sponsored by RealNet Canada.

Expanded exchanges

The University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management has added the University of South Australia, the largest university in that country's southern region, and Auckland University of Technology, the third-largest university in New Zealand, to its roster of international exchange partnerships. The school now has relationships with 39 institutions in 21 countries.

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