Tools of the Trade | September 2020

Resources for educators include cases on structural racism, one-on-one coaching for vulnerable students, and a video series exploring the link between Six Sigma and mindfulness.
Tools of the Trade



SAGE Business Cases is sharing free access to two new Express cases on the impact that ongoing Black Lives Matter protests have had on businesses and consumers’ expectations for social responsibility. Each case includes teaching notes, discussion questions, and access to one full-length case featuring live data from Data Planet.

The Express Cases include “How Will BLM Change Corporate Activism?” and “Media’s BLM Reckoning.” The full-length data-embedded case is titled “More Education, Less Incarceration: Good Policy, Good Politics, or Both?”

Sage has compiled a list of additional resources on structural racism and police violence, including essays, articles, and webinars.



InsideTrack, a nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon, that supports student success and career readiness, has received grants of US$250,000 each from U.S.-based nonprofits ECMC Foundation and the Strada Education Network. These funds will be used to deliver emergency coaching services for students experiencing crisis situations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting in September, higher education institutions participating in the new Emergency Coaching Network will be able to connect to InsideTrack’s uCoach engagement platform through a centralized portal. Up to 5,000 students at these institutions will be assigned to coaches trained to assess and support crisis situations that range from food insecurity, job loss, and lack of housing to anxiety, feelings of isolation, and post-traumatic stress. Coaches will work with students one-on-one over multiple communication channels.

InsideTrack created the network in response to a surge in demand for emergency student support services at colleges and universities over the last several months. According to recent data from InsideTrack’s Crisis Support Services team, the number of students seeking crisis support has increased 218 percent, compared to the same time period in 2019. The number of students requesting services to help them navigate mental health crises has more than doubled.

The network also is intended to provide schools with clearer insights into the barriers their students face, says Kai Drekmeier, founder and chief development officer at InsideTrack.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the … issues that often prevent students from completing, particularly among historically underrepresented student populations,” he adds. “This initiative is about rapidly expanding the availability of responsive, holistic student support and building the long-term capacity of institutions to meet the evolving needs of their students.”

Colleges and universities interested in joining the network can contact InsideTrack at [email protected].



Six Sigma and Advanced Controls—founded by Pradeep Deshpande, professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the University of Louisville in Kentucky—has created an online resource for students and educators that explores the development of what Deshpande defines as “external excellence” and “internal excellence.”

External excellence, Deshpande explains, is achieved through the application of the Six Sigma approach to quality control. Internal excellence is achieved through attention to the practice of mindfulness and the pursuit of purpose. When used in combination, Deshpande argues, they can lead to reductions in discord, as well as improvements in work performance, health and wellness, self-awareness, leadership, and creativity and innovation.

The website includes a set of six video lectures, as well as links to additional resources that go into the topic in more depth. The cost to access the site is based on number of people and duration of access. For a class of 20 students, three-day access costs approximately US$500. For more information regarding content and cost, contact [email protected].



OpenStax, an open-licensed textbook publisher out of Rice University in Houston, Texas, has welcomed a dozen new colleges and universities to its Institutional Partner Network. Each new partner participates in a first-year program that guides institutions through the stages of adopting open educational resources on their campuses.

On its website, OpenStax notes that its goal is to work with institutions that are expanding their use of open educational resources (OER). Through its partner network, it plans “to build a strong community of institutions who are working together to develop a deeper understanding of what can be done with OpenStax and the larger ecosystem of OER materials.”

In June, OpenStax made changes to the program to provide greater flexibility and expanded access to members. It also changed its criteria for selecting institutions, giving special consideration to those with high numbers of Pell grant-eligible students and minority-serving institutions.



EGADE Business School at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico has published a guide that highlights ideas for transforming the country through a more conscious model of doing business, while taking advantage of the opportunities that arise after COVID-19. The “Decalogue for the Economic & Business Refounding of Mexico” outlines ten ways to achieve these goals. These range from building more resilient societies and organizations to establishing an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The guide also emphasizes the importance of investing in education and embracing multilateral global governance and transparent leadership.

“The pandemic has shown us the pressing need to have the best leaders in our societies to cope with the ongoing health crisis and future social and economic metastases in the best possible way,” says Ignacio De la Vega, dean of the EGADE Business School and the Tecnológico de Monterrey Business School. “With this decalogue, we join the search for collective solutions to the challenges humanity is facing.”