- Note: Abstracts included where available through the University of British Columiba library
Aber, J., Kelly, T. & Mallory, B. (2009). Book Review: A review of the Sustainable Learning Community: One university’s journey to the future. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(6): 383-384.
Adlong, W. (2013). Rethinking the Talloires Declaration. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(1): 56-70.
Purpose – The purpose of this article is to critique constructively and complement the Talloires Declaration with a focus on social and cultural elements that shape action. These elements are important to achieving the needed response to the environmental issues that the Talloires Declaration highlights. While the Talloires Declaration has been significant and successful in a number of ways, it does not make clearly visible the social conditioning that – beyond information and knowledge about issues – has such a determining influence on action and environmental literacy.
Design/methodology/approach – In this article the action and change the Talloires Declaration seeks to achieve is considered against a backdrop of selected social theory and education for sustainability literature. This literature provides insights on the social change that is part of bringing about environmental improvement.
Findings – Patterns of thinking and acting that determine whether action on the environment is taken, an important aspect of environmental literacy, are on the whole determined intersubjectively and reside in perspectives and orientations that are largely tacit. Guidance to university staff to achieve the aims of the Talloires Declaration should keep in focus the need for transformation of social and cultural conditioning and entrenched, unquestioned perspectives and ways of being that strongly influence student and staff action. Staff committed to sustainability will want to consider modes through which such transformation can be fostered.
Originality/value – For those concerned with the Talloires Declaration, this article offers considerations important in orienting universities’ responses to urgent environmental issues. Few articles have proposed that this foundational document for university commitments to sustainability needs to be rethought with the benefit of passing time and in view of a wider, and largely subsequent, literature.
Adomssent, M., & Michelsen, G. (2006). German Academia heading for sustainability? Reflections on policy and practice in teaching, research and institutional innovations. Environmental Education Research, Special Issue: Environmental education in three German-speaking countries: research perspectives and recent developments 12(1): 85-99.
This article discusses how far (and by what practical means) the growing global trend for universities to commit to sustainable development has spread across German academia. Following this introduction, part 2 will outline the political framework of the sustainability discourse in German higher education. Part 3 will emphasise the integration of sustainability principles into universities’ operational practices and institutional missions through teaching and research. Part 4 discusses Eco‐Audits for universities as a promising step towards sustainability. That the commitment to becoming a sustainable institution is not without its challenges is described in the final section, part 5, by a case study of the University of Lüneburg.
Adomssent, M., Godemann, J., & Michelsen, G. (2007). Transferability of approaches to sustainable development at universities as a challenge. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(4): 385-402
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to outline the particular character of the research and development project “Sustainable University – Sustainable development in the Context of University Remits” which lies both in its integrative perspective on universities and the attempt to transfer its findings onto other higher education institutions.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper describes the testing and further development of transdisciplinary research methods (transformative approach, scenario development) for the purpose of both exploring and testing potentials/capabilities for sustainable development of a single institution (case study: University of Luneburg, Germany) against the backdrop of sustainability concept; and making this kind of development transferable to other universities. The paper offers additional reinforcement of strategic scope/effectiveness by means of reference to findings of higher education research (e.g. relevance of neo-institutionalism)
Findings – There is empirical evidence for successful development of transdisciplinary techniques for sustainability in higher education domains (among others management, research, and teaching – cf. other contributions of this issue). Further, dissemination of the “Luneburg Approach” by establishing an intermediate level of collaboration between sustainability activists within universities and in higher education policy and administration (e.g. constitution of working groups in northern Germany and at the federal level)
Research limitations/implications – There is a need for enhancing research tools for transdisciplinary sustainability science; deliberating on international transferability (current focus: (solely) German academia)
Practical implication – A systemic approach is indispensable: instead of focusing upon isolated sustainability fields of action” (management, research, teaching, etc.), all-embracing advancement to encompass their strategic relationships and thus synergies.
Originality/value – The paper provides a holistic view of academic organisations addressing the issue of how universities are to be proactive in advancing sustainable development.
Agyeman, J. (2008). Toward a ‘just’ sustainability? Continuum – Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22(6): 751-757.
Agyeman, J., & Evans, B. (2004). ‘Just sustainability’: The emerging discourse of environmental justice in Britain? The Geographical Journal 170(2): 155-164.
Environmental justice is both a vocabulary for political opportunity, mobilization and action, and a policy principle to guide public decision making. It emerged initially in the US, and more recently in the UK, as a new vocabulary underpinning action by community organizations campaigning against environmental injustices. However, as the environmental justice discourse has matured, it has become increasingly evident that it should play a role in the wider agendas for sustainable development and social inclusion. The links between sustainability and environmental justice are becoming clearer and more widely understood in the UK by NGOs and government alike, and it is the potential synergy between these two discourses which is the focus of this paper. This paper argues that the concept of ‘just sustainability’ provides a discourse for policymakers and activists, which brings together the key dimensions of both environmental justice and sustainable development.
Agyeman, J., & Evans, T. (2003). Toward Just Sustainability in urban communities: Building equity rights with sustainable solutions. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 590: 35-53.
Two concepts that provide new directions for public policy, environmental justice and sustainability, are both
highly contested. Each has tremendous potential to effect long-lasting change. Despite the historically different origins of these two concepts and their attendant movements, there exists an area of theoretical compatibility between them. This conceptual overlap is a critical nexus for a broad social movement to create livable, sustainable communities for all people in the future. The goal of this article is to illustrate the nexus in the United States. The authors do this by presenting a range of local or regionally based practical models in five areas of common concern to both environmental justice and sustainability: land use planning, solid waste, toxic chemical use, residential energy use, and transportation. These models address both environmental justice principles while working toward greater sustainability in urbanized areas.
Allen-Gil, S. [moderator] (2010). Roundtable: Sustainability as an academic discipline. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 3(5): 271-275.
Allen-Gill, S., Walker, L., Thomas, G., Shevory, T., & Elan, S. (2005). Forming a
community partnership to enhance education in sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(4): 392-402.
Purpose – To provide an example of how colleges can partner with local EcoVillages to further
sustainability curriculum on campus and the educational mission of the EcoVillages, and to strengthen ties with the community.
Design/methodology/approach – Describes four structured courses developed for the Environmental Studies Program, including sustainable communities, sustainable land use, sustainable energy and environmental futures. Additionally, independent research opportunities in wind energy, solar photovoltaics, and GIS/GPS developed as part of the curriculum. Describes numerous ancillary activities that have promoted sustainability across campus and the community.
Findings – Provides information about how to develop educational partnerships with community groups, foster sustainability education on campus, recruit additional faculty involvement, and influence college operations with respect to sustainability.
Practical implications – A very useful source of information for those involved in building
sustainability curriculum and linking it to campus operations and community outreach.
Originality/value – This paper describes a unique partnership between a college and an intentional community that serves as a model for other colleges and universities.
Alvarez, A., & Rogers, J. (2006). Going “out there”: Learning about sustainability in place. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(2): 176-188.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe how the authors shifted from teaching about sustainability as though it was fixed and definable, to a way of learning about the multiple ways in which sustainability is contested and understood. This shift involved both an epistemological shift in their understanding of sustainability and a shift in teaching practice.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper reflects on the authors’ teaching practice and describes a shift from an investigative to an interpretative approach. This shift resulted from taking students out in the field to hear from land managers and community members in regional and rural Victoria about how they understand sustainability. Central to the shift was recognising the value of the learning occurring “out there”.
Findings – The authors argue that had the students remained in the classroom learning about sustainability with community and its socio-environmental context at a distance the shift that occurred in the teaching and learning experience would have been less likely to occur. The authors now see themselves as facilitating a process where learners (both teachers and students) are exposed to different understandings of sustainability and are able to recognise the messy and complex reality of sustainability on-the-ground.
Practical implications – Much of what is going on in sustainability education is prescriptive: environmental targets, audits, energy and water efficiency, sustainable design mapped on to the curriculum of various disciplines and fields. This paper highlights the need to broaden out the sustainability education agenda, to fully examine how it is taught, why and what is its value to learning.
Originality/value – This paper describes the development of a course that explores the complexity of on the ground sustainability in regional and rural Australia. Such an approach to teaching about sustainability is innovative in that it challenges taken for granted assumptions about what is and is not sustainable by exposing students to conversations with ordinary people making sense of and attempting to negotiate change in their lives. In this learning experience sustainability becomes a complex set of discourses and practices that interweave through and over people’s lives rather than a check list of appropriate practices.
Anderberg, E., Nordén, B., & Hansson, B. (2009). Global learning for sustainable development in higher education: Recent trends and a critique. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(4): 368-378.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a synopsis of some major trends that have marked discussions on global learning for sustainable development (GLSD) in higher education. The aim is formulated against the background of the complexity represented in GLSD, as well as the fact that sustainable development (SD) is an issue of global interest for universities.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted an overview in recent trends in research on GLSD in higher education over the last 20 years, based on the combination of the keyword higher education for Sustainable Development with global learning (GL) and global education.
Findings – The overview suggests that only relatively limited steps have been implemented to achieve GLSD, and rhetoric still dominates the discussions. It appears that little empirical research has been undertaken on learning in global settings. Several authors have identified the need for a competence-based curriculum for GLSD.
Originality/value – Universities, professionals and students need to take greater responsibility. How knowledge, values and abilities are formed and developed from the global learner’s perspective therefore, remains an open and fundamental question. The paper underlines the crucial role that higher education plays in GL for sustainability.
Arbuthnott, K.D. (2009). Education for sustainable development beyond attitude change. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(2): 152-163.
Purpose – Many education for sustainable development (ESD) programs are designed to change attitudes and values toward the natural environment. However, psychological research indicates that several factors in addition to attitude influence behavior, including contextual support, social norms, action difficulty, and habitual behavior. Thus, if attitude change is to translate into altered behavior, education must extend beyond attitudes to assist people to act in ways consistent with their values. The purpose of this paper is to review the psychological research showing weak correlation between attitudes and behavior, the factors that mediate this relationship, and to describe the implications of these findings for university institutions and ESD programs.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is organized as a review and editorial article, describing relevant research, and outlining implications and suggested actions.
Findings – The results of the reviewed research indicate that attitude-behavior correlations are mediated by several factors, including contextual conditions such as inconvenience and personal factors such as habits.
Practical implications – The implications of these findings are that ESD programs should specifically address factors that mediate the attitude-behavior relationship, including contextual changes and the development of personal management plans. Examples for each type of change are suggested.
Originality/value – The implications of these findings for ESD programs have not previously been highlighted. Specifically, to achieve sustainable development requires attention to these mediating factors as well as to knowledge generation and attitude change. Thus, the value of this paper is to encourage ESD developers to expand their programs to encourage contextual change and personal behavior management plans.
Axelsson, H., Sonesson, K., & Wickenberg, P. (2008). Why and how do universities work for sustainability in higher education (HE)? International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(4): 469-478.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to open up a discussion about the roles and responsibilities of universities in society.
Design/methodology/approach – The vision of the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Skane a leading example on how to develop new knowledge about education for sustainable development (ESD) at all levels. The paper poses the question “Why do universities involve in this process?”. Lund University as the old, traditional university and the ten-year old university of Malmö on the other hand was formed on the bases of a vision about a university for all people.
Findings – The paper finds that two universities have been active in creating RCE Skane, together with three political organizations. The vision has developed to include issues like capacity for cross-boundary action, knowledge-sharing and civic education, all important parts in learning for a sustainable future.
Practical implications – The paper discusses the processes at these universities that led up to working together in RCE Skåne and the importance of having the Act on Higher Education in 2006 about responsibility for education for sustainability at all universities.
Originality/value – In forming RCEs all over the world it is important to learn from each other and universities play an important role in these actions.
Bardaglio, P., & Putman, A. (2009). Editorial: A new era in higher education? Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(5): 257-258.
Bardati, D.R. (2006). The integrative role of the campus environmental audit: experiences at Bishop’s University, Canada. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(1): 57-68.
Purpose – This paper seeks to suggest that the campus environmental audit can become an important tool that synergizes active learning and operations planning and management approaches to promote sustainability on university campuses.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents the author’s experiences at Bishop’s University with the evolution of the campus environmental audit program between 1993 and 2003. In those ten years, the campus environmental audit program began as an undergraduate thesis project, and then became transformed into a pedagogical tool for giving students active learning experience. The environmental audit program eventually became institutionalized when it received official recognition as a university-sanctioned operations planning and management tool.
Findings – These experiences are used to draw out the lessons learned about the integrative role of the campus environmental audit and the need for further research. Lessons include: the need to overcome important barriers of cost, fear of adverse publicity, and fear of potential legal problems associated with campus environmental auditing; the important role that inter-personal relationships within the university plays in the successful implementation of any environmental auditing program; and the major influence on students of teachers who incorporate campus environmental auditing projects into their curriculum.
Practical implications – These experiences at Bishop’s University can serve as a model for other institutions. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research directions that are necessary to further explore the integrative role of the environmental audit on university campuses.
Originality/value – As a ten-year retrospective assessment of the evolution of campus environmental auditing at one university, the paper presents a novel approach to understanding the role of the environmental audit for promoting sustainability. The paper will have value for teachers and university administrators who wish to integrate sustainability initiatives with both higher education and campus operations planning and management goals in mind.
Barlett, P.F. (2002). The Emory University campus walking tour: Awakening a sense of place. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(2): 105-112.
