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Donna Sockell(return to previous page)

Donna Sockell

Director, Curriculum Think Tank & Founder, Center for Education on Social Responsibility, Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado – Boulder

Dr. Donna Sockell came to the Leeds School of Business in 2005 to design and teach an Introduction to Business class that could serve as a memorable and rigorous learning experience for first year Leeds students. Shortly thereafter, and because of her commitment to values-based decision-making, ethics, and CSR, Donna was tapped to design and implement Leeds’ educational strategy in these areas and founded the Curriculum Initiative on Social Responsibility in 2007, which became the Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR) in 2010 under her leadership. Today, CESR is responsible for the Leeds’ School ranking of 6th in the nation in undergraduate sustainability education (US News and World Report), a gold rating for Net Impact, and among the highest rated schools for sustainability in MBA programs in the publication Business as Unusual.

Donna served as the first executive director of CESR until August 2013. As CESR’s first ED, Donna’s primary responsibility was to oversee the infusion of values, ethics, and CSR discussions throughout the required and elective curriculum at the school at both the graduate and undergraduate levels (and today CESR directly or indirectly impacts well over 10,000 student credit hours per year) and to build a Center of outstanding faculty and staff, and advisory boards, to implement that purpose. Beyond this, her major accomplishments include: the curriculum design and offering of CESR’s two required classes at the undergraduate level as well as cutting edge electives (including the highly popular, “Leadership Challenges: Exercises in Moral Courage” featured is BizEd), the initiation of CESR’s Conscious Capitalism Conference (now entering its fifth year), the cross-listing of six electives with functional area divisions, the launch of the CESR Stampede, the Curriculum Think Tank (a consortium of schools devoted to values, ethics, and CSR education that meets regularly), the founding and early development of the Professional Mentorship Program at Leeds, the Socially Enterprise Certificate Program (undergraduate program) and the Sustainability Portfolio (graduate program).

As a former traditional academic, Donna also has a significant teaching, research, administrative, and consulting background in industrial relations and business and society. An award-winning teacher (at both Leeds and Columbia University) and curriculum designer (Leeds), Donna also has published many articles in top scholarly venues during her 14 years as an assistant/associate professor at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, and as a tenured, full professor at the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR), Rutgers University. At SMLR, Rutgers, she served as the Director of Credit Programs and built a five-year MS program in Labor Relations. Donna has served on the Executive Board of the Industrial Relations Research Association, and has served as editor of the series, Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations. She has testified before the National Labor Relations Board and her research is cited in Circuit Court of Appeals decisions. Donna also designed and taught the required ethics course for four NY Commodities Exchanges, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the Future Industries Institute, and has consulted with a variety of other business groups.

More recently, Donna regularly has presented to academics (including the AACSB), business, and community groups about CESR and the importance of values-driven, socially conscious leadership. She has consulted with a variety of schools on curriculum design, including Trinity University, the Indian School of Business, Colorado State University, among others. She has authored numerous articles on CSR and CESR and her work has been cited in many outlets including: the Wall Street Journal,, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Guardian, Triple Pundit, NPR, and Le Monde. She also has been regularly quoted in the local media including The Denver Post.

Donna received her undergraduate degree from Union College (BA, Economics: 1977) and her Masters and Doctorate degrees at Cornell University, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations (M.I.L.R., 1979; Ph.D., 1982).