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Meet the Faculty

John Hirst


Assistant Professor (Teaching) in Management

John is Assistant Professor and Diversity Champion at Durham University Business School.


John is a Durham geography graduate whose career has spanned senior management posts in UK commercial, charitable and educational sectors. His particular interest in sustainable development draws on his experience as a geographer and a manager - he is a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Chartered Management Institute. 

John was instrumental in founding the multidisciplinary Centre for Environmental Change at Oxford University where he was also a Governor of Manchester (now Harris-Manchester) College.

Since moving to Durham, John has been the Bursar of five Durham colleges, including a period as Acting-Principal of St Johns College. During this time he has also:

  • Co-founded the multidisciplinary Centre for Applied Ethics & Relational Studies, the forerunner of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS)
  • Initiated the first Business Ethics module at Durham University Business School for the Centre for Global Learning (CGLEE)
  • Co-founded the national Consortium for Excellence in Higher Education
  • Managed a 5-year research project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) under its Good Management Practice (GMP) Programme
  • Initiated Durham University's membership of the national Association of College and University Business Officers (CUBO)
  • Developed the International Enterprise Project MBA module, featured in the latest PRME Inspirational Guide (published by Greenleaf 2015)
  • Contributed to development of the HEFCE Strategy for Sustainable Development in Higher Education

John is currently module leader for Durham University Business School courses in:

  • Corporate Responsibility – Undergraduate Programmes
  • Managing in a Global Environment – Undergraduate Programmes
  • International Study Tour – Masters Programme

He has previously led modules in Business Ethics, Strategic Management and Marketing, International Enterprise, and Social Entrepreneurship.

In addition to teaching and supervision, John is an admissions selector for undergraduate Management and Marketing Programmes and is the Business School’s Diversity Champion. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Executive Committee of the Sustainable & Responsible Business Special Interest Group of the British Academy of Management. He also represents the Business School on the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) UK & Ireland Chapter to which the Business School is currently affiliated.

Research Interests

  • International Business
  • Sustainable Development
  • Business Ethics
  • CSR
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainability Marketing

Research Groups


    Chapter in book

  • Hirst, J. (2016). Can Hotels Educate Consumers about Sustainability? In Sustainability in Hospitality: How Innovative Hotels are Transforming the Industry. Gardetti, M. & Torres, A. Sheffield: Greenleaf. 9: 156-178.
  • Hirst, J. (2015). ESD Enterprise: 'To a Better World', or Just 'to the Record'? In Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME. Murray A. et al. Sheffield: PRME/Greenleaf. 21: 147-154.
  • Conference Paper

  • Hirst, J. (2015), Can Combining PRME with HEA’s Internationalising HE Framework Provide the Wake-up Call We Need?, PRME Conference.
  • Hirst, J. (2014), Towards a Biopsychosocial Pedagogy for ESD, British Academy of Management Conference.

Contact Details

Assistant Professor (Teaching) in Management
+44 191 3345351