The paper describes Emory University’s campus self-guided walking tour, a pleasant activity that heightens environmental awareness and builds a stronger connection to place. Brochures present ten sites and facts about forests and water (including damage from storm surges, erosion, and invasive species), the built environment (including new “green” building efforts), and campus history (including architectural strategies, past faculty activism, and commitments by campus administrators). The tour highlights trade-offs and tensions among issues and teaches by raising questions. Issues of health, natural beauty, campus growth, and quality of life are also presented. Guided introductions to the tour seem to be most effective, though the brochure is also powerful used alone. A fun activity for a group, the walking tour builds community and awakens interest among those not otherwise engaged in environmental activities.
Barnes, N.J., & Phillips, P.S. (2000). Higher education partnerships: Creating new value in the environment sector. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(2): 182-190.
Outlines some of the benefits that can arise through partnership working between higher education institutions and other local organisations in the environment sector. Aims to contribute to the debate on sustainability by highlighting the capacity for partnerships to “unlock” value retained within single organisations. Argues for the need for more creativity in the ways in which HEIs interact with other organisations in the environment sector, in order to harness mutually-advantageous opportunities. The situation in Northamptonshire (central England) is described and case studies are included to demonstrate some local successful partnership-based projects and to highlight the wider approach. Suggests this approach can offer considerable scope for the personal development of academics and to benefit HEIs, the local communities they serve and the economies they operate within. States, in addition, that partnership working can significantly contribute to the process of sustainable management within HEIs and external organisations by promoting the effective use of human resources, information and finance for environmentally beneficial activity.
Barry, J. (2008). Spires, plateaus and the infertile landscape of Education for Sustainable Development: Re-invigorating the university through integrating community, campus and curriculum. International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development 2(3-4): 433-452
Bartosh, O., Mayer-Smith, J., Peterat, L. & Sinkinson, S. (2005). Integrating science and environmental education on the urban farm: A teacher’s story. Proceedings of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX, April 3-6, 2005. [Paper #206984, CD]
Beckford, C. (2008). Re-orienting environmental education in teacher education programs in Ontario. Journal of Teaching and Learning 5(1): 55-66.
Bell, D. R. (2004). Creating green citizens? Political liberalism and environmental education. Journal of Philosophy of Education 38(1): 37-54.
This paper considers whether the promotion of an environmental ethic in schools is compatible with the political liberal’s commitment to ‘neutrality’. A new account of the implications of John Rawls’s political liberalism for the ‘basic structure’ of education is developed. The prima facie incompatibility of political liberalism and the promotion of an environmental ethic is misleading. Rawls’s political liberalism requires—as a matter of intergenerational justice—the promotion of the ‘sustainability virtues’. Moreover, it permits the promotion of ‘greener’ ideals.
Beringer, A. (2006). Campus sustainability audit research in Atlantic Canada: pioneering the campus sustainability assessment framework. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(4): 437-455.
Purpose – To introduce the campus sustainability assessment framework (CSAF) as a campus sustainability audit methodology; to share student campus sustainability audit research; to reflect on using the CSAF for pedagogy; to review the usefulness of the CSAF as an action research instrument; to encourage other faculty/sustainability educators to incorporate the CSAF into their curriculum; to present the Sierra Youth Coalition, Canada Sustainable Campuses project as a campaign worth emulating in other countries; to build the body of knowledge in using sustainability audits to integrate research, education, and campus operations.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper describes the Sierra Youth Coalition Sustainable Campuses project, a national student campus sustainability campaign in Canada, and how its campaign tool, the CSAF, was implemented at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) to facilitate project-based sustainability education. The paper shares the author’s rationale and experience of using the CSAF to conduct UPEI’s first campus sustainability audit, and of offering the CSAF for course credit.
Findings – The UPEI CSAF experience suggests the CSAF is a constructive tool for post-secondary sustainability education; that it is possible to assess the ten CSAF sections (water, materials, air, energy, land; health and wellbeing, community, knowledge, governance, economy and wealth) and the total of 169 indicators in less than one academic year; and that students value the hands-on learning, practical outcomes, and national recognition afforded by conducting a campus sustainability audit using the CSAF.
Practical implications – The UPEI experience can encourage other universities and colleges, in particular post-secondary institutions in Canada, in synergizing sustainability research, education, and campus operations.
Originality/value – The paper will help Canadian faculty to evaluate the CSAF as a pedagogical tool and as an audit instrument. Non-Canadian readers may glean insights for integrating student activism into higher education for sustainability. Researchers, educators, and university administrators keen to improve the sustainability performance of their institution can benefit by learning from UPEI’s integrative approach.
Beringer, A. (2007). The Lüneburg Sustainable University Project in international comparison: An assessment against North American peers. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(4): 446-461.
Purpose – To assess the Lüneburg Sustainable University Project (the Project) in a non-European international context; to relate the project scholarly approach to selected scholarly and practice-oriented North American sustainability in higher education (SHE) methods; to analyze project innovations against North American initiatives.
Design/methodology/approach – Benchmarking indicators were developed inductively in four SHE areas – governance/administration, curriculum/student opportunities, research/scholarship, and operations – via thematic content analysis of 15 descriptions of USA and Canadian universities active in SHE. Data were triangulated with data from the fourth Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Campus Sustainability Leaders 2006.
Findings – The assessment against selected North American peers suggests that the project is unique in its scholarly approach to and scientific foundation of sustainability in higher education. The transdisciplinary transformative case study is not replicated at any of the comparison institutions; however, elements of the approach and scholarly framework can be found at all North American universities participating in this assessment. North American institutions tend to excel in operational innovations; to keep abreast of international developments, University of Lüneburg is encouraged to commit to a climate-neutral campus strategy and to implement a sustainability management system, amongst other initiatives.
Practical implications – Knowledge transfer and capacity-building: North American post-secondary institutions can learn from the theoretically-guided, applied research-based approach to SHE. Through intensified exchange (partnerships) with North American peers, the project and the University of Lüneburg stand to profit from community-based research approaches and the practice-oriented work of USA and Canadian campus sustainability offices.
Originality/value – The paper contributes an “outsider’s perspective” to the project evaluation. Methodologically, the paper contributes to inductive SHE indicator development.
Beringer, A., & Adomssent, M. (2008). Sustainable university research and development: inspecting sustainability in higher education research. Environmental Education Research Special Issue: Sustainability in Higher Education Research 14(6): 607-623.
Sustainability in higher education is dominated by practical ‘greening the campus’ programs and initiatives. This paper examines sustainable university research and development projects as part of the ‘greening the campus’ spectrum, yet distinct in their specific holistic and scientific orientation. Sustainable university projects seek institutional transformation in strategic and systematic ways; they perceive universities as open, dynamic systems capable of learning and change. Within this system, the two interlocking subsystems of academia and operations provide many leverage points for sustainable development; when utilized together, synergies for sustainability in higher education emerge which may quicken whole‐systems transformation. Sustainable university research and development not only describes and monitors such opportunities and processes of institutional transformation, it also directs institutional development toward a more sustainable university.
Beringer, A., Wright T., & Malone, L. (2008). Sustainability in higher education in Atlantic Canada. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(1): 48-67.
Purpose – The purpose is to ascertain the state of sustainability in higher education (SHE) in Atlantic Canada (sustainability education/curriculum; research and scholarship; operations; faculty/staff development and rewards; community outreach and service; student opportunities; and institutional mission, structure and planning).
Design/methodology/approach – All Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) member institutions in Atlantic Canada were sampled in 2005/2006 to examine sustainability performance. Data were collected using the sustainability assessment questionnaire (SAQ) and were triangulated with document, webpage, and additional survey research.
Findings – The majority of higher education institutions in Atlantic Canada are engaged in sustainable development work, most notably in the area of curriculum. Sustainability research and scholarship is spread amongst faculty and students; many institutions have inter- or multi-disciplinary research structures to address sustainability questions across campus and in collaboration with community partners. Much unrealized potential remains within physical operations, faculty/staff development and rewards, and student opportunities. No single university emerges as the Atlantic Canadian SHE leader; Acadia University (Wolfville, Nova Scotia), St Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) and Mt Allison University (Sackville, New Brunswick) excel in a regional peers comparison.
Research limitations/implications – The Atlantic Canada study commences a series of five regional SHE assessments in Canada.
Practical implications – The study strengthens ongoing efforts for creative institutional solutions to reduce the ecological footprint of higher education institutions. It contributes to SHE knowledge transfer and capacity-building.
Originality/value – The study is the first regional SHE performance assessment in Canada. It serves as a pilot study and strategic planning tool.
Bhasin, B.S., Bjarnadottir, T., Das, V.N., Dock, M.M., Pullins, E.E., Rosales, J.R., Savanick, S., Stricherz, D.M., & Weller, L.A. (2003). Passport to Earth Summit 2002: A case study in exploring sustainable development at the University of Minnesota. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 4(3): 239-249.
The second Earth Summit renewed attention to sustainable development and environmental concerns worldwide; in our university, however, attention has been minimal. In response, several campus organizations collaborated to raise awareness on campus and in the local community by hosting a year-long, nine-event series of speakers and panels, each related to a chapter of Agenda 21. In addition to raising awareness among our constituency, we sought to increase our initiative’s sustainability. Towards these ends, we developed 11 objectives, monitoring our success at achieving these objectives throughout the year by using surveys of participants, panelists, and collaborators. Here we reflect on the series’ impact based on evaluation analyses, and an assessment of how well we reached our goals. We close this paper with a discussion of our case study as a means to evolve sustainability interests at institutions of higher education into functional sustainability networks, initiatives and educational programs.
Biedenweg, K., Monroe, M.C., & Oxarat, A. (2013). The importance of teaching ethics of sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(1): 6-14.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the importance of a focus on ethics in sustainability education and present results from a pilot graduate-level course titled the Ethics of Sustainability.
Design/methodology/approach – This is a case study presenting a qualitative evaluation from a pilot 14-week Ethics of Sustainability course. Data are based on observations, surveys and interviews with students.
Findings – Students from diverse fields found the ethical concepts new, stimulating and crucial for their careers. Ethical concepts provide a framework for thinking about sustainable practices in their personal and professional lives.
Research limitations/implications – Findings are based on a single pilot course and post-participation responses. Future research could explore different teaching strategies and different institutions, and use pre/post studies.
Practical implications – This study suggests that a course on ethical principles related to sustainability is a useful and potentially critical component to any curriculum intending to prepare future professionals to be effective contributors to a sustainable society. Higher education may adopt the course concepts and learning tools to enhance their curriculum and businesses and corporations will benefit from entry-level professionals with a solid ethical foundation for making more sustainability-oriented decisions.
Originality/value – The paper discusses an innovative course designed with funding from the US National Science Foundation. It confirms the benefit and provides some content advice for a course oriented toward ethics in sustainability curricula.
Blanchet, K.D. (2009). Sustainability Program Profile: Mandate or mantra at Stanford University? Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(1): 33-37.
Blanchet, K.D. (2009). Sustainability Program Profile: Green Mountain College puts liberal arts focus on the environment and sustainability. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(5): 288-291.
Blewitt, J. (2005). Education for sustainable development, natural capital and sustainability: Learning to Last. Environmental Education Research 11(1): 71-82.
This paper explores the use of metaphor in public policy and learning as a context for a reflective discussion of a nationally funded initiative focusing on the dissemination of good practice in education for sustainable development in the UK’s post‐16 sector. Learning to Last was the first, and so far only, project of its kind. Its conception and management epitomised the use of the toolkit metaphor, and reinforced and reproduced the instrumental rationality characterising educational governance and public management in the UK. The potential for metaphor or metaphorical concepts such as natural capital to articulate and stimulate new ways of thinking and behaving or even possibly offering a glimpse of a paradigmatic shift in institutional policy and practice relating to education and sustainability was not fully realised.
Blewitt, J. (2010). Deschooling society? A lifelong learning network for sustainable communities, urban regeneration and environmental technologies. Sustainability 2(11): 3465-3478.
The complexity and multifaceted nature of sustainable lifelong learning can be effectively addressed by a broad network of providers working co-operatively and collaboratively. Such a network involving the third, public and private sector bodies must realise the full potential of accredited flexible and blended formal learning, contextual opportunities offered by enablers of informal and non-formal learning and the affordances derived from the various loose and open spaces that can make social learning effective. Such a conception informs the new Lifelong Learning Network Consortium on Sustainable Communities, Urban Regeneration and Environmental Technologies established and led by the Lifelong Learning Centre at Aston University. This paper offers a radical, reflective and political evaluation of its first year in development arguing that networked learning of this type could prefigure a new model for lifelong learning and sustainable education that renders the city itself a creative medium for transformative learning and sustainability.
Special Issue: Sustainable Education
Bonnett, M. (2002). Education for sustainability as a frame of mind. Environmental Education Research 8(1): 9-21.
This article will review some problems with taking the notion of sustainable development, as a policy , as the touchstone of environmental education and will explore some central strands to understanding sustainability as a frame of mind . It will be argued that at the heart of this interpretation of sustainability lies the notion of a right relationship with nature which both conditions our attitudes towards the environment and our sense of our own identity. The contribution of certain influential eco-centric accounts to the idea of sustainability is critically evaluated and a sense of sustainability is developed which is neither anthropocentric nor eco-centric. It is argued that the essence of sustainability, so conceived, is intrinsic to authentic human consciousness and some of the metaphysical issues which it raises for education and modern Western society are indicated.
