Professional & Continuing Studies

These courses are jointly offered by the University of Delaware and The Cahn Group, LLC, a corporate responsibility consultancy. Course creators and instructors are:

  • Marsha Dickson, Ph.D., a leading authority on corporate responsibility in supply chains
  • Doug Cahn, a 20-year veteran of corporate responsibility programs
  • Huantian Cao, Ph.D., a leading authority on sustainable textile and apparel design and development

Marsha Dickson, Ph.D., Irma Ayers Professor of Human Services
Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware

Dr. Marsha Dickson is Irma Ayers Professor of Human Services in the University of Delaware’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies and co-director of the Sustainable Apparel Initiative at the University of Delaware. Dr. Dickson is internationally known for her research and teaching on social responsibility in the apparel industry. She is lead author of the book Social Responsibility in the Global Apparel Industry and has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Business & Society, Journal of Business Ethics, and Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management. Dickson is president of the international consortium Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Business. She is also an executive member of the board of directors of the Fair Labor Association, a non-governmental organization originally formed by President Clinton to improve working conditions in factories around the world. In 2009, Dickson was recognized for her academic and industry contributions in social responsibility with the All Star Award from Apparel Magazine. At the University of Delaware, she spearheaded creation of UD’s online, graduate certificate in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business.

Doug Cahn, President
The Cahn Group, LLC

Doug Cahn is principal of The Cahn Group and has been a leader in designing and implementing labor standards programs in supply chains for over a decade and a half. Doug developed and managed the Reebok Human Rights Production Standards and its program of implementation, the first such program in the athletic footwear industry. During his 15-year tenure at Reebok, he hired, trained and managed a global team of professional monitors and CSR (corporate social responsibility) practitioners. As part of his responsibilities, he developed a code of conduct along with a set of compliance benchmarks to guide their implementation, he acquired knowledge of labor laws in key producing countries, he monitored factories on three continents and then trained professionals to undertake those tasks. He is responsible for numerous best-practice initiatives including creating a child-labor free soccer ball factory in Sialkot, Pakistan, worker participation schemes, including the democratic elections of worker representatives in several China factories, and a variety of training and capacity building programs. He is a regular guest lecturer at forums on labor issues facing global supply chains and has published numerous articles in print and online publications on workplace topics. Click here for more information about the Reebok human rights production standards and its innovations. Doug has personally led or participated in training sessions in Turkey, Mexico, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Bangkok, Indonesia, India, the US, France, UK, Spain, Macao, Japan, and Korea. In addition to his work at The Cahn Group, he is president of Clear Voice, an initiative that builds better communication systems for workers and managers in factories. He is co-founder of Fair Factories Clearinghouse, a nonprofit initiative of global retail companies, consumer brands and retail trade associations dedicated to creating a system for managing and sharing information about workplace conditions. He is a member of the board of Verité, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to humanizing the global workplace. He is also a member of the advisory board of GoodWeave, an organization that works to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South Asia.

Huantian Cao, Associate Professor
Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware

Dr. Huantian Cao is associate professor in the University of Delaware’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies and co-director of the Sustainable Apparel Initiative at the University of Delaware. Dr. Cao is internationally known for his research and teaching on textile science, and sustainable textile and apparel product design and development. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). Funded by NSF, he developed a course on sustainability issues for designers and merchandisers. He also advised several student projects to participate in the EPA People, Prosperity, and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability (P3 Award). His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Textile Research Journal, American Journal of Environmental Sciences, Dyes and Pigments, International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, and AATCC Review.