January 8, 2019

New partnerships in place to encourage high schoolers to explore careers in this growing field

Hackettstown, N.J., January 8, 2019 – Sustainable Practices is a hot phrase in business these days, as companies increasingly value professionals who understand how economics, the environment, and social responsibility all contribute to the bottom line. In response to employer demand, Centenary University has launched a new academic program in Sustainable Practices, offering students the opportunity to minor, complete a concentration, or earn a certificate in this field. The courses are offered through the University’s Department of Business.

Michael Russell, the director of Centenary’s new Center for Sustainability and an assistant professor of economics, believes sustainability models will have an unyielding dominance over businesses in the near future. “What we’re seeing in the past five years is that corporations of all sizes are starting to think about their environmental impact and how they’re making decisions that affect the environment,” he said. “As we work to create a sustainable future, it’s up to corporations, cities, and individuals to lead the charge in this field, which is really encouraging to see.”

Now, Centenary is spreading the word to high school students about the career potential for employees with knowledge of sustainable practices through partnerships with several area high schools. The newest, at Phillipsburg High School in Warren County, enables Russell to be in residence at the school one day a week, starting in February. “This partnership [with Phillipsburg] will allow me to support students directly by offering guidance to those who are interested in sustainability,” explained Russell, a member of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability. “My goal is to introduce the degree and all its opportunities to students who are not familiar.”

Russell recently worked with Hunterdon County Vocational School District’s new science-based academy, The Environmental Sustainability and Engineering Academy (ESEA), on a partnership that allows ESEA students to earn credits in the sciences and business from Centenary while they’re still enrolled in high school. Students are also invited to attend lectures and special events at the University. Learn more


Russell joined Centenary’s business department as an assistant professor of economics in 2015, after spending three years teaching in the education department. His teaching is focused on sustainable business and applied economics, with a goal of making complex topics more approachable to students through the use of games and simulations. He serves as the director of the Centenary University Center for Sustainability and acts as program director for the Sustainable Practices concentration and minor. He also serves as a professor-in-residence at Phillipsburg High School. From 2014 through 2018, he served as chair of the Comparative and International Education Society’s environmental and sustainability education special interest group. From 2009 to 2015, he worked with Caring for Cambodia to improve post-K12 outcomes for students in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Before returning to graduate school, he taught math, science, and social studies in Lake and Pen School District in rural Alaska. Russell earned a BBA in economics and finance from McKendree University, a M.S. in applied and resource economics from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and a M.Ed. in globalization and educational change from Lehigh University. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in comparative and international education, also from Lehigh.


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.


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