- This article was reprinted in 2006, Environmental Education Research, Special Issue: Researching Education and the Environment: Retrospect and Prospect 12(3-4): 265-276.
Bornman, G.M. (2004). Programme review guidelines for quality assurance in higher education: A South African perspective. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(4): 372-383.
All educators should reflect on and assess the quality of their teaching and their learning programmes. Such reflection is the subject of this article. The focus is on higher education (HE) with particular emphasis on distance learning institutions. A particular educational programme is considered, namely a course-work Master’s degree in environmental education at a South African distance learning university. Sustainable living is one of the envisaged outcomes of this programme. This article gives a general perspective on quality assurance in HE. The views of a number of authors are discussed, with special reference to HE in the cultural diversity of South Africa. Various approaches and factors that influence learning assessment are discussed. The theme of sustainability as integrated in HE programmes is emphasised as one of the criteria that should determine quality in education programmes. It is concluded that, although programme assessment is a difficult process and necessarily contextualised, it is an important tool for ensuring quality teaching and learning. Programme assessment is a form of critical self-evaluation that includes peer evaluation and evaluative input from students.
Bould, N. (2009). Sustainable design education in New Zealand. Paper presentation to International Association of Societies of Design Education. COEX, Seoul, Korea. See: http://www.iasdr2009.org/
In 2007 the opportunity to visit the northern hemisphere to interview individuals who are currently teaching sustainable design emerged. These interviews shaped my preliminary research, which questions what is understood by sustainable design, how it is taught and why. The principal research for my doctoral thesis considers what is happening in New Zealand’s tertiary education system and includes data gathered from design institutes, design educators and design students. Furthermore, information gathered from two design businesses provides the practical and economic perspective essential for sustainability education. This paper predominantly considers the findings of design education in New Zealand and aims to determine barriers, constraints, enablers and facilitators related to sustainability in design curricula. Arguments regarding sustainability, design and sustainable design education have developed rapidly over the past decade, therefore my research looks toward augmenting design education’s attention to the importance of developing students’ appreciation for the need to act as facilitators for change.
Bowers, C.A. (2002). Toward an eco-justice pedagogy. Environmental Education Research 8(1):21-34
This paper will address three issues: (1) the nature and importance of an eco-justice pedagogy; (2) how an eco-justice pedagogy differs from the recommendations of critical pedagogy theorists who rely upon key root metaphors (e.g. emancipated individualism, linear view of progress, anthropocentrism) that co-evolved with the Industrial Revolution and are now the basis of the globalization process; and (3) the reforms that need to be undertaken in teacher education in order for teachers to balance critical inquiry with helping students recognize and participate in the non-commodified aspects of community life. The latter will involve giving special attention to what teachers need to understand about how the language of the curriculum is based on root metaphors that organize thinking in ways that ignore environmental racism and the marginalization of different cultural approaches to community not oriented toward dependency upon modern technology and consumerism
Bray, C. (2008). Program evaluation of the sustainability of teaching methods. Environmental Education Research, Special Issue: Sustainability in Higher Education Research 14(6): 655-666.
This paper suggests a particular question that higher education researchers might ask: ‘Do educational programs use teaching methods that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable?’ It further proposes that program evaluation research (PER) can be used to answer the question. Consideration is given to: a) program evaluation research processes and indicators, and their modifications for evaluating the sustainability of teaching methods; and b) institutional sustainability evaluation research tools and their modifications for the evaluation of teaching. North American university and college program evaluation websites and sustainability evaluation tools used to assess universities in North America are examined.
Brinkhurst, M. Rose, P., Maurice, G., & Ackerman, J.D. (2011). Achieving campus sustainability: Top-down, bottom-up, or neither? International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 12(4): 338-354.
Purpose – The dynamics of organizational change related to environmental sustainability on university campuses are examined in this article. Whereas case studies of campus sustainability efforts tend to classify leadership as either “top-down” or “bottom-up”, this classification neglects consideration of the leadership roles of the institutional “middle” – namely the faculty and staff.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors draw from research conducted on sustainability initiatives at the University of Guelph combined with a review of faculty and staff-led initiatives at universities across Canada and the USA, as well as literature on best practices involving campus sustainability. Using concepts developed in business and leadership literature, faculty and staff are shown to be universities’ equivalent to social “intrapreneurs”, i.e. those who work for social and environmental good from within large organizations.
Findings – Faculty and staff members are found to be critical leaders in efforts to achieve lasting progress towards campus sustainability, and conventional portrayals of campus sustainability initiatives often obscure this. Greater attention to the potential of faculty and staff leadership and how to effectively support their efforts is needed.
Originality/value – In the paper, a case is made for emphasizing faculty and staff leadership in campus sustainability efforts and several successful strategies for overcoming barriers are presented.
Brundiers, K., Wiek, A., & Redman, C.L. (2010). Real-world learning opportunities in sustainability: From classroom into the real world. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(4): 308-324.
Purpose – Academic sustainability programs aim to develop key competencies in sustainability, including problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate successfully with experts and stakeholders. These key competencies may be most fully developed in new teaching and learning situations. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the kind of, and extent to which, these key competencies can be acquired in real-world learning opportunities.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper summarizes key competencies in sustainability, identifies criteria for real-world learning opportunities in sustainability programs, and draws on dominant real-world learning models including project- and problem-based learning, service learning, and internships in communities, businesses, and governments. These components are integrated into a framework to design real-world learning opportunities.
Findings – A “functional and progressive” model of real-world learning opportunities seems most conducive to introduce students (as well as faculty and community partners) to collaborative research between academic researchers and practitioners. The stepwise process combined with additional principles allows building competencies such as problem solving, linking knowledge to action, and collaborative work, while applying concepts and methods from the field of sustainability.
Practical implications – The paper offers examples of real-world learning opportunities at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, discusses general challenges of implementation and organizational learning, and draws attention to critical success factors such as collaborative design, coordination, and integration in general introductory courses for undergraduate students.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to sustainability education by clarifying how real-world learning opportunities contribute to the acquisition of key competencies in sustainability. It proposes a functional and progressive model to be integrated into the (undergraduate) curriculum and suggests strategies for its implementation.
Brunetti, A.J., Petrell, R.J., & Sawada, B. (2003). SEEDing sustainability: Team project-based learning enhances awareness of sustainability at the University of British Columbia, Canada. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 4(3): 210-217.
The University of British Columbia’s campus sustainability office, through the “Social, ecological, and economic development studies” (SEEDS) program, gave a team of students in a bio-environmental engineering design course an environmental problem to resolve for their term project. The students did not resolve the problem, but the project-based learning approach was effective in teaching them about social, economic and environmental sustainability issues. It also provided the campus with a new sense of direction concerning the solution to the particular problem. The teaching process required that the instructors change their teaching approaches as well as subject matter. Changes in individual engineering-related skill levels were difficult to assess and, due to this, corrective actions were undertaken to address team project-based assessment in the future. The teaching approach can be adapted to other educational settings. This paper will describe the overall learning and teaching process.
Buchan, G. D., Spellerberg, I.F., & Blum. W.E.H. (2007). Education for sustainability: Developing a postgraduate-level subject with an international perspective. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(1): 4-15.
Purpose – To describe the development and structure of a new Master’s-level subject entitled “Aspects of sustainability: an international perspective” as a potential model, adoptable by other tertiary-level educators.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper describes the evolution and re-shaping of a subject designed for postgraduate students from diverse programmes (from science-based to sociology-based). It was re-designed in 2004, in part to support the co-introduction by Lincoln University of two new, globally innovative Masters degrees, but also as a contribution to the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014). The two new degrees are taught and awarded jointly by Lincoln University and a partner European University, and thus are based on unique Northern-Southern hemisphere linkages. We describe the subject content (including its major assignment), and its evaluations by students.
Findings – A successful subject has been developed, but it required a step change in its structure in order to (a) retain connectedness and common themes across its wide-ranging topics, and (b) meet the expectations and aspirations of multi-disciplinary, multi-national classes.
Practical implications – This paper details the key ingredients of a subject designed to prepare postgraduate students for careers involving sustainability at international or regional level. The subject’s structure is a potential model for adoption in other tertiary programmes.
Originality/value – The subject’s structure is highly appropriate for a multi-disciplinary, multi-national student group, and demonstrates one university’s efforts to contribute to DESD. The format of the main assignment is offered as a model for adoption by others engaged in education for sustainability.
Bunch, R., Collin, R.M., Lovins, L.H., Maloy, S., Redman, C., Sweedler, A. & Assistant Vice President. (2010). Roundtable: Sustainability in graduate schools, Do grad students need master’s degrees in sustainability—and will they be able to get jobs with them? Sustainability: The Journal of Record 3(2): 90-95.
Calder, W. (2007). AASHE 2006: The role of higher education in creating a sustainable world. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 1:15-16.
Cantor, N. (2008). Editorial: Truth, justice, and the sustainable way. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(4): 219-219.
Cassidy, A. (2011). Sustainability education: Leading by example. Bridges 9(2): 15-16 University of Saskatchewan. www.usask.ca/gmcte
Cato, M.S. (2014). What the willow teaches: Sustainability learning as craft. Learning and Teaching, Volume 7, Number 2, Summer, 2014. pp. 4-27 (24). You can read the abstract here: http://berghahn.publisher.ingentaconnect.com/content/berghahn/latiss/2014/00000007/00000002/art00002
Cato, M.S., & Myers, J. (2010). Education as re-embedding: Stroud communiversity, walking the land and the enduring spell of the sensuous. Sustainability 3(1): 51-68.
How we know, is at least as important as what we know: Before educationalists can begin to teach sustainability, we need to explore our own views of the world and how these are formed. The paper explores the ontological assumptions that underpin, usually implicitly, the pedagogical relationship and opens up the question of how people know each other and the world they share. Using understandings based in a phenomenological approach and guided by social constructionism, it suggests that the most appropriate pedagogical method for teaching sustainability is one based on situated learning and reflexive practice. To support its ontological questioning, the paper highlights two alternative culture’s ways of understanding and recording the world: Those of the Inca who inhabited pre-Columbian Peru, which was based on the quipu system of knotted strings, and the complex social and religious system of the songlines of the original people of Australia. As an indication of the sorts of teaching experiences that an emancipatory and relational pedagogy might give rise to, the paper offers examples of two community learning experiences in the exemplar sustainable community of Stroud, Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom where the authors live.
Caviglia-Harris, J.L., & Hatley, J. (2004). Interdisciplinary teaching: Analyzing consensus and conflict in environmental studies. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(4): 395-403.
This paper is a discussion of a team-taught interdisciplinary course that was designed to provide cohesion between the 12 departments that participate in the environmental studies major at Salisbury University. This course provides a model for addressing several positive and negative tendencies at work in interdisciplinary programs, and provides students with a first-hand experience in how multiple disciplines can work together to provide a more developed picture of a particular field or interest. This paper presents a discussion of the teaching experiences of faculty involved in the environmental studies course for two years. A framework for the development of such courses is included, as well as a discussion of the agreements and disagreements that can arise when students and faculty work within an interdisciplinary context.
Chalkley, B. & Sterling, S. (2011). Hard times in higher education: The closer of subject centres and the implications for education for sustainable development. Sustainability, Special Issue: Sustainable Education 3(4): 666-677
Within many British Universities and, indeed, across higher education internationally, how best to provide education for sustainable development (ESD) has become an increasingly important issue. There is now a widespread view that higher education sectors have a key part to play in preparing societies for the transition to a low carbon economy and the shift towards more sustainable ways of living and working. In the UK, a leading role in this field has been played by the Higher Education Academy and especially its network of 24 Subject Centres, each of which promotes curriculum enhancement in a particular discipline area. The mission of the Higher Education Academy has been to help raise the overall quality of the student learning experience across all disciplines and all Higher Education institutions (HEIs). As part of promoting and supporting many kinds of curriculum innovation and staff development, the HE Academy has championed the cause of ESD. Now, however, as a result of government spending cuts, the Academy is facing severe budget reductions and all its Subject Centres are soon to close. At this pivotal moment, the purpose of this paper is, therefore, to review the HE Academy’s past contribution to ESD and to explore the likely future implications of the demise of its Subject Centres. The paper ends by outlining some ideas as to how the ESD agenda might be advanced in the post-Subject Centre era, in the light of the Academy’s intention to support subject communities under its new structure. The paper has been developed through participation in key committees, engagement with Academy and Subject Centre staff, as well as through a literature review.
Chapman, R.L. (2007). How to think about environmental studies. Journal of Philosophy of Education 41(1): 59-74.
It is not possible to date when environmental studies became ‘Environmental Studies’. Nevertheless it has had a turbulent history marked by inconsistency, conflict and change. It is not surprising that at present it lacks disciplinary coherence and is subject to various definitions, often contradictory. There is ongoing speculation as to the cause of this identity crisis: ‘curricular universalism’ (absence of a unifying concept), academic territorialism and pedagogical clashes. I argue that a philosophical inquiry into the role of values in Environmental Studies provides the missing coherence and unity. Further, I argue that environmental problems directly related to deliberate human action are the province of applied philosophy and offer a formal argument to support this claim, and briefly address and dismiss the controversy over the teaching of values. I conclude that Environmental Studies is inherently part of the philosophical enterprise; as such it belongs with the humanities. The discussion takes as its starting point the context of college and university education in the US, but the issues raised have more general relevance.
