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2024 PRME Faculty Teaching Award


Dr. Katalin Ásványi

Dr. Katalin Ásványi

Corvinus University of Budapest

Réka Matolay

Réka Matolay

Corvinus University of Budapest

Márta Frigyik

Márta Frigyik

Corvinus University of Budapest

What is your innovative pedagogical approach and how was it delivered in a way that facilitated student engagement effectively?

The pedagogical approach of community engaged learning (CEL) builds on the principles of collaboration, co-creation of knowledge, experiential learning, reflection, reciprocity, and sustainability. Lecturers and CEL facilitators (e.g. science shop coordinators) can effectively engage students in addressing real-world challenges while fostering positive relationships with local communities in learning processes embedded in the curriculum.

The course on Corporate Social Responsibility for BA students offers a semester-long collaboration with a community partner for mutual learning and to advance communities’ partnership with corporations. It focuses on promoting various skills of students, as evidenced by their feedback and evaluations, as well as our research and publications. It emphasizes the development of cross-sectoral thinking, encouraging students to transcend boundaries across various sectors or industries. Additionally, it enhances problem-solving abilities and fosters collaboration, thereby developing essential soft skills as well as transversal competencies, applicable across various contexts and disciplines. Based on the lecturer’s formal research, changes in students’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors were also identified as a result of the course’s impact, both in the short and long term.

The course embraces diversity by incorporating a wide range of themes relevant to the partners involved. It supports the social interaction factor in several ways. Group work facilitates collaboration and relationship-building among students. Collaborating on projects and assignments provides opportunities for idea exchange, cooperation, and the development of problem-solving skills. Consequently, group work typically fosters closer connections among students. Collaboration with a community partner allows students to establish direct connections with the members of the local community. Engagement with community partners promotes exposure to real-world situations and the practical application of theoretical knowledge. Interacting with stakeholders of the community partner provides students with an opportunity to comprehend various viewpoints and interests related to the issues at hand. This understanding is crucial as it assists students in designing and implementing effective solutions that address the needs of all relevant stakeholders.

Over the course of 9 semesters, we worked with a total of 12 community partners in this course addressing various sustainability challenges in e.g. ethnic groups, with people with extreme trauma and deprived circumstances, children in state care and long-term hospital care among others. The course has continuously deepened its community engaged nature supported by Corvinus Science Shop. From the very beginning visiting the field of the community partner is a central feature. First, the community partner and the students met three times for the project and were not included in the student activities themselves. Based on student and community feedback, we began to adjust the course tasks to offer a more concentrated focus on the project. Our participation in the CIRCLET Erasmus+ project for promoting community engagement in curricula confirmed the need to engage the community partner more closely, and as a result we now coordinate along the individual student assignments and community partners also give written feedback on student work. The CSR collaboration proposals developed by students assist community partners to reach corporations more easily and create a positive collaboration.

What made this pedagogical approach successful for you and your students?

For the lecturer, the pedagogical approach of community engaged learning (CEL) offers a number of benefits that enrich the learning experience and develop professional competences. CEL enabled me to become more deeply involved in the teaching process. Through community projects, I could create an interactive learning environment that is different from traditional lectures. This process helped to develop teaching skills and broaden my professional experience. Community projects brought me into contact with local organizations, professionals and community leaders. These contacts provided a valuable network for me. I could directly see the impact of my work in the community, which could provide me with positive feedback and reinforcement. The progress of learners and the success of community projects could be a motivating factor for me. The results and experiences of community projects could provide valuable data that could form the basis for academic publications and research. I could contribute to the development and well-being of the local community. This type of teaching approach could have a direct impact on the community and gave me the opportunity to create positive change. Reflective practice was also important for me, where I could reflect on my own teaching methods and experiences. This process helped me to continuously improve and adapt to new challenges. Overall, collaborative learning provided an enriching experience for me, which could contribute to professional satisfaction and pedagogical excellence.

