NEW White Paper: COVID-19 and BIPOC Entrepreneurs’ Resilience in Metro Detroit

Our NEW White Paper from the RISE Lab aim to cast a light on the struggles that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs faced during the so-called “First Phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan (approximately March-July, 2020) and how some of them have been able to bounce back. Because BIPOC entrepreneurs have historically been excluded from resources and opportunities, now, more than ever, it is important to recognize the unique challenges that face BIPOC entrepreneurs, and to establish a well-balanced and equitable system of support for all entrepreneurs.

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Learnshop on Tensions Model to Negotiate with Environmental Stakeholders at GLBD 2018 Conference

I was privileged to facilitate a “Learn shop” at the 14th annual conference of the Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, targeted primarily at regional leaders working toward environmental sustainability. My own contribution centered on helping learnshop participants use communication theory to engage multiple stakeholders amid the “wicked problems” of environmental sustainability. Drawing from my research, I proposed a Tensions Model centered on recognizing how tensions can be more than just headaches, but can be used constructively once we take the time to appreciate the situation holistically from multiple perspectives. Specifically, the learnshop used four “tension areas” as the starting point to help analyze different problems in small groups.

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Communicating that Research is Inherently Practical and Applied


Exhorting academics to talk candidly and plainly about their research with broader publics is not exactly new. What IS new, though, in this recent op-ed piece published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, is linking it explicitly to the research-generation goal of a university, which most policymakers and publics seem to be in the dark about, or conflate with imparting particular “skills” for the job market, or “applied” research that answers a localized question in a particular setting (e.g., how can we get legislators in Wyoming to buy into man-made climate change?).

But the goal of research, and academics in general, is deeper than that, the article points out.

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How can we “translate” Sustainability effectively?


At the close of my recent talk on “Organizing/Communicating Sustainably” at Central Michigan University, someone in the audience asked me, predictably enough, what hope there was for meaningful systemic change, given the preponderance of cultural, structural, and moral obstacles both in the U.S. and worldwide.

My response hinged around the very communicative concept of translation.

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Engaging Students: CSR meets Higher Education

This post also appeared in CSRWire Talkback.

I had the good fortune of attending the recently concluded Water Summit 2012 in Milwaukee. A key theme that kept coming up, over and over was engaging youth.

Whether it was in references to the exchange program between American and Indian universities to promote aquaponics among water- and land-scarce communities, or connecting women-and-child literacy programs to indigenous water management systems, engaging future generations was salient throughout the two-day event.

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Where’s the Leadership in CSR?

This post also appeared in CSRWire Talkback.


One of the projects I’m currently working on examines the role of leadership in corporate social responsibility. The first thing that struck me while going through all the available CSR material was how little it had to say on leadership, compared to (say) stakeholdersthe “business case” or even global/local adaptations. Oh, we throw the term “leadership” around a lot when we talk about “leading corporate citizens” or visionary CEOs (and the not-so visionary ones, à la BP’s Tony Hayward), but few practitioners and scholars actually think about the leadership concept.

So why does it make sense to think about leadership in CSR?

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