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San Diego State University

Faculty-Student Mentoring Program

Vinod Sasidharan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sustainable Tourism Management

Sustainable development has been increasingly influential on planning, development and policy in recent years. Debates about sustainability no longer consider sustainability solely as an environmental concern, but also incorporate economic and social dimensions. However, while a social dimension to sustainability is widely accepted, exactly what this means has not been very clearly defined or agreed. The F-SMP mentor will aim to engage students in research-based investigations to address this disparity through a detailed exploration of the concept of social and community sustainability.


By utilizing research tools and participating in scholarship activities, the student participants, or protégés, will investigate and analyze the relationship between sustainability, social responsibility, and community development. F-SMP protégés will have an opportunity to learn, understand, and evaluate social and community sustainability by applying appropriate research methodology and measurement techniques. As a result of the 2-semester program, it is expected that protégés will be able to systematically observe, report and contextualize community sustainability, i.e., social sustainability and responsibility, through measurable domains.


Finding measurable solutions to social responsibility and community sustainability within the tourism context is of significant scholarly interest to the F-SMP mentor. Throughout the process of mentoring the protégés in their respective areas of study (relating to community sustainability and social responsibility), the mentor will share his research and scholarship experience and knowledge relating to this multidisciplinary topic. Additionally, the program design will be structured in accordance with the F-SMP Undergraduate Research Student Learning Goals.


Research on the microfoundations of community sustainability and social responsibility can produce important insights that would allow us to improve our knowledge base that can build upon the popular models currently being used to implement sustainable development, at both, local and global levels. The protégés’ applied research projects will be directed towards improving our understanding of how social responsibility can serve as an important conduit to enhance community sustainability. The combined output of the research projects conducted by the protégés will be the integration of various dimensions (variables) at different levels of analysis that has the greatest potential to move the field forward.


The program is designed to ensure that protégés can complete a research, scholarship, performance or creative project within a 2 semester time-frame. Besides monitoring the protégés’ graduated acquisition of research and scholarship skills, the mentor will also periodically assess the protégés development with respect to the F-SMP Undergraduate Research Student Learning Goals. This multidisciplinary program is designed to enhance protégés’ respective overall personal- and professional-development plans through the acquisition of knowledge and applied research skills within the context of community sustainability and social responsibility.


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Vinod Sasidharan