Chase, G., Biggs, L., & Macgregor, J. (2008). Roundtable: Integrating sustainability into the higher education curriculum, Teaching the subject in non-environmental courses. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(6): 364-368.
Chase, G., Biggs, L., MacGregor, J., Spielman, K., Throop, W., Vanasupa, L., & Wachholz, S. (2008). Roundtable: Integrating sustainability into the higher education curriculum. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(6): 364-368.
Introducing sustainability concepts into environmentally focused courses can be accomplished easily enough, but how can universities weave sustainability into all academic subjects? Are some disciplines not especially conducive to it? Are professors of non-environmental subjects sufficiently well-versed in sustainability to be able to teach it in their courses? And even if they are knowledgeable, are faculty members even willing to incorporate sustainability into their curriculums? Sustainability: The Journal of Record gathered a group of academics from around the country to talk about how sustainability can be incorporated into many disciplines, how professors can be persuaded to tackle—and teach—the subject, and how success in this area can be measured. Excerpts from the discussion follow.
Chhokar, K.B. (2010). Higher education and curriculum innovation for sustainable development in India. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(2): 141-152.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze and profile significant national developments in higher education for sustainable development in India and to compare different educational approaches emerging in connection with education for sustainable development.
Design/methodology/approach – This is an evaluative review of contrasting initiatives to provide environmental and sustainability education in different institutions, that takes into account philosophy, policy and practice in Indian higher education. Academic programmes, policy statements and education projects are analyzed, to highlight important developments, challenges and the prospects for future progress.
Findings – Several principles of sustainable development are embedded in India’s education policy. It is perhaps the only country where the highest court has mandated environmental education at all levels of formal education, which includes a compulsory undergraduate course. However, the challenges of implementing this requirement effectively are hampered by lack of inter-disciplinary competence among staff and students, and traditional methods of assessment in HE. India has examples of successful community-based initiatives but these often have resource implications. Many efforts to develop learning opportunities in this field have emerged primarily from academic and student interests and priorities rather than from formal policy initiatives.
Originality/value – This paper provides an evaluative perspective on the diverse and innovative responses to sustainability emerging in Indian higher education, in curriculum development and to address issues of practice on campus and in local communities. The opportunity to analyse the implementation of a national initiative is unusual, particularly in the distinctive context of India, which has considerable prior engagement with sustainable development at the level of policy and practice.
Choudhury, M.A. & Korvin, G. (2001). Sustainability in knowledge-centered socio-scientific systems. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(3): 257-266.
The scientific research program of a knowledge-centered systems-oriented approach to socio-scientific conceptualization is invoked here to develop a broader concept of human sustainability. Knowledge-induced fields are shown to arise from the process-oriented methodology of an interactive, integrative and evolutionary (IIE) worldview of continuous learning. Such a process is found to give rise to a unique theory of generalized systems with a universal paradigm and application that are premised on the epistemology of unity of knowledge. We discuss the validity of this model for human development as objectified by the concept of a well-being criterion function with extensive complementarity among the variables and relations embedded in this criterion. The underlying epistemology of unity of knowledge and a unified worldview is thus shown to yield a substantively new concept of human sustainability, particularly relating to issues and curriculum design in higher education and their socio-scientific implications.
Clugston, R., & Calder. W. (2007). Food and higher education for sustainable development. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 1(2): 209-218.
This article argues that food issues are an appropriate, if not necessary, topic for education for sustainable development (ESD) both in terms of teaching and institutional practice. The first section summarises critical topics for a school or university course on food. The second section cites two examples of university efforts—at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of New Hampshire—to create more humane and sustainable campus food systems.
Cole, Anna G. (2007). Expanding the field: Revisiting environmental education principles through multidisciplinary networks. Journal of Environmental Education 38(2): 35-45.
Comm, C.L., & Mathaisel, D.F.X. (2005). A case study in applying lean sustainability concepts to universities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(2): 134-146.
Purpose – To apply the concepts of lean and sustainability to higher education.
Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire was developed, administered to 18 public and private universities and analyzed.
Findings – The focus in higher education is now on cost reduction or budget containment initiatives. Although these initiatives were not implemented with the knowledge that they were implementing “lean” practices, their application has often reduced waste, improved operational efficiency, and contributed to sustainability.
Research limitations/implications – This is a preliminary study with a sample size of 18 universities in the northeastern United States. Future research should include more universities in the United States as well as in other countries.
Practical implications – The participating universities in this study shared their beliefs about how “lean” thinking can contribute to the sustainability of higher education. Other universities can “learn from their lessons”.
Originality/value – Very little past research, except in the area of green marketing, has focused on lean sustainability concepts in higher education.
Cooper, J.S. (2007). Evolution of an interdisciplinary course in sustainability and design for environment. International Journal of Engineering Education 23(2): 294-300.
Corcoran, P.B., Walker, K.E. & Wals, A.E.J. (2004). Case studies, make-your-case studies, and case stories: A critique of case-study methodology in sustainability in higher education. Environmental Education Research 10(1): 7-21.
In this paper we raise serious concerns about existing case-study research on sustainability in higher education. Our key concern is that the research does not live up to its potential for improving the field of sustainability in higher education. We have argued that case-study research in the field falls short of its promise due to a lack of theorizing about the research methodology or an understanding about the methodology. If case-study research is to lead to an improvement in the way universities respond to sustainability in their curriculum, activities, policies and functions then researchers need to address the manner in which they conduct and report their research. Based on an analysis of 54 journal articles on sustainability in higher education, four areas of concern have been identified. The paper converges in a set of critical considerations for conducting case-study research in sustainability in higher education.
Cortese, A.D., & Seif Hattan, A. (2010). Research and Solutions: Education for sustainability as the mission of higher education. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 3(1): 48-52.
D’Auria, A. (2001). City networks and sustainability – The role of knowledge and of cultural heritage in globalization. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(1): 38-47.
Sustainable development has clearly taken on a global dimension, even if in recent years it has increasingly been acknowledged that there is a close mutual interaction between local and global processes. Politicians, economists and practitioners have realised that regional differences and particularities have become very important for building a people-based development which is not only goods-based. Thus, some new keywords for endogenous self-sustainable development are: networks, knowledge and local milieux. The integration of sustainable development aspects in spatial planning, territory governance and development has become stronger and stronger, combined with a spread of local knowledge and the preservation of both the cultural and environmental heritage. This paper considers all these factors and tries to explain these types of relationships, starting from the idea of city network as a basis for global competition, and moving on towards discussing the role of universities and scientific parks as institutions for knowledge production and dissemination. Finally, the important role of cultural heritage in a territory is investigated, as tool for building a culture-based growth that should increase social cohesion, local identity and equity. Although largely descriptive, this analysis is of special use to those teaching courses in the fields of architecture, planning and civil engineering, where a broader knowledge of city networks offers a more solid basis upon which awareness of sustainability may be built.
Dahle, M., & Neumayer, E. (2001). Overcoming barriers to campus greening: A survey among higher educational institutions in London, UK. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(2): 139-160.
This paper explores the greening of higher educational institutions. It is based on a survey carried out on a sample of higher educational institutions within London, UK. A qualitative research approach, using semi-structured interviews, is applied to assess: how far the relevant institutions have reached with respect to greening within the areas of energy and solid waste management; what the interviewees consider to be the most important barriers to further greening their campuses; and how such barriers can be reduced, or possibly overcome. The study maintains that although the institutions are not at ground zero with respect to greening, their overall environmental quality is relatively poor, particularly concerning recycling. It is argued that the barrier suggested to be of greatest significance by the interviewees, namely budgetary constraints, is at least partly due to a lack of knowledge concerning how greening initiatives can save costs as well as an institutional reluctance to change. It is concluded therefore that one of the most important measures that needs to be undertaken to overcome barriers to greening is to raise the environmental awareness within campus communities.
Dale, A., & Newman, L. (2005). Sustainable development, education and literacy. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(4): 351-362.
Purpose – To distinguish sustainable development education from environmental education and stress the importance of problem-based interdisciplinary learning to sustainable development education.
Design/methodology/approach – A range of published works relating to sustainable development education are critiqued, an introduction to complexity theory is given and related to sustainable development education, and a case study is provided to demonstrate an example of incorporating sustainability into course delivery and to demonstrate problem-based interdisciplinary learning.
Findings – Our discussion supports our claim that reconciling sustainability and development requires a complex interdisciplinary approach beyond that found in some areas of traditional environmental education.
Research limitations/implications – Our literature search is not exhaustive and focuses on sustainable development education. A much greater body of literature relating to environmental education exists.
Practical implications – Our discussion and case study suggests practitioners designing and teaching sustainable development related programs should incorporate an interdisciplinary approach and allow for problem-based applied learning to take place.
Originality/value – This paper distinguishes sustainable development education from environmental education and suggests practical courses of action for initiating sustainable development education in a meaningful manner.
Dale, A., Newman, L., & Ling, C. (2010). Facilitating transdisciplinary sustainable development research teams through online collaboration. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(1): 36-48.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the potential of online communication technologies to facilitate university-led transdisciplinary sustainable development research and lower the ecological footprints of such research projects. A series of case studies is to be explored.
Design/methodology/approach – A one year project is conducted in which a series of research tasks are carried out on an online communications platform. Findings are compared to other examples from the literature.
Findings – Online communication technology can be used to facilitate transdisciplinary research tasks, saving time, money and with less environmental impact than that of face-to-face meetings. However, in order for online collaboration to be successful the researchers must be very organized and have strong facilitation skills.
Research limitations/implications – The research takes place in a North American setting. Time zone issues and access to sufficient internet technology can be a barrier in global research collaboration.
Practical implications – Online communication technology can be a practical way to lower the environmental impact of the research process and lower the cost of collaborative meetings.
Originality/value – The outcomes of this research suggest online collaboration can play a much larger role in student and faculty research, including but not limited to online research analysis, data collection and field exploration.
Dewar, N., & Shippey, K. (2002). Meeting the challenge of change in tertiary level environmental education in South Africa. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(4): 324-334.
At present, an historical conjuncture of separate and essential unrelated developments concerning environmental management are occurring in South Africa. These include the issues of standards assurance, certification of environmental practitioners and the development of curricula for a professional science degree at a tertiary level. All these are occurring in the context of a rapidly expanding job market into which graduates with widely varying educational standards and practical competence are entering. This paper reports on a survey of professionals in environmental impact assessment and environmental management in South Africa which elicited opinions on the quality and appropriateness of professional training. It seeks to inform debate concerning these topics and to highlight limitations in the structure and content of contemporary education. It is argued that there is little standardization across curricula and that the core competencies as recognized by professionals are frequently being neglected.
Dobson, A. (2007). Environmental citizenship: Towards sustainable development. Sustainable Development, Special Issue: Research into Policy: Current Issues and Challenges for Sustainable Development 15(5): 276-285.
It is assumed that changes in the behaviour of individuals, institutions and organizations are a prerequisite for sustainable development. This article broaches the question of how best to bring about such change. A distinction is drawn between changes in behaviour and changes in attitudes, and it is argued that attendance to the latter will lead to more secure and long-lasting changes in the former. Fiscal incentives, as a means of changing behaviour, are compared and contrasted with the ‘environmental citizenship’ route to attitude change, rooted in considerations of justice and injustice. Finally, the citizenship curriculum at high school level is considered as a way of promoting environmental or ecological citizenship.
Dobson, H.E., & Tomkinson, C.B. (2012). Creating sustainable development change agents through problem-based learning: Designing appropriate student PBL projects. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 13(3): 263-278.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the issues involved in designing appropriate problems or scenarios suitable for sustainable development (SD) education, in the context of problem-based learning (PBL) and experiential learning. Manchester’s PBL approach to interdisciplinary Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has been well reported, for example, in papers at the Educating Engineers in Sustainable Development conference in 2008. This paper poses the question: to achieve transformational education, is design of student problems for ESD itself a wicked problem? The design process that has been used to generate ESD projects for one PBL unit is reflected upon, to share good practices and highlight points of ongoing contention.
Design/methodology/approach – Working from the background to the original pilot project to develop an inter-disciplinary course to heighten student skills in sustainability and change management, the paper looks at some of the theoretical approaches taken to the design of PBL scenarios and tries to place these in the context of education for SD.
Findings – The initial project found that using inter-disciplinary, problem-based approaches to embedding SD in the curriculum is not only practicable but also desirable. However, the approach to design of problem scenarios has to be adjusted to the nature of the “wickedness” of sustainability issues and be appropriate to the student cohort and institution.
Research limitations/implications – The approaches are felt to be applicable to a much wider range of situations than is demonstrated in the paper but, clearly, the findings can only be grounded on the particular situation of the project.
Originality/value – The 2006 curriculum development action research project was intended to help other institutions to replicate the process but, much of the external attention since that time has focused, inappropriately, on simply re-using the scenarios that were described in the initial project rather than applying the design process that has been developed in order to devise new scenarios more appropriate to another course or institution.
Dodds, R. (2010). Destination marketing organizations and climate change—The need for leadership and education. Sustainability, Special Issue: Sustainable Tourism: Issues, Debates and Challenges 2(11): 3449-3464.
Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) operate at many levels ranging from the national to the municipal and have evolved over the years to respond to the geographical and political realities that are associated with tourism supply. Alongside providing information to potential visitors, DMOs work to make a destination attractive by showcasing its unique aspects and attractions. As the appeal of destinations, cost of doing business and the destination brand may be affected by the possible effects of climate change, this study aims to identify opportunities and threats to municipal and provincial/territorial DMOs and their members as well as identify measures they are undertaking to address the potential impacts. A study conducted of Canada’s provincial and municipal large DMOs was conducted in 2009. This research found that awareness of climate change in Canada’s tourism industry is increasing, but more efforts must be undertaken to mitigate climate change. To address climate change and tourism, this paper suggests doing three things: (a) DMOs need to demonstrate leadership about climate change education and mitigation to all their members; (b) government policy and action are needed to provide incentives for industry to address climate change; and (c) industry members require further education to take the steps necessary mitigate risk and to adapt. The internet has changed the DMOs’ roles and how they provide information to the consumer; as such, they have been presented with an opportunity to take on new roles as educational and marketing providers. This paper will outline in the current shifts among Canadian DMOs and will discuss the key issues that are applicable to DMOs worldwide.
Domask, J.J. (2007). Achieving goals in higher education: An experiential approach to sustainability studies. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(1): 53-68.
Purpose – The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a concrete example of how experiential learning approaches (from internships in global policy institutes to visiting communities in rural Amazonia to meeting with officials from inter-governmental organizations) can be implemented in order to most effectively meet specific educational goals in international sustainability studies.
Design/methodology/approach – Using four key educational goals as the framework for discussion, the author presents a multi-dimensional international experiential program at American University as an example of how non-traditional educational approaches can be used to supplement the traditional lecture-based format.
Findings – The case illustrates how experiential learning offers an educational experience that most effectively: connects the academic with the practice, fosters an effective interdisciplinary curriculum, links students to work experience and job opportunities, and engages and empowers students.
Research limitations/implications – This paper contributes to the literature on experiential learning and sustainability studies and argues that experiential learning approaches deserve greater attention in theory and practice.
Practical implications – The unique institutional and course structure presented in this case is unlikely to be replicated in most higher education settings, but select elements of this model can be incorporated into traditional institutional settings to enhance lecture-centric curricula.
Originality/value – The paper takes on the difficult task of simultaneously addressing traditional goals (e.g. connecting theory with practice; preparing students for the job market) with less traditional goals (e.g. engaging and empowering students) in higher education. This paper illustrates how these goals are often mutually reinforcing.
Dominik, J., Loizeau, J.-L., & Thomas, R.L. (2003). Bridging the gaps between environmental engineering and environmental natural science education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 4(1): 17-24.
Environmental education at technical schools and at universities has distinctive features, the profiles of which are tailored according to the teaching models of engineers and academics respectively. In this paper we suggest that the exchange of teachers and teaching methods between polytechnics and universities can be profitable for both parties. For engineers it should bring a broader perspective and more global understanding of environmental systems, while for university graduates it should help them to understand better the practical problems and limits of technical solutions. The forms of exchange and their potential benefits are still not explored sufficiently. Examples of some relatively modest forms of collaboration in environmental education between the Polytechnic of Lausanne and the University of Geneva are given to show that more vigorous exchange would facilitate mutual understanding of graduates in their future environmental careers. Better mutual understanding between engineers and natural scientists clearly will increase the societal relevance of environmental education and increase the efficiency of interdisciplinary teams.
Down, L. (2006). Addressing the challenges of mainstreaming education for sustainable development in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(4): 390-399.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address research on major challenges faced in attempting to mainstream education for sustainable development (ESD).
Design/methodology/approach – The research is based on a project for infusing ESD in a teachers’ college programme in Jamaica.
Findings – Challenges include colleagues’ scepticism, students’ expectations of course, content vs the actuality of an “expanded” course with ESD input, an absence of policy, syllabus constraints, and ways in which these were addressed.
Originality/value – In analysing the ways in which these challenges were addressed, important principles are uncovered that can guide the introduction of ESD in higher education: how “threats” can become opportunities, how constraints can make for creativity.
Downey, P.R. (2004). Sustainability takes time. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(1): 81-90.
This is a story of transformation at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. It describes the progress and thinking along the path to introducing the university’s vision of sustainability since the conclusion of EMSU 1999.It describes how sustainable practice has been incorporated within the formal democratic structures of the university, and describes the results of the initial environmental review and the early experiences and outcomes of target setting. The paper does not ignore those areas where there has not been success. It considers the involvement of the university in the UK Higher Education Programme for Sustainability (HEPS) directed by the Forum for the Future, and the advantages of engagement with the student community. The paper considers the early introduction of corporate social responsibility. It concludes with an aide memoir (currently in development) to assist all managers at the university in considering the impact of their planned actions on sustainability.
Du Preez, N.P., & Möhr-Swart, M. (2004). An integrated approach to environmental education: A case study. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(1): 11-20.
In 1994, the Executive Management Committee (EMC) of Technikon Pretoria took a strategic decision to develop educational programmes in environmental management and sustainable development. The EMC also decided to integrate these programmes with the development and implementation of an environmental management policy for Technikon Pretoria. This paper describes, in the form of a case study, the project embarked upon, which brings together the development and implementation of the curriculum, research and development, management processes for sustainability, community service and national and international cooperation. The paper discusses successes and failures, and the significant lessons that could be learnt from the experience.
Eagan, P., Cook, T., & Joeres, E. (2002). Teaching the importance of culture and interdisciplinary education for sustainable development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(1): 48-66.
Presents a case study of an interdisciplinary, graduate-level seminar on the topic of international and business sector differences in approaches to sustainable development. The importance of the course is that it mixed culture, business and environmental sciences in a study of sustainability. The pedagogical structure of the course was designed to enable students to learn necessary skills for interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and cross-business sector communication about environmental issues through their participation in the course. Discusses course design specifics and presents results of a student survey about the effectiveness of the course. Overall, students did find participation in the course helpful for improving their ability to communicate about environmental issues across disciplines, cultures, and industries. Students also highlighted several key cultural aspects that contribute to the different ways in which countries and businesses within them respond to environmental issues.
Eastwood, D., & Blumhof, J. (2002). The UK benchmark statement for earth sciences, environmental sciences and environmental studies: A critical evaluation and implications for assessing quality curricula. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(4): 359-370.
This article is written by the chairman and a panel member of the UK Benchmarking Group in Earth Science, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. In it we have discussed the broad “purpose” of benchmarking and the timescale and remit afforded to the group. As far as the benchmark statement itself is concerned, we have reviewed the statement section by section concentrating especially both on the rationale underpinning each section and the way in which the statement may be used for the purpose of academic review. Finally, we have looked briefly at the process of academic review itself, in so far as it is understood at the moment. Although we are confident that the Benchmarking Group as a whole would agree with the vast majority of this article, nonetheless it must be seen as representing only our own views.
Eisen, A., & Barlett, P. (2006). The Piedmont Project: Fostering faculty development toward sustainability. The Journal of Environmental Education 38(1): 25-35.
Elder, J., & Davidson, C. (2010). Roundtable: Activism on campus, Environmental groups partner with students, staff, and administration to promote sustainability. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 3(1): 20-26.
Elder, J.L. (2008). Research and Solutions: Think systemically, act cooperatively: The key to reaching a tipping point for the sustainability movement in higher education. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(5): 319-328.
Ellis, G., & Weekes, T. (2008). Making sustainability ‘real’: Using group-enquiry to promote education for sustainable development. Environmental Education Research, Special Issue: Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education 14(4): 482-500.
Sustainable development is now widely held as a transcendental ideal of town and country planning, yet the way in which it is taught in planning schools remains problematic. This arises from a range of factors, including the all‐persuasive nature of sustainability and the lack of solid examples of success through implementation. The issue of how best to promote learning for sustainable development in planning has arguably intensified in the last two years in the case of the Royal Town Planning Institute‐sponsored ‘fast track’ one‐year Masters, which has reduced the opportunities for students to engage in wider (and perhaps even deeper) concepts, including that of sustainable development. This paper explores this through discussion of a specific project developed at Queen’s University Belfast, facilitated by a grant from the UK Higher Education Academy. Working with a local community, this entailed a group of students working on their Masters thesis collectively addressing issues of sustainable regeneration in a small Irish market town. The design of the project draws heavily on the concepts of enquiry based learning, experiential learning and action competence, which are seen as being central to improving education for sustainable development (ESD). The paper explores the benefits of such an approach and discusses the ways in which this experience can help enhance student’s experience of ESD.
Emanuel, R., & Adams, J.N. (2011). College students’ perceptions of campus sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 12(1): 79-92.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to ascertain whether or not there are differences between college students in Alabama and Hawaii based on three questions: are students concerned about the present/future? What do students know about sustainability? Who is responsible for sustainability?
Design/methodology/approach – Two approaches were used to address these questions. First, a summary of sustainability efforts at universities in Alabama and Hawaii is provided. Second, a random sample of 406 undergraduate students at two universities in Alabama (n=258) and at a community college in Hawaii (n=148) were surveyed.
Findings – The data indicate that sustainable programs and practices are being implemented on a number of college campuses in Alabama and in Hawaii. Students surveyed in both states are concerned about wasteful consumption and pollution. Respondents’ were similar in their self-assessed knowledge about sustainability. Respondents were also similar in their views about who is responsible for sustainability. However, a consistently larger proportion of Hawaii respondents expressed concern for and willingness to participate in sustainable practices. So, there seems to be little or no “knowledge gap” when it comes to campus sustainability, but there does seem to be a “commitment gap.” Possible reasons for this are discussed.
Originality/value – Since the 1980s, many universities in the USA have elected to incorporate sustainability practices into campus development and day-to-day operations. They are now emerging as environmental leaders and innovators. An understanding of students’ perceptions of sustainability may give insight into whether or not and how they are likely to engage in sustainable practices.
Ferreira, A.J.D., Lopes, M.A.R., & Morais, J.P.F. (2006). Environmental management and audit schemes implementation as an educational tool for sustainability. Journal of Cleaner Production 14(9-11) 973-982.
Ferrer-Balas, D., Adachi, J., Banas, S., Davidson, C.I, Hoshikoshi, A. Mishra, A., Motodoa, Y., Onga, M., & Ostwald, M. (2008). An international comparative analysis of sustainability transformation across seven universities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(3): 295-316.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the key aspects of transformation of universities towards sustainability, such as the ideal characteristics of the “sustainable university”, and the drivers and barriers in the transformation, by comparing the strategies of seven universities world-wide.
Design/methodology/approach – A systems transformation analysis of seven case studies has been applied through a self-evaluation based on the tridimensional Framework-Level-Actors (FLA) method.
Findings – The study shows that none of the three dimensions of change is predominant over the others. The main barrier to be overcome is the lack of incentive structure for promoting changes at the individual level. The main drivers for change are the presence of “connectors” with society, the existence of coordination bodies and projects, and the availability of funding, all of which are important for progress. Enhancing interdisciplinarity is a strategic objective at almost all of these universities, while transformative learning is less present. A common characteristic for most of the institutions is establishing and supporting networks of expertise within the universities. These universities show important strategic efforts and initiatives that drive and nucleate change for sustainable development, the result of a combination of drivers.
Practical implications – The FLA-method has proved useful for being used at the level of comparing case-studies through a bird’s-eye perspective.
Originality/value – The paper demonstrates the application of a simple tool that gives a global perspective on transformational strategies used in seven cases world-wide in the search for commonalities and differences.
Fien, J. (2002). Advancing sustainability in higher education: Issues and opportunities for research. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(3): 243-53.
This article explores issues related to the choice of goals and approaches for advancing sustainability in higher education through research. The paper argues that diverse nature of the questions, issues and problems facing advocates of sustainability in higher education requires a willingness to adopt an eclectic approach to the choice of research methodologies or paradigms. The views of reality and knowledge embedded in alternative research paradigms—empirical–analytical, interpretive, critical, and poststructural paradigms—are summarised briefly. The relevance of the four paradigms is illustrated by taking two issues of sustainability in higher education and exploring how they would be addressed by each one. The two issues are: campus catering services and integrating the principles of the Earth Charter into an engineering degree program. The paper concludes by reviewing the debate over whether this eclectic position is consistent with the goals of advancing sustainability in higher education.
Filho, W.L. (2000). Dealing with misconceptions on the concept of sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(1): 9-19.
Although there is a great degree of acceptance in relation to the importance of pursuing sustainable development, there are some areas within the higher education sector where the concept of sustainability is not yet fully understood. Based on the negative impact misconceptions can have, it is useful to look at the problem and develop approaches to address them. This paper, first delivered at the conference on environmental management systems at universities (EMSU 99) held in Lund, Sweden in May 1999, tries to discuss some of the misconceptions seen in respect of sustainability at universities and suggests some measures aimed at moving ahead.
Fleming, R. (2002). Survivor Studio @ Philadelphia University: Promoting sustainability in the design studio through collaborative game playing. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(2): 146-154.
The paper describes how, in the first few weeks of each semester, the architecture students and faculty at Philadelphia University participate in a Survivor Competition. Inspired by the campy show where contestants battle the elements and each other for a million dollars, Survivor Studio pits teams of design students and faculty against each other to accumulate points in a variety of physical, intellectual and design challenges. Geared towards heightening the students’ respect for natural systems, understanding of indigenous cultures and the poetic potential for sustainable technologies, the challenges attempt to develop relationships with the students’ non-design studio curriculum. This included a game show on the history of architecture, the reading and interpretation of a novel called Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, and a research documentation project focused on sustainable architecture and technologies developed by indigenous cultures. Physical challenges included scavenger hunts around campus that highlighted strategy, teamwork and knowledge/sensitivity to local environments. The main challenge for the students was to design a small community that could sustain the team without food or power or any supplies for one year. It elaborates on the ideas, pedagogical concepts, teaching strategies and eventual results of the Survivor Studio as a vehicle for exploring new and innovative ways to activate students’ imagination, energy and innate knowledge about sustainable design.
