This article was submitted by the UK Co-operative College, an educational charity dedicated to the promotion of cooperative values, ideas and principles within society. They work with co-operatives and communities across the UK and throughout the world, focusing on delivering programs that help individuals and groups gain the skills and understanding needed to put cooperative values and principles into effective practice.
The UK Co-operative College is delighted to be an institutional partner of the Global Innovation Coop Summit 2023. With so many of the key themes and ambitions of the summit – leadership, education, co-operation, innovation, and action – echoed throughout the work of the College, this partnership is a natural fit.
As an organisation with over 100 years’ experience in delivering education to co-operatives and member-owned organisations, and promoting co-operative values, ideas, and principles, you might think that the College would be happy to continue with business as usual – but we’re always looking for ways to innovate and bring co-operation to new audiences.
At a recent international conference of business schools, conversations with deans from all continents highlighted the underrepresentation of co-operative organisations on business curricula at all levels. If the co-operative business model is not understood and being discussed by the leaders of the future, how can the movement possibly grow?
We think the answer could lie in our proposed partnership with the University of Dundee, which will put co-operatives firmly on the international higher education curriculum, provide UK and international students with a recognised qualification in co-operation, and help raise the profile of co-operatives in the academic and business communities.
This innovative proposed partnership would see the University of Dundee’s School of Business offering four stand-alone masters level modules, which will be delivered by Co-operative College staff (who are all experts in co-operation) in collaboration with staff of the University of Dundee’s School of Business. Incorporating our distinctive learning approach and expertise with the university’s blended and hybrid learning capabilities and experience, the partnership will bring together learners from across the globe in engaging, interactive synchronous sessions.
The key to our proposed partnership is the flexibility it provides to learners. Modules can be studied and accredited on their own or stacked to form a Postgraduate Certificate with progression to a Diploma. With our finger firmly on the pulse of the international co-operative community, it’s no surprise that many of the strands running through the modules, including leadership and sustainability, align closely with the themes of GICS 2023.
Proposed working titles for the modules are: ‘Co-operative leadership and management: values driven practice’, ‘Co-operative enterprise in a global context’ and ‘Co-operatives: innovation and sustainability’. A fourth, practice-based module is also incorporated, allowing learners the flexibility to contextualise their studies in ways that can ensure real impact for co-ops and the communities that they serve.
In the future, the Co-operative College and the University of Dundee aim to incorporate the modules to form a further qualification pathway.
This proposed new strand to our comprehensive learning offer is still in the planning stages, but we hope to have our first cohort starting in late 2024. If you would like to be kept up to date with the progress of this initiative, fill out this short form and we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!
And for those of you who are attending the Global Innovation Coop Summit in person, be sure to speak to the Co-operative College’s CEO and Principal, Neil Calvert, who’ll also be there.
The University of Dundee’s School of Business is the fastest growing business school in the UK and its Dean is an academic leader in co-operative organisations. The school also recently received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an achievement held by only six percent of the worlds’ schools offering business degrees programs.