Graduate Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development

SUNY Empire State College, together with the University of West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, and in association with the UWI Institute for Sustainable Development and CERMES, has developed an advanced certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development. The program is a unique partnership allowing admitted students the opportunity to enroll in courses at both institutions. Students who earn the credential will have it awarded by both institutions – SUNY Empire State College and the University of West Indies.

Interested persons must apply through the UWI Open Campus.
Apply through UWI Open Campus

About the Program

The advanced certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development is designed to build human capacity within Caribbean Islands and New York State to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The University of the West Indies (UWI) and SUNY Empire State College will cooperate, sharing expertise and teaching to educate students on sustainable development. The concept of sustainable development being taught in this program goes beyond the traditional ways of measuring growth and looks to improving well-being and the quality of life for all. This would involve engagement with all segments of society in planning and implementing development initiatives with a view to leaving a better world for subsequent generations.

The program consists of five courses:

  • Advanced Concepts for Sustainable Development - University of the West Indies Course
  • Principles of Community and Economic Development – SUNY Empire Course
  • Leadership in Public and Non-profit Organizations – SUNY Empire Course
  • Stakeholder-Sensitive Business Models – SUNY Empire Course
  • Policy Formulation, Governance and Ethics - University of the West Indies Course

Who is the program for?

The program targets graduates of either Open Campus or SUNY with an interest in Sustainable Development; staff of diplomatic missions and ministries of Foreign Affairs at in the region and in New York; private sector managers interested in leadership within the sector; persons engaged in work with environmental and community-related NGOs; leaders and middle managers in civil service, public sector entities, including regulatory agencies and in the private sector; and other individuals interested in career advancement within the public or private sector.

Program Design

The advanced certificate is 15 credits and will be offered initially on a part-time basis over 12 months (two semesters and one summer) and all courses are delivered online.

Required Courses and Suggested Sequence

Advanced Concepts for Sustainable Development (3 Credits), UWI

The course will investigate the various dimensions of sustainable development. In addition, it will examine the factors that hinder sustainable development in developing countries such as being landlocked, small landmass, population size, low capacity, remoteness, vulnerability, small narrowly-based economy, and high dependence on imported goods, including inter alia food and non-renewable energy resources. Particular attention will be paid to the role of natural hazards, as well as the increasing threat from climate change. The contribution of natural resources and ecology, both terrestrial and marine will be examined with a focus on the blue economy, vulnerability of water supplies and marine resources.

The course will also examine aspects of human well-being such as food security, health, education, gender equity and crime. This is important since high levels of poverty and social inequalities remain present in many developing countries. Many SIDS are highly indebted with some having debt to GDP ratios well in excess of 100%. Ways of measuring human development will be discussed as well as ways in which sustainability can be measured and projects evaluated.

Overall, the course is a multi-disciplinary introduction to the concepts and issues underlying sustainable development. It will therefore examine: (i) The theoretical and practical bases of sustainability and sustainable development. (ii) Important characteristics of islands and special development situations that influence sustainable development. (iii) The challenges faced by LDCS and SIDS in pursuing sustainable development. (iv) Potential and actual approaches to resolve sustainable development challenges in SIDS and LDCs.

CAED 6010 Principles of Community and Economic Development (3 Credits), SUNY Empire

This study will incorporate the subjects of two distinct, yet related bodies of literature. One addresses community development and, the other, economic development. The study will highlight the importance of linking these two concepts in a model that integrates the economic development of a community with the development of social capital and community capacity and functioning. Students will examine theoretical concepts in these two domains as well as real-world economic development models that attempt to move beyond the traditional factors of production and examine ways in which real communities have tried to produce positive economic outcomes through community development.

MGMT 6105 Leadership in Public and Non-profit Organizations (3 Credits), SUNY Empire

In this course, students will explore leadership in public and nonprofit organizations. The course begins with a consideration of the nature of leadership, the tasks of leaders, and the traits of effective leadership. Next, students examine leadership theories, their particular application to the public and non-profit sectors and the challenges facing these sectors. Finally, students will complete an independent research project dealing with leadership in public and nonprofit organizations.

CAED 6040 Stakeholder-sensitive Business Models (3 Credits), SUNY Empire

A critical step in strategic management involves scanning the economic environment, which, in turn, requires an assessment of an organization’s relationships with various stakeholders. Effective decision makers understand the importance of balancing and protecting the interests of various stakeholders, including investors, employees, the community, and local and state governments, suppliers, funding sources, various interest groups and, of course, the client or customer. This course will examine the role that stakeholder analysis plays in all aspects of the management process including the use of resources, capabilities and operations to establish competitive advantage and sustainability. Topics will include the connections between organizations and the natural, social, and financial environments, illustrating how all three must be maintained in balance to sustain current and future generations. The course will also look at the role of leadership in creating value for each stakeholder through strategic alignment and ethical decision-making.

Policy Formulation, Governance and Ethics (3 Credits), UWI

This course comprises three modules: policy formulation, governance and ethics.

Module one introduces environmental policy formation to sustainability practitioners and environmental managers in island states. To this end, this module covers the inter-relationships of policy, planning and management and includes a detailed description of the policy design process, implementation and evaluation practices as well as common challenges to achieving environmental policy objectives in small island states.

Module two focuses your attention on the principles and characteristics of good governance. Core characteristics of good governance (participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation, equity, effectiveness and efficiency, accountability, strategic vision) will be discussed. Examples from fisheries management, protected areas management and disaster management will be the basis of the discussions.

Module three provides you with a foundation in ethical principles. The module explains the importance of ethics in relation to public policy and good governance; and enables you to recognize the contrasting ethical perspectives in sustainable development and form opinions on and manage the possible outcomes of these different approaches. You will be exposed to the steps and elements necessary in designing an ethical framework and a comprehensive ethics program, inclusive of the processes for implementing, monitoring and evaluating such programs in an organization.


Admission to the certificate program requires the applicant to submit an official transcript of his or her bachelor’s degree along with a completed application. Individuals must apply through the University of West Indies:

English as a Foreign Language (EFL)

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to perform satisfactorily in an approved English language proficiency test, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For further information on English language proficiency tests, see ELPT.

Advanced certificates may be incorporated into a related master's degree (SUNY Empire State College) for those meeting the program admission requirements.

Apply online or request information for more details on the Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development.

Tuition and Fees

Students completing this advanced certificate make payment based course enrollment. Course taken through SUNY Empire State College or University of the West Indies Open Campus.

The following tuition and fees:

The proposed fees for the SUNY Empire-UWI Advanced Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development are as follows. (In USD)


SUNY Empire*UWI Open Campus**

SUNY Empire courses (n=3)



Tuition per credit (in NY state) 



Tuition per credit (out-of-state)



Activity fee - For 1 course OR
                       For 2 or more courses



Miscellaneous Fees



UWI courses (n=2)



Tuition per credit (in Caribbean region)



Tuition per credit (outside of region/international)



Miscellaneous Fees