Fletcher, K., & Dewberry, E. (2002). Demi: A case study in design for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(1): 38-47.
The Design for the Environment Multimedia Implementation Project – demi – links design and sustainability information in a Web-based resource and was set up in response to a number of UK Government reports which highlighted the dearth of knowledge and activity about sustainability in higher education design courses across the country. This paper details the design and development of demi, discussing its content, structure and educational potential. Also included is an investigation of design and sustainability pedagogy, which discusses the importance to the demi Web-resource of a sustainability (rather than design) context and an exploration of the possible transferability of the demi structure to other disciplines, promoting practical and widespread action in education for sustainability.
Flint, R.W, McCarter, W. & Bonniwell, T. (2000). Interdisciplinary education in sustainability: Links in secondary and higher education: The Northampton Legacy Program. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(2): 191-202.
Describes The Northampton Environmental Legacy Program, which links studies of the historic culture of Eastern Shore life with an awareness and understanding for the importance of environmental quality in this region. Over the six years’ duration of this pilot program, instructors have found that when this unique environmental/cultural instruction process is superimposed on an interdisciplinary blend of traditional high school teaching (math, science, language, literature, history, etc.), the students’ learning experiences are put into a context much more aligned to their life experiences. Program results have been significant. Because of the success of this program, a strong message is being sent to institutions of higher education. In preparation of future teachers, college/university curricula will need to offer an opportunity for developing exceptional skills in interdisciplinary teaching, so that new teachers can move seamlessly into high school programs already developed along the lines of the sustainable education model described here, and equally important will be the training of future teachers who can develop these new programs of education in sustainability at the high school level, where they do not yet exist.
Fortuin, I.K.P.J., & Bush, S.R. (2010). Educating students to cross boundaries between disciplines and cultures and between theory and practice. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(1): 19-35.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and analyse the didactic model of a university course, which concerns an applied academic consultancy project and which focuses on skills related to crossing boundaries between disciplines and cultures, and between theory and practice. These boundary crossing skills are needed to develop sustainable solutions for complex environmental problems.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper evaluates the course based on recommendations for successful collaborative interdisciplinary research found in literature. Reflections of two cohorts of 30 students are used to analyse the four components that make up the didactic model of the course: organizational “matrix structure” in which students work, two week field-trip, customized SharePoint web site, and teachers as facilitators rather than providers of information.
Findings – The course enhanced the students’ awareness of disciplinary and cultural boundaries and added to their appreciation of using different disciplinary and cultural perspectives in developing sustainable solutions. Students learnt to deal with uncertainty in scientific research and realized that decisions in environmental management are based on partial knowledge. They also learnt how to overcome barriers in the design and implementation of interdisciplinary research projects.
Originality/value – The paper presents an innovative didactic model that proved to be successful in educating boundary crossing skills. It contributes to understanding how educational programmes at universities can better equip students to find sustainable solutions.
Foster, J. (2002). Sustainability, higher education and the learning society. Environmental Education Research 8(1): 35-41.
The Dearing Report emphasised the idea of a ‘learning society’ as the new context of UK higher education, but conceived this on a model of adaptivity to economically- and technologically-driven change. While there are real shifts in their social relations here with which universities have to reckon, they can also be understood on a much richer model of exploratory social intelligence. The growing concern for environmental sustainability is both a recognition of the need for this alternative model, and a major ground of its importance.
Franz-Balsen, A., & Heinrichs, H. (2007). Managing sustainability communication on campus: Experiences from Luneburg. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(4): 431-445.
Purpose – Sustainability communication is evolving as a new interdisciplinary field of research and professional practice. The purpose of this paper is to point out the advantage of applying theoretical frameworks and related research instruments for an adequate sustainability communication management on campus. It also aims to highlight the normative constraints and challenges (participation) that differentiate sustainability communication from public relations.
Design/methodology/approach – An interdisciplinary theoretical framework and empirical studies (quantitative/qualitative; audience research) were used for the design of a context-sensitive sustainability communication management concept for the University of Lüneburg-
Findings – Empirical data clearly showed that disciplinary cultures (including their gender specificity) are highly relevant for sustainability attitudes. Continuous visibility of sustainability efforts on campus is critical for people’s attitudes and engagement. Campus community members can be characterized by degrees of “sustainability affinity” vs “sustainability distance”. Too much sustainability-campaigning is counterproductive, whereas listening to campus community members’ ideas and needs seems appropriate.
Research limitations/implications – There is a need for qualitative data to assess “communication culture”
Practical implications – A balanced theoretically, empirically and normatively grounded communication management is recommended in order to establish a participatory communication culture.
Originality/value – The application of sustainability communication theory, including participation research, in the context of higher education for sustainable development is overdue; thesis: sustainability communication wants to initiate structural changes on campus, but is itself dependent on visible structural change in order to be effective.
Furco, A. & Moely, B.E. (2012). Using learning communities to build faculty support for pedagogical innovation: A multi-campus study. Journal of Higher Education 83(1). Published online:
To encourage greater adoption of a pedagogical innovation (service-learning), semester-long faculty learning communities were established at eight institutions. These learning community experiences produced gains in participants’ (N = 152) self-assessed expertise with service-learning, ability to collaborate with community partners, and appreciation for the innovation’s value for students and their own professional development.
Garland, N., Hadfield, M., Howarth, G., & Middleton, D. (2009). Investment in Sustainable Development: A UK perspective on the business and academic challenges. Sustainability, Special Issue: Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development 1(4): 1144-1160.
There are many legislative, stakeholder and supply chain pressures on business to be more ‘sustainable’. Universities have recognised the need for graduate knowledge and understanding of sustainable development issues. Many businesses and universities have responded and introduced Sustainable Development models into their operations with much of the current effort directed at climate change. However, as the current worldwide financial crisis slowly improves, the expectations upon how businesses operate and behave are changing. It will require improved transparency and relationships with all stakeholders, which is the essence of sustainable development. The challenges and opportunities for both business and universities are to understand the requirements of sustainable development and the transformation that is required. They should ensure that knowledge is embedded within the culture of the organisation and wider society in order to achieve a sustainable future.
Geli de Ciurana, A.M., & Filho, W.L. (2006). Education for sustainability in university studies: Experiences from a project involving European and Latin American universities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(1): 81-93.
Purpose – To report on a project involving European and Latin American universities, focusing on curriculum greening.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper presents the experiences gained in connection with the “ACES Project” which is a model of the implementation of sustainability principles in higher education, with a special emphasis on curriculum greening. This paper presents the principles and main results of the project, which involved 11 European and Latin American universities, with financial support from the ALFA programme of the European Commission.
Findings – The paper identifies ten characteristics of the initial model of curriculum greening which were validated in the process and were interpreted in the paper.
Research limitations/implications – The type of action-oriented research carried out in the context of the ACES Project, by means of cooperative efforts and the accumulation of diverse fields of knowledge, presented working difficulties which are different from those experienced by more homogeneous groups. Nevertheless, the knowledge generated is very consistent in response to environmental issues and problems and reflects the need for collaboration between all areas of knowledge in order to preserve and improve environmental conditions.
Practical implications – The paper introduces not only the results obtained with the ACES model, but also ten components which characterise curriculum greening and may be used elsewhere.
Originality/value – The approach used and the emphasis on international cooperation illustrate ways in which a multi-stakeholders project may be successfully undertaken.
Gruenewald, D. (2003). The best of both worlds: A critical pedagogy of place. Educational Researcher 32(4): 3-12.
Gulwadi, G.B. (2009). Using reflective journals in a sustainable design studio. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(1): 43-53.
Purpose – This paper seeks to introduce a pedagogical method used in a design studio as part of a curriculum-greening process to encourage reflection on the complexity of sustainability and sustainable design. Online reflective journals were used in two semesters of a sustainable design studio to develop students’ awareness and understanding of concepts relating to sustainability and sustainable design.
Design/methodology/approach – In the first seven weeks of a semester-long senior design studio, interior design students recorded their reflections on readings and in-class discussions on sustainable thinking, sustainable actions and sustainable design. The content analysis of the journal entries (n=226) of two such groups of students (n=30) from two different semesters are presented in this paper. In assessing the pedagogical effectiveness of the technique in the design studio, Hatton and Smith’s framework on the four operational aspects of reflection – descriptive, descriptive reflection, dialogic reflection, and critical reflection – is used to discuss the levels of reflection in the journal entries.
Findings – All four levels of reflection are represented in the journal entries analyzed for this paper. Results indicate that depth and complexity of thought are possible to achieve within a semester long course and can be used as a starting point for design development using complex concepts such as sustainability.
Originality/value – The pedagogical effectiveness of reflective journal writing in a sustainable design studio is assessed. By adding a reflective writing component to a design studio format that otherwise primarily engages students’ visual and verbal skills, the paper offers one approach to greening the design curriculum.
Gunnlaugson, O. & Moore, J. (2009). Dialogue education in the post-secondary classroom: Reflecting on dialogue processes from two higher education settings in North America. Journal of Further and Higher Education 33(2): 171-181.
In this article, educators Olen Gunnlaugson and Janet Moore reflect on their experiences developing and facilitating two dialogue-based courses. They proceed with a brief overview of dialogue education and how they are situating their approaches to dialogue within the field of higher education and in terms of transformative learning. Each then reflects on their experiences and learning in the higher education courses on dialogue they teach at two universities in North America. The article closes with a conversation in which they share their approaches and questions, as well as subsequent learning from practice and reflection on the growing significance of dialogue within higher education settings.
Habron, G., Goralnik, L., & Thorp, L. (2012). Embracing the learning paradigm to foster systems thinking. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 13(4): 378-393.
Purpose – Michigan State University developed an undergraduate, academic specialization in sustainability based on the learning paradigm. The purpose of this paper is to share initial findings on assessment of systems thinking competency.
Design/methodology/approach – The 15-week course served 14 mostly third and fourth-year students. Assessment of learning arose through one short answer exam, one interactive small group dialogue exam, homework assignments, completion of an online community engagement tutorial, and completion of a final reflective project (either in a group or individual).
Findings – The range of assessments enabled the authors to provide “frequent and ongoing feedback,” “a long time horizon for learning,” and “stable communities of practice.” Students had multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning progress in a variety of forms and contexts across multiple intelligences.
Research limitations/implications – Despite attempts to actively promote the kind of frequent and authentic assessment advocated in the literature, the authors’ results suggest the need for a consistent and valid assessment measure with an agreed upon rubric and stable assessment across multiple reviewers.
Practical implications – The authors recommend that the proper activities and rubrics exist to match a program’s competencies before implementing the approach.
Social implications – The examples described in the paper provide some concrete assignments and approaches linked to the pedagogy of teaching and learning amenable to many other educational institutions in support of the UN Education for Sustainable Development effort.
Originality/value – The authors’ approach provides a unique attempt at implementing and assessing a competency-based approach to implementing the learning paradigm to foster sustainability systems thinking.
Haigh, M. (2010). Education for a sustainable future: Strategies of the new Hindu religious movements. Sustainability, Special Issue: Sustainable Education 2(11): 3500-3519.
Increasingly, sustainability is conceived as a crisis of the human mind and the key challenge for pro-sustainability education is developing sufficient motivation in learners. The spiritual aspirations of religious communities contain sufficient motivational force, which may be deployed for effective sustainability education. This paper explores the approaches to sustainability and sustainability education of some internationally-oriented Hindu religious movements. These include the rural education initiatives of Gandhian Sarvodaya, which emphasizes non-harming, self-reliance and personal ethics, ISKCON, which emphasizes devotional service, P.R. Sarkar’s Ananda Marg, which emphasizes cooperative enterprise, the Tantric body re-imagined at the social scale, and Swami Vivekananda’s Sri Ramakrishna Order, which emphasizes karma yoga, spiritual development through service to the God in each human. It also describes the British Hindu contribution to the UNDP/ARC’s multi-faith sustainability initiative “Many Heavens, One Earth”; which is the “Bhumi Project” and its two main campaigns, Green Temples and Compassionate Living.
Hansmann, R., Crott, H.W. Mieg, H.A., & Scholz, R.W. (2009). Improving group processes in transdisciplinary case studies for sustainability learning. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(1): 33-42.
Purpose – Deficient group processes such as conformity pressure can lead to inadequate group decisions with negative social, economic, or environmental consequences. The study aims to investigate how a group technique (called INFO) improves students’ handling of conformity pressure and their collective judgments in the context of a transdisciplinary case study (TCS) for sustainability learning.
Design/methodology/approach – The improvement of normative functioning and output (INFO) group technique was tested in a field experiment embedded in a TCS. The INFO technique involves individual and group assessments of task difficulty. The experiment compares the performance of student groups assigned to control and experimental conditions in estimation tasks related to environmental planning and rail traffic.
Findings – The INFO interventions significantly improved the accuracy of group estimates compared to the control conditions. Applying the group technique could promote student’s learning and facilitate the search for sustainable solutions in a TCS.
