Erik B. Foley

Color portrait of Erik B. Foley


Department Management and Organization
Office Address 210J Business Building
Phone Number 814-762-9208
Email Address

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Erik teaches and leads workshops in leadership and strategy, entrepreneurship, sustainability strategy, and facilitation. His focus and passion is on growing organizations with servant leadership, hard-nosed business analysis, and social innovation.

Erik blogs at

Most recently, Erik was the Managing Director at Penn State's Sustainability Institute which serves all 24 campuses and advances sustainability in teaching, research, outreach and operations. Erik was also the co-founder and director of Penn State's Campus Sustainability Office which became a part of the Sustainability Institute in 2012.

Erik has served as the co-chair of the Big Ten Sustainability Group, President of the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC) and on the American Council on Renewable Energy's Higher Education Committee, and within Penn State on president-appointed University Sustainability Council which drafted the university's first Sustainability Strategic Plan. Currently, Erik serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), Network for Business Sustainability and locally on the Board of Directors of ClearWater Conservancy and on the Environmental Committee of Leadership Centre County.

Erik earned his bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies/Sociology from Whitman College and his Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from St. Francis University. Erik is married and the proud father of two great teens and lives in State College, Pennsylvania.


Sustainability Strategy
Pedagogy in Business Education for Social Innovation


MBA, Environmental Strategy, 2004

Courses Taught

BA 441 – Enterprs Sustain (3)
An understanding and analysis of how environmental and sustainability issues are impacting business strategies and ultimately profits. B A 441 Strategies for Enterprise Sustainability (3) Enterprise globalization warrants a greater level of awareness and responsibility in seeing that products and services maintain a high level of integrity, quality, and reliability; products need to be produced and moved throughout the supply chain in a manner that does not cause unacceptable environmental or social burdens, but that also allows for acceptable profits. We will examine both external and internal forces, such as environmental groups, policy-makers, and consumers that impact business strategies. This will be put into the context of the “triple bottom line” with an understanding of its challenges and opportunities. Business students will benefit by a better understanding of environmental/sustainability issues that impact operations and strategies. Students will learn via analyses of cases studies and by working in teams to solve real-world problems faced by chosen organizations. Focus will include all key aspects of an enterprise, from procurement to product development, and from human resources to supply chain solutions.

MGMT 215 – Entr Mindset (3)
This course provides the opportunity to learn to think like an entrepreneur in the broader context of social entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, creative problem solving, opportunity recognition, and innovation. MGMT 215 Entrepreneurial Mindset (3) An entrepreneurial mindset can be applied to different situations such as social entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, creative problem solving, opportunity recognition, technology management, innovation and career development, etc. The skills and attributes of an entrepreneurial mindset can be used to expand career options and career paths for students in any major. Students will develop self-efficacy, leadership, recognition of new opportunities, resourcefulness, creativity and comfort with ambiguity. Further, this course will help students develop an appreciation for mistakes and failure as valuable learning opportunities. Through experiential exercises and problem based learning the student will be afforded the opportunity to study, apply and absorb an entrepreneurial mindset as an approach to viewing the world, to recognizing opportunities and to developing novel solutions. After taking this course the student, regardless of a student's major or college, will have a greater understanding of how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to problems and adopt entrepreneurial solutions to those problems to transform them from problems into opportunities.

MGMT 496 – Indep Studies (Variable)
Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.

BA 442 – Sustn Consmr Bhvr (3)
Strategies to influence sustainable behavior considering consumer response and marketing communications. B A 442 Sustainability Behavior of Consumers, Firms, and Societies (3) Sustainability is a broad domain concerning the extent to which environmental, economic, and social practices are viable for current and future generations. Consumer awareness of sustainability issues has evolved from an emerging social movement to mainstream values, but increasing sustainable behavior remains a challenge. This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge to enhance sustainable behaviors in firms, among consumers, and in society at large. In doing so, this course will include frameworks for understanding how to influence sustainable practices, consumer response to sustainability, and marketing communication issues as well as real-world examples of sustainable practices and issues, offering both a theoretical and applied approach. The course may also include a project which will entail student teams working on a real-world sustainable behavior problem in collaboration with a business or segment of the university campus when available or other course project addressing a relevant sustainability issue. Students should leave the course with an understanding of sustainability issues in the current marketplace and the knowledge and ability to influence sustainable behaviors. Students will enter their career with the knowledge and skills to be a sustainable business decision-maker and foster sustainable behavior.

MKTG 496 – Indep Studies (Variable)
Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.