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Sustainability in the Classroom: Spotlight on Marius Florin Niculescu

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business is pleased to highlight Marius Florin Niculescu’s sustainability course infusion. Niculescu received a grant to support his work from the Educational Innovation Community.
Marius Florin Niculescu

Marius Florin Niculescu

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (Center) at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business is pleased to share a Q&A with Marius Florin Niculescu. Niculescu, associate professor of IT management, is a member of the 2023-24 Faculty Educational Innovation Community. Led by Professor Ravi Subramanian, the initiative provides support to faculty for implementing sustainability into their courses and pedagogy. The initiative aims to serve students interested in acquiring sustainable business competencies in Scheller programs, from undergraduate to graduate and executive education.

Faculty member:
Marius Florin Niculescu
Associate Professor of IT Management

In which course did you infuse sustainability as a member of the 2023-24 cohort
of the Faculty Educational Innovation Community?
I infused sustainability content into the core graduate-level course, Managing Information Resources (MGT 6503), which I taught in Spring 2024.

Describe your sustainability background as it relates to teaching and research.
I conduct research on the digital right-to-repair (R2R) movement as well as on sustainable IT security. In my teaching, I cover sustainability topics related to e-waste and IT sustainability.

How did the grant support sustainability course infusion?
The grant supported my efforts to revamp the IT sustainability module and keep it current. In particular, I revised and expanded a subsection on the digital R2R movement, with a focus on both the IT industry and the automotive industry. Let me illustrate with an example. Some manufacturers have historically hindered the repairability of their products through a process called “parts pairing.” After a repair is executed, unless it is approved by the manufacturer, this process blocks or degrades the performance of the replaced part via software controls. To understand why such a topic is relevant, it is important to tie it to industry and legislation dynamics. At the beginning of the semester this spring, there was no approved R2R regulation banning parts pairing at the state or federal level in the U.S. This changed at the end of March, when the Oregon R2R Act was signed into law. In my first lecture this semester, prior to the signing of that act, I discussed multiple perspectives on the topic. A few weeks later, before the course ended, students saw how regulations changed. Support from the Center allowed me to adjust course content very close to delivery, ensuring its freshness.

Why does sustainability infusion matter?
Ignoring sustainability topics today (at both the individual and organizational level) comes with a high price – which will unfortunately be paid by future generations.

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