What has made this pedagogical approach a success for my students is best demonstrated by their testimonials:

“The course fundamentally changed my attitude and developed a heightened awareness in me towards environmental and social issues. This practical experience not only enriched my academic achievements but also facilitated my personal development”

“... we approached the subject in a completely different way: she (lecturer) conveyed the topic through personal stories, initiated dialogue within the group (generating active but fruitful class discussions), tried to involve everyone equally and the course had a holistic approach that was transparent to all, culminating in a collaboration with an NGO. In my opinion this has allowed us to see the necessary theoretical (seminars), practical (working with an NGO), and scientific (writing a personal essay) ratios of sustainability at once.”

“During the course, we came across a lot of practical topics and case studies, which on the one hand highlighted the possibilities for socially and environmentally responsible operation at the corporate level, and on the other hand, gave guidance on how we can become responsible people at the individual level.”

How might this be a useful model for others?

Community engaged learning brings significant advancements and benefits for lecturers. First, the environment requiring continuous preparation encourages lecturers to continue to research and understand current sustainability issues. Comparing and analyzing different student responsibility attitudes opens up new perspectives for faculty members. This can help them gain a deeper understanding of students’ different values, attitudes and motivations, and gives them the opportunity to customize their teaching methods and content. Through community engaged learning, lecturers can also connect with a variety of community partners with whom they can contribute directly or indirectly to solving their problems. This not only builds professional relationships, but also gives lecturers the opportunity to bring real-life examples and experiences into the educational process. The study of attitude change and the analysis of the impact of the course enables lecturers to continuously develop and refine their teaching methods and content. Thus, community engaged learning promotes not only the professional and personal development of students but also of lecturers.

It is also useful for the university as we strengthen the goals of the Science Shop organization through the course, that is, to work with community partners through university projects. Companies benefit the economy because students, as prospective employees and managers, have a more responsible approach by completing the course. If only one student makes a more socially or environmentally beneficial decision in a given situation, it will take you one step closer to a more sustainable world, because the behavior of each individual matters.

At PRME, we embrace iterative practices, engaging in cycles of reflection and feedback. What have you learned since implementing this approach and what, if any, would you change?

As a lecturer, there are many valuable lessons to be learned from the methodology of community engaged learning (CEL). I learnt how to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining the learning objectives and standards. CEL encouraged me to integrate knowledge from different disciplines. I learnt how to combine methods and perspectives from different disciplines to solve a community problem. This helped me to develop deeper empathy and cultural sensitivity, which is essential for effective teaching and positive community interactions. The reflection helped me to understand the learning process more deeply and to continuously improve my own pedagogical practice. I learnt how to build and maintain effective partnerships with community organizations and other stakeholders. These relationships are key to implementing successful community projects and providing hands-on learning opportunities for students. I could measure real impact, this process helped me to better understand what factors contribute to success and how these can be applied to future projects. I learnt how to inspire and support our students to become active and responsible members of society. Overall, community engaged learning enriches my teaching practice, giving me new perspectives and skills that contribute to the development of my students and the community.

Other things I would like to add to my current practice include using digital tools, developing assessment methods, creating personalized learning pathways, organizing community events - showcasing the results of students' work, introducing mentoring schemes where more experienced students or community members can mentor younger students.


Course Syllabus
Course Syllabus Download Course Syllabus pdf
Sample Group Assignment #1
Sample Group Assignment #1 Download Sample Group Assignment #1 pdf
Sample Group Assignment #2
Sample Group Assignment #2 Download Sample Group Assignment #2 pdf
Sample Group Assignment with the SDGs
Sample Group Assignment with the SDGs Download Sample Group Assignment with the SDGs pdf
Mission Statement Assignment
Mission Statement Assignment Download Mission Statement Assignment pdf
Project Presentation
Project Presentation Download Project Presentation pdf
Project Proposal
Project Proposal Download Project Proposal pdf
Video #1
Video #1 Download Video #1 URL