Practical implications – Results indicate that individually and collectively analyzing and discussing difficulties of a task as suggested by the INFO group technique can help students improve collective judgments on real world issues.
Originality/value – Group techniques are a prominent type of TCS methods as group processes are crucial for sustainability learning. First, this study applies the INFO group technique in a TCS in order to evaluate and further develop the technique.
Hassan, M. (2001). Transition to sustainability in the twenty-first century: the contribution of science and technology – Report of the World Conference of Scientific Academies held in Tokyo, Japan, 15-18 May 2000. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(1): 70-78.
Following the World Conference of Scientific Academies, held in Tokyo, Japan in May 2000, this report focuses on the issues of sustainability and what the scientific and technological community can do in the short and longer term, and what the academies can contribute.
Hay, R. (2005). Becoming ecosynchronous, part 1. The root causes of our unsustainable way of life. Sustainable Development 13(5): 311-325.
The condition of modern, Western society is examined in two parts. In Part 1 the root causes of our society’s unsustainable condition are considered through a new approach, becoming ecosynchronous, to discuss the unfolding of self (becoming) and being aware of events that are meaningfully related (synchronicity). The problems that confront us are first noted, including where those trends are heading, followed by a review of initiatives underway to address these problems. The limitations of a shallow ecology approach are discussed and juxtaposed with philosophical and psychological root causes of systemic failure. This includes reviews of the long-term cycles of civilizations, the decline of a sacred relationship with nature, the Western view of reality, ecopsychology, ecofeminism, sense of place and consumerism/busyness. A shift to an ecocentric position is advocated, as is an emphasis on personal development, with direction offered toward becoming more sustainable (discussed further in Part 2).
Hay, R. (2006). Becoming ecosynchronous, part 2. Achieving sustainable development via personal development. Sustainable Development 14(1): 1-15.
Part 1 (Hay, 2005) reviewed the root causes of our society’s unsustainable condition and introduced a new approach, becoming ecosynchronous, to discuss how the unfolding of self (becoming) and being aware of events that are meaningfully related (synchronicity) can help us to get in sync with nature and become more sustainable. In Part 2, becoming ecosynchronous is examined further to present a comprehensive program toward achieving sustainability. Ways in which personal development can be considered and advanced in a sustainability framework are demonstrated, with reference to an ecocentric position. Orientation, contexts, meaningful relations, developing a sense of place, adult development (as part of becoming) and synchronicity (as tied to a revised view of reality) are discussed first. The development of a culture of permanency, to address our society’s soul sickness, is explored in the conclusion, via practical applications, aspects of societal transformation and principles of becoming ecosynchronous.
Hegarty, K. (2008). Shaping the self to sustain the other: Mapping impacts of academic identity in education for sustainability. Environmental Education Research, Special Issue: Sustainability in Higher Education Research 14(6): 681-692.
Academic and disciplinary modes of identity are arguably the constituent elements of scholarly cultures (Hall 2002; Shulman 2004). Such elements are a crucial ‘point of entry’ for change projects. Many change projects inherently involve the imposition of constraints and demands for change on academics. This paper seeks to explore the implications of constructed academic identity for change projects with a focus on education for sustainability. How does the personal sense of the role of academic contribute to the cultural challenge we face in seeking to implement change projects (for sustainability) in higher education?
Hegarty, K., Thomas, I., Kriewaldt, C., Holdsworth, S., & Bekessy, S. (2011). Insights into the value of a ‘stand-alone’ course for sustainability education. Environmental Education Research 17(4): 451-469
Education for sustainability (EfS) is emerging as an urgent imperative and challenge for higher education. But what exactly does it mean to put sustainability into higher education? How do we bring sustainability themes into university curriculum, across the enormous diversity of academic disciplines? This paper describes the experience of teaching a large ‘stand‐alone’ EfS subject which sits within the professional contexts of the large first‐year cohort undertaking it. We describe the themes, architecture and approach to sustainability education taken in this course and evaluate the learning and assessment activities offered to students. We conclude with reflections on the student experience and feedback, which suggests that while academics build towards a deeply embedded sustainability ethic in higher education, specialist parallel courses have a valuable role to play in the transition to sustainable futures.
Hempel, M. (2008). Editorial: Is Sustainability sustainable? A view from higher education. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(2): 89-89.
Henze, C. (2000). Sustainability in teacher training courses in a sample of German universities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(3): 280-289.
This paper presents the main results of a recently completed empirical research project that focused on the concept of a sustainable development dimension in the context of teacher training courses at universities in the state of Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany. In addition, some measures aimed at supporting the implementation and dissemination of the task of a sustainable development in higher education are suggested.
Hirst, P. (2003). Chapter 7. Nature and knowing. Journal of Philosophy of Education 37(4): 641-655.
Holt, D. (2003). The role and impact of the business school curriculum in shaping environmental education at Middlesex University. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 4(4): 324-343.
Greening universities in terms of their curriculum and operations is a logical extension of the process of environmental education initiated in our schools and the process of corporate environmental management occurring in our industrial and service society, from the latter part of the twentieth century onwards. Examines the values, actions and attitudes of a group of students in a UK business school as they enter and leave the culture of the university and the role the university has potentially played changing these values, actions and knowledge. Begins by discussing generally the role of higher education in moving society towards sustainability. Then presents the case study of Middlesex University in the UK, examining the practice of environmental education in the Business School. Then presents an empirical investigation of students’ environmental attitude action and knowledge that occurred from 1998-2001. Finally reviews how successful the Business School has been at changing or reinforcing students’ environmental values, knowledge and action, as evidenced by the longitudinal work.
Hopkinson, P., & James, P. (2010). Practical pedagogy for embedding ESD in science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(4): 365-379.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review and highlight some recent examples of embedding education for sustainable development (ESD), within science and related curricula in ways that are meaningful and relevant to staff and students and reflect on different embedding strategies and discourses.
Design/methodology/approach – A review of recent selected UK and international teaching and learning practice drawing on an expert workshop and link to wider debates about student competencies and embedding ESD in the curriculum.
Findings – There are a number of practical ways of bringing sustainable development into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related subjects. Successful implementation requires linking teaching activities to the core activities of the STEM discipline. Reformist approaches to curriculum re-orientation are more likely to be successful than calls for radical, transformational models.
Practical implications – Embedding ESD into the core curricula of STEM subjects is potentially difficult. This paper highlights practical ways of doing this which can be adopted and introduced within the mainstream of STEM curricula and have a greater chance of being taken up than bolt-on approaches.
Originality/value – The treatment of ESD in STEM subjects is relatively under-developed compared to social sciences, humanities and subjects allied to environment. The economic and social significance of STEM subjects means that STEM-related subjects are integral to sustainable development and therefore STEM education must be re-oriented to sustainable development.
Howard, P. (2008). Ecology, phenomenology and culture: Developing a language for sustainability. Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education 2(4): 302-310.
Jucker, R. (2002). “Sustainability? Never heard of it!”: Some basics we shouldn’t ignore when engaging in education for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(1): 8-18.
Presents the results of an Internet survey of all the humanities faculties in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the UK and of a review of the international debate both on sustainability in general and education for sustainability in particular. Argues for a complex, transdisciplinary and broad approach to education for sustainability (EfS). Such an approach has to acknowledge the relative relevance of education within contemporary society, along with other “educators” such as the media, the economy and the shadow curriculum of institutional practice. It has to be fully aware of the reasons and the extent of the unsustainability of our current situation, but it also has to sketch out what a sustainable society might mean. Only on this basis can we then develop effective and sensible proposals for EfS. Ends with ten practical strategies to further EfS in higher education institutions.
Khan, T. (2013). Sustainability accounting courses, Talloires Declaration and academic research. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(1): 42-55.
Purpose – The purpose of this article is to identify the offering and nature (scope) of sustainability accounting courses at universities that have signed the Talloires Declaration and also at universities with prominent sustainability accounting researchers’ affiliations. For this purpose a university web sites content analysis for sustainability accounting courses was conducted. This study can be replicated in order to evaluate web sites disclosures by universities across disciplines in relation to sustainability education. It can also be replicated to assess the theoretical versus implemented scope of sustainability education, and to determine the impact of prominent researchers in the area of sustainability education.
Design/methodology/approach – Talloires Declaration signatories’ universities’ web sites were searched for information regarding sustainability accounting subjects. A search was also conducted for the Curriculum Vitae and profile of prominent sustainability accounting researchers to collect data on involvement in sustainability accounting education by these researchers. The findings regarding the offering of a sustainability accounting course and its nature and scope (if found on the web sites) are presented in this article.
Findings – It is found that less than 30 per cent of the Talloires Declaration universities’ web sites in Canada, USA, United Kingdom and Australia have information on sustainability accounting education in various forms including stand-alone subjects (all electives) and sustainability accounting embedded in other accounting and non-accounting courses, with limited scope. This percentage was found to be substantially lower or non-existent at universities from other countries. The probability of sustainability accounting education being offered at the post-graduate level (specifically as a PhD programme) is much higher at universities that have a prominent research profile in the area. It is also found that sustainability accounting education is not offered in majority of the cases, at the undergraduate level at universities where prominent sustainability accounting researchers are based. The focus is on post-graduate and research education rather than on undergraduate and course work education.
Research limitations/implications – A limitation of this study was the limited information available in English on universities’ web sites from countries where English is not the primary language. Other technical limitations such as the absence of a search function on the university’s web site were also found as a hindrance to data collection.
Originality/value – This paper addresses the existence and scope of sustainability accounting education, the gap between universities’ expected comprehensive (including all disciplines) commitment to sustainability and the actual implementation of this commitment. It also addresses the absence of sustainability education involvement by prominent sustainability researchers and academics at the under graduate level.
Karol, E. (2006). Using campus concerns about sustainability as an educational opportunity: A case study in architectural design. Journal of Cleaner Production 14(9-11): 780-786.
Keen, C., & Baldwin, E. (2004). Students promoting economic development and environmental sustainability: An analysis of the impact of involvement in a community-based research and service-learning program. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(4): 384-394.
Community-based research has been suggested as a particularly effective form of service learning in college-community collaborations. This paper reviews findings from interviews with alumni/ae and community partners of an environmental and economic sustainability center at Allegheny College in Northwest Pennsylvania, the Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED). CEED’s community-based research projects have spanned the natural and social sciences to analyze water quality, reduce waste streams and local energy consumption, identify environmental problems and enhance forest management. Interviews with alumni/ae point to the valued real world experience, enhanced cognitive development, and improved communication skills for students. Community partners valued new information and networks resulting from research and stressed the contribution they were making to college students’ learning. Community-based research projects can benefit from interviewees’ recommendations to increase continuity, clarity of purpose, and follow-through in projects, while maximizing opportunities for dialogue between community partners and students. Community-based research may have a strong contribution to make to students’ cognitive, academic, social, civic and career development.
Kermath, B. (2007). Why go native? Landscaping for biodiversity and sustainability education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(2): 210-223.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to illustrate that campus and urban landscaping has important connections to biodiversity conservation, perceptions of natural heritage, sense-of-place, ecological literacy and the role of campus landscapes in the larger community. It also aims to show how campus landscapes express values and perform as a teaching, research and outreach resource.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper was written as a literature review applied to a case study. Drawing on E.O. Wilson’s idea that society must assign the same value to natural heritage as it does cultural heritage to successfully safeguard biodiversity for the long haul, the paper argues that by altering key elements of human landscapes in strategic places – campus landscapes in this case – to reflect a deep appreciation of natural heritage, we can help shift worldviews to foster real sustainability. It also raises a set of questions based on popular perceptions and some challenges based on the broad literature, then shows how the case study performed in addressing the questions and meeting the challenges.
Findings – Stetson University’s project helped push the campus’ nascent green movement beyond the remedial and reactive approaches too often seen in most regions to a proactive, holistic campaign.
Practical implications – The paper should inspire other campuses and organizations to proactively manage landscapes for natural heritage education, biodiversity conservation, and sustainability, just as the featured case study has done in its larger community.
Originality/value – In the world of campus sustainability, biodiversity often takes a backseat to energy use, resource consumption and waste management. The paper calls attention to this shortcoming and in so doing hopefully will encourage research and applied projects to address the biodiversity crisis and the role that universities play.
Kevany, K.D. (2007). Building the requisite capacity for stewardship and sustainable development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(2): 107-122.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a menu of instruction methods for educators to increase engagement in sustainable practices. The paper also aims to assist those increasing the understanding of education for sustainable development, to the power of two-EfSD2, through research and teaching.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides a descriptive and analytical approach to the field of education for sustainable development. It includes a review of the relevant literature on stewardship and sustainable practices.
Findings – The paper provides a succinct summary of gaps to and remedies for sustainable development. It offers a comprehensive explanation of eight distinct approaches to education for sustainable development.
Practical implications – The application of EfSD2 methods described in this paper have been found to increase productive results through enabling learners to grapple with and create solutions for real life sustainability problems. The paper proposes a more thorough testing of the various educational methods to assess their effectiveness in increasing sustainable practices.
Originality/value – As far as the author is aware, this paper is the first to compile this “tool kit” for EfSD2. It offers the reader new ways to interpret older techniques along with a plethora of instructional methods not previously consolidated to advance stewardship and sustainable practices.
Kliucininkas, L. (2001). Assessment of sustainability – Studies at universities and colleges in Lithuania. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(3): 250-256.
