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Climate Change Perspective for Project Management

Royal Roads University

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Short Course Description

Climate change is one of the biggest risks facing governments, businesses, societies and ecosystems around the world. Project managers, through their effective direction of complex projects, occupy a critical role in the successful transition to a resilient, low carbon world. This course is designed to prepare professionals with project management responsibilities to add a climate change lens to their projects.

The course is suitable for individuals in management roles and above who have significant project management responsibilities. “Projects” could include examples as diverse as infrastructure development, deployment of new technology, ecosystem restoration, or public engagement campaign, for example. The course will attract a diversity of professionals who enjoy multidisciplinary learning environments. Familiarity with general climate change issues and science is recommended.

The course will be delivered in a blended synchronous/asynchronous mode. Each module will run for a week with the expectation that participants complete readings, contribute to discussion forums or other exercises Monday to Thursday, in preparation for a synchronous session Friday afternoon. This session will be recorded for those who cannot attend. Guest speakers and case study practice will enrich the course. Each week participants can expect to spend about two to three hours across all activities.

Course Modules

1. Perspective

In this Module you'll have an opportunity to consider your perspective on climate change as a project manager, recognize valuable perspectives that others bring, and consider when and how an interdisciplinary approach can enhance project management for a changing climate.

2. Engaging

In this Module, you'll have an opportunity to consider the people affected by climate change and your project's response to it. This includes people internal to your organization and others, such as neighbouring communities or Indigenous people. You will also start applying your learning in a case study situation.

3. Planning

In this Module you'll have an opportunity to integrate climate change implications with standard project management planning considerations. You will also continue to apply them in a case study situation.

4. Applying

In this module you will pull together all your learning from the course so far to apply them to a real project you are managing, with feedback from peers. This module will also address some of the challenges with securing organizational support for your climate change lens.

Course Outline

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Course Design Statements

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Biography picture for Susan Todd, CPA, CA, MRM

Susan Todd, CPA, CA, MRM

Susan Todd is the President of Solstice Sustainability Works Inc. and a trusted advisor to business, government and not-for-profit organizations. Susan learned her early project management skills as a senior manager for financial audits with KPMG in Toronto and Brussels. Susan then complemented her business education with graduate studies in natural resource management at SFU. Since founding Solsticeworks in 1997, Susan has worked through consulting and training to elevate organizations’ environmental and social sustainability practices and to embed sustainability in strategy and risk management. In recent years, Susan has focused on building organizational capacity to address the impacts of climate change, including through natural capital solutions. From 2015 to 2018 she led CPA Canada training sessions for accountants on climate change adaptation in BC, New Brunswick, Ontario and PEI. Through 2018-20 she developed and delivered next generation materials for CPA Canada. Recently she has been co-writing a case study on climate change adaptation for a municipal transit authority. Susan is especially interested in ecosystem based strategies for community and organizational resilience. In 2019 she prepared a natural capital inventory for the District of West Vancouver that was the basis for a Council approved recommendation to support natural capital stewardship. Susan is a Visiting Instructor in the Beedie School of Business teaching two undergraduate courses in sustainability management. She also serves on the Board of Douglas College, including as Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.

Course Artefacts