By  on October 1, 2007

The University of Delaware is now offering a graduate certificate program in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business — a program also open to students attending Cornell University and Colorado State University.

Students elect either a labor or environmental focus, and take seven required courses plus two in the selected track, to complete the program. Participants, whether students or instructors, are from all three universities, and the offered coursework involves interaction via the Internet. Issues covered in both tracks include global supply chains for the apparel, textile and footwear industries.

Each class lasts for five weeks. Options this fall include Current Initiatives for Apparel Industry Labor Compliance and Culture & Work in the Apparel Industry. For spring, two options are Redesigning Green Apparel: Design, Sourcing & Packaging, and Socially Responsible Apparel: Global Policy. Fall 2008 courses include Bringing Social Responsibility to Apparel Corporate Culture and Worker-Centric Social Responsibility for the Apparel Industry.

In Redesigning Green Apparel, students learn about the challenges to environmental stewardship in design, sourcing and packaging of apparel, textiles and footwear products, the course description said. Innovative practices, visionary leadership and social change also are examined. Students who sign up for Socially Responsible Apparel: Global Policy analyze the political and profit interests that influence the decisions and policies for the textile and apparel industries around the world, touching upon factors such as ethics, government, international labor standards and environment regulations.

According to the University of Delaware Graduate Certificate Program Web site, the plan is to eventually open the course work to include students enrolled at other higher education institutions.

The project director is Marsha Dickson, professor and chair in the department of fashion and apparel studies at the University of Delaware. The University Web site said that students interested in the spring semester should apply no later than Jan. 1.

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