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Mark Starik

Program Director, MS in Sustainability Management

By Carrie Giddins Pergram

MSSM Director Mark Starik

This year, Kogod welcomes a professor with 25 years of experience teaching and researching in the sustainability field. Mark Starik comes to American University (via a hybrid) from San Francisco State University’s College of Business.

"I am trying to identify information sources for improving the program," said Starik. "I am doing this by talking to stakeholder groups – current students, former students, alumni, faculty and administrators. Gathering information about program; strengths and weaknesses and where we can make improvements."

What sets Professor Starik apart of some of his colleagues is the time he spent early in his career as a practitioner, where he consulted with numerous businesses, governments and non-profit organizations on sustainability management topics. He also served in several mid-management positions in the types of organizations he was helping lead.

"I see many more businesses now doing sustainability reports – putting on conferences, talking about sustainability," commented Starik. "The challenge is getting them to do more of it – businesses, non-profits, governments, individuals in general have the capacity to do more."

Professor Starik's reputation for being an early leader in the field of sustainability management is a boon for Kogod. He committed to using his well-established DC, national and international relationships to move the program and the University forward in the area of sustainability management.

But he has concerns, "I want to ensure each course and the program overall emphasize two aspects: one, environmental. We have done a good job with that. But two, I want to see new sustainability programs in the United States and beyond include social economic sustainability. The best programs try and integrate both topics."

Finally, Starik is very complimentary of the work AU has already done to create a sustainable campus and he is looking forward to giving his students hand-on experience in their own backyard.

"AU is great!," emphasized Starik. "All of things they have done, you can see it. But I want AU to get visible and take credit for the work they have done. I am hoping to get every AU student to answer questions about what AU does [sustainability-wise] – not that we are green, but get out there and see what we are doing – energy, plants, water catchment systems – good things are happening, but we don’t know about it."

Starik finished, "I hope my students can help continue the work AU is doing, but also communicate what is happening to the AU community and beyond."