Presents the intermediate results from the national discussion “Universities for Sustainable Development”, which is going on in the frame of Educational Sector of AGENDA 21 for the Baltic Sea Region in Lithuania. The assessment of the current situation and development of the guidelines for the regional action plan were considered as the main goals of the working group. National working groups have carried out informal discussions and elaborated questionnaires for universities and colleges. The outcomes from the discussions and statistical results of inquests are presented.
Koester, R.J., Eflin, J., & Vann, J. (2006). Greening of the campus: A whole-systems approach. Journal of Cleaner Production 14(11): 769-779.
Kyridis, A., Mavrikaki, E., Tsakiridou, H., Daikopoulos, J. & Zigouri, H. (2005). An analysis of attitudes of pedagogical students towards environmental education in Greece. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(1): 54-64.
Purpose – Greek pedagogical students’ attitudes towards environmental education in Greece are very important as these students represent future teachers who will affect the success of environmental education in schools. Therefore, the identification of their views will give us the potentiality to modify the curricula of pedagogical departments accordingly.
Design/methodology/approach – The use of a questionnaire was chosen as the most suitable method to review and record pedagogical students’ attitudes towards environmental education.
Findings – The results of this study show that pedagogical students have not only realized the importance of environmental education in primary education but have also been sensitized to the environment and the issues involved in this. Attending practical courses on the environment seems to help towards this sensitivity.
Originality/value – Results of this research show that an attempt should be made to develop education for sustainability in universities through an interdisciplinary approach, as universities bear a great responsibility in developing people’s interest in the environment by training them to assess the impact of, and find solutions to, environmental problems and by producing well-trained professionals who will promote and support sustainable development.
Leroy, P., Ligthart, S., & Van Den Bosch, H. (2001). The role of project-based learning in the “Political and Social Sciences of the Environment” curriculum at Nijmegen University. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(1): 8-20.
Since the end of 1996, teachers at the Faculty of Policy Sciences at Nijmegen University, The Netherlands, have been working on a new educational programme called “Political and Social Sciences of the Environment” (PSSE). In fact, the PSSE curriculum builds on the Environmental Policy Sciences curriculum that had existed since 1989, and which from 1998 onwards integrated the former programme (Social Sciences and Environmental Studies). The (re)designing of the PSSE curriculum has been inspired by innovative ideas in education, in which project training plays an important role. This paper discusses the educational background of the new curriculum, its main structure and the goals and functioning of project training therein. We relate our efforts to the goals of pursuing sustainability in higher education, and conclude by summarising the specific profile and features of the curriculum.
Levy, B.L.M., & Marans, R.W. (2012). Towards a campus culture of environmental sustainability: Recommendations for a large university. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 13(4): 365 – 377.
Purpose – The authors led an interdisciplinary team that developed recommendations for building a “culture of environmental sustainability” at the University of Michigan (UM), and the purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on how other institutions might promote pro-environmental behaviors on their campuses.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors synthesize research on fostering environmental behavior, analyze how current campus sustainability efforts align with that research, and describe how they developed research-based recommendations to increase environmental sustainability on the UM campus.
Findings – Analyses of prior research suggest that there are five factors that influence individuals’ pro-environment behaviors: knowledge of issues; knowledge of procedures; social incentives; material incentives; and prompts/reminders. Given these factors, UM should pursue three types of activities to support the development of pro-environment behaviors: education, engagement, and assessment.
Practical implications – The specific recommendations in this report are for the University of Michigan. However, other institutions interested in fostering a culture of environmental sustainability might benefit from undertaking similar comprehensive assessments of how they could support community members’ development of pro-environment behavior and knowledge.
Originality/value – The paper builds on prior research to offer a new vision for how to develop a culture of environmental sustainability on a large university campus.
Lidgren, A., Rodhe, H., & Huisingh, D. (2006). A systemic approach to incorporate sustainability into university courses and curricula. Journal of Cleaner Production 14(9-11): 797-809.
Lin, E. (2002). Trend of environmental education in Canadian pre-service teacher education programs from 1979-1996. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 7(1): 199-215.
Lotz-Sisitka, H. (2004). Stories of transformation. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(1): 8-10.
Introduces the special issue on “Stories of transformation” in higher education (HE). Highlights that transformation in HE involves multi-disciplinary and applied orientations to curriculum change, which break down the modernist dichotomy of theory and practice. Also highlights the significance of change processes that are value-based and require the involvement of committed individuals and groups that are prepared to engage the often rhetorical nature of declarations and institutionalized commitments to sustainable development. Also highlights the absence of theorizing about change and action in institutional contexts amongst academics involved in transformation towards sustainable development in HE institutions.
Lourdel, N., Gondran, N. Laforest, V., Debray, B., & Brodhag, C. (2007). Sustainable development cognitive map: A new method of evaluating student understanding. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(2): 170-182.
Purpose – Owing to its complexity, sustainable development (SD) cannot be simply integrated as a supplementary course within the engineer’s curricula. The first aim of this paper is to focus on how to reflect pedagogically this complexity. After dealing with these questions, the paper aims to present a tool that can evaluate the student’s understanding of SD concepts.
Design/methodology/approach – A method of analysis of a student’s sustainability’s comprehension, based on cognitive maps, has been developed. The students are asked to write and connect by arrows all the terms that they associate to the concept of SD. The assessment of the aforementioned cognitive maps is based on an approach via semantic category.
Findings – This study shows that the students’ perception of SD before the training seems mainly focalised on environmental and economical aspects. After the SD course, an increase of the number of words quoted is noted for each category (social and cultural aspects; stakeholders, principles of SD and allusions to complexity, temporal and spatial dimensions). Their vision seems richer and wider. The training seemed successful to help the students who did not associate SD to diverse dimension to improve this perception.
Practical implications – This cognitive map method can be a useful tool to improve learning in quantitative terms but also in qualitative terms. Identifying knowledge gaps and misunderstood ideas allows the improvement in the training.
Originality/value – This study presents a new method that can be used to evaluate the impact of training sessions on students. Another advantage is to analyse how the student’s knowledge are interconnected. This seems particularly interesting because the study of this transdisciplinary concept as well, necessitates an integrated vision.
Lozano, R. (2006). Incorporation and institutionalization of SD into universities: Breaking through barriers to change. Journal of Cleaner Production 14(9-11): 787-796.
Lozano-García, F. J., Gándara, G., Perrni, O., Manzano, M., Hernández, D.E., & Huisingh, D. (2008). Capacity building: A course on sustainable development to educate the educators. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(3): 257-281.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present information about a team-teaching course on sustainable development (SD) for educators in an institution of higher education, Monterrey Campus of ITESM in Mexico.
Design/methodology/approach – Four faculty members were invited to work together with the Sustainable Campus Programme coordinator in the process of developing the “Educate-the-Educator’s” SD course. The course was structured using lectures, readings, class role play activities, homework, and general discussion. Additionally, a workshop-format was woven throughout the course; its function was to help the educators incorporate SD issues within their own courses.
Findings – It was found that a multi-disciplinarily developed and delivered course is an effective vehicle for educating educators on SD. Documentation of some facets of the learning process further helped the “students” and the course leaders to better understand the whole learning process.
Originality/value – The paper’s value rests on the interconnected structure, showing resonance with the triple bottom line, as well as many other dimensions linked with sustainable development. This structure increased the course participants’ comprehension of sustainability. Furthermore, the use of concept maps and digraph theory to evaluate “faculty participants’” comprehension of the interconnections and dimensions of SD proved to be a successful innovation.
Luke, T.W. (2005). Neither sustainable nor development: Reconsidering sustainability in development. Sustainable Development, Special Issue: Critical Perspectives on Sustainable Development 13(4): 228-238.
This paper questions the rhetorical workings of ‘sustainable development’ as an ideological construct in contemporary global society. It suggests that this term actually is increasingly used as a label to place over modes of existence that are neither sustainable nor developmental. Yet, the rhetoric is also now a material culture of being that is created, carried and continued in the everyday practices of design, exchange and production.
Lundholm, C. (2005). Learning about environmental issues: Postgraduate and undergraduate students’ interpretations of environmental contents in education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(3): 242-253.
Purpose – To present results from a research project on postgraduate and undergraduate students’ learning about environmental issues in education.
Design/methodology/approach – Three cases were carried out with civil engineering students, biology students and postgraduate students. Discussions in classroom were tape-recorded, as well as discussions while working with assignments, and interviews were carried out.
Findings – Shows how differently environmental issues can be interpreted, i.e. scientifically, existentially and politically, and the way values and emotions become an aspect of the learning process and reveal the students’ difficulties in differentiating between values and descriptions of phenomena. This is analysed and explained in relation to the students’ various projects that come into conflict in the educational setting.
Practical implications – The paper can be of use to those who are engaged in environmental education and raises questions regarding the content of today’s environmental education.
Originality/value – Gives an insight into students’ learning processes and experiences in environmental education and the difficulties they can experience when studying such a subject.
Madhawa Nair, S., Rashid Mohamed, A., & Marimuthu, N. (2013). Malaysian teacher trainees’ practices on science and the relevance of science education for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(1): 71-89.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the practice of teacher trainees on science and the relevance of science education. The study focuses on teacher trainees’ practice on science teaching and its relevance to understanding science education.
Design/methodology/approach – The study employed a survey method using questionnaires. The samples consist of 80 teacher trainees, majoring in Science Education, from a teachers training institute in Malaysia. The teacher trainees were asked to complete a set of questionnaires on the relevance of their content knowledge of science to Science Education, application of student’s home culture in classroom science and in infusing moral education in classroom lessons. The data obtained from the questionnaires were analyzed using descriptive statistical and inferential statistical (independent samples t-test).
Findings – The results showed that the female trainees’ practice of science and the relevance of science education is significantly higher than that of their male counterparts. Besides that, the findings indicate that there is no significant difference between the male and female trainees on their practices of students’ home culture applied in classroom science and applying moral education in teaching science. The findings also indicated there is a need to bring in students’ home culture into the teaching and learning of science.
Practical implications – Findings of this paper suggest one approach that could be adopted to make science education more relevant to the students understanding is by incorporating teaching strategies that are designed to promote content learning through a cultural relevant curriculum. This will make schools a better place to inculcate environmental concerns for a sustainable future.
Originality/value – This paper highlights the need to educate trainee teachers (male and female) and bring them closer to gain cooperation and commitment to achieve sustainability. The paper also proposes the need to bring in students’ home culture, priorities and concern into the teaching and learning of science
Mann, S., Harraway, J., Broughton-Ansin, F., Deaker, L., & Shephard, K. (2013) Seeking richer descriptions of learners’ sustainability attributes and learning needs. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(1): 90-100.
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to respond to calls for higher education institutions to address sustainability within the curriculum. Institutions that aim to graduate citizens with prescribed attributes relevant to sustainability may need to develop teaching and learning support-programmes appropriate to the varied nature of students’ worldviews.
Design/methodology/approach – The research described here used the NEP (Revised New Ecological Paradigm) and statistical cluster-analysis to explore if individuals within cohorts of students could reasonably be clustered into subgroups with identified sustainability attributes relevant to the design of learner-support programmes.
Findings – All seven programme cohorts in one institution’s annual intake clustered into three subgroups with identifiable attributes.
Practical implications – The results are discussed in relation to how post-compulsory education institutions can define the sustainability characteristics of their students and to the pedagogic literature that addresses diversity in student groups.
Originality/value – The approach may help higher education institutions better understand the needs of individual students within large groups and to develop appropriate support programmes for students with similar attributes and needs.
Martens, P., Roorda, N. & Cörvers, R. (2010). Sustainability, science, and higher education – The need for new paradigms. Sustainability: the Journal of Record, 3(5): 294-303.
Mayer-Smith, J., Bartosh, O, & Peterat, L. (2009). Cultivating and reflecting on intergenerational environmental education on the farm. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 14: 107-121.
Based on the idea that eating is an environmental act, we designed an environmental education project where elementary school children and community elders work as partners to raise food crops on an urban organic farm. Our goal was to illustrate how eco-philosophies could be translated into educational programs that foster environmental consciousness and care, and to further the critical and systematic examination of environmental education initiatives. In this article we draw on six years of empirical data and self-examination to present our learning about environmental education in practice. We discuss three iterations of our project to illustrate the ways in which our thinking about the practice of environmental education has evolved along with our efforts to advance environmental understanding and stewardship through intergenerational farming.
McKeown-Ice, R. & Dendinger, R. (2000). Socio-political-cultural foundations of environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education, 31(4): 37–45.
McNaughton, M.J. (2004). Educational drama in the teaching of education for sustainability. Environmental Education Research 10(2): 139-155.
In this paper, I describe part of my research project that examines the use of Educational Drama in Education for Sustainability in the upper stages of the primary school (10‐ and 11‐year‐olds). Central to the research is a small‐scale qualitative research study. Here, I describe the educational focus of the study and outline the methodology. Central to the study was a series of drama lessons (taught by me) based on environmental themes. The lessons link with some of the key aims in Education for Sustainability—to help young people to develop awareness, knowledge and concepts, to encourage positive attitudes and personal lifestyle decisions and to help them to acquire action skills in and for the environment. The locus is within the Scottish education system. A number of key data were generated during the teaching and evaluation of the lessons. These take the form of field notes, children’s evaluations of their work and learning, observation schedules, taped interviews with participants and observers and videotapes of