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She’s teaching future leaders how to stop climate change

People who want to help mitigate the effects of climate change need to focus on the problems they can solve in their lives and communities, says Rae André, a professor emeritus of leadership and sustainability at Northeastern. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Rae André has taught thousands of students how to develop into leaders who can help mitigate the effects of climate change in their communities. She’s published seven books in the fields of business, leadership, psychology, and sustainability. And she’s provided pro bono consultation to professors who want to learn how to teach the course material she spent years honing as a faculty member in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern.

Now André, a professor emeritus of leadership and sustainability, has received a lifetime achievement award to honor her contributions to teaching and learning over the past four decades.

“It’s very satisfying to be recognized and thanked for my work,” says André, who received the 2019 David L. Bradford Outstanding Educator Award by the Management and Organizational Behavior Teaching Society. “And it was a pleasure to do it.”

For the past decade, André has focused on teaching a course that helps undergraduate and graduate students look for real-world solutions to climate change and develop the skills they need to understand the science behind the issues. Students learn how to interpret basic climate science, write policy documents, and identify key stakeholders in sustainability.

André developed the syllabus for “Leadership and Sustainability;” continues to teach the course online even though she retired in 2018; and now helps other professors nationwide learn how to teach the material to their students.

“My interest is helping students in all disciplines become climate leaders,” says André, who started teaching at Northeastern in 1982. “I help people understand how they can have some impact in taking us to a sustainable planet.”

Her forthcoming book, titled “Lead as If the Planet Matters,” will tackle the complexities of climate change and offer solutions to make it easier for leaders to address the problem at the local, state and global levels.

We’re all bombarded with so much information about the climate, and my book is supposed to help people focus on what they really need to know,” says André. “Tune out the extra details and focus on what problems leaders can solve in their lives and in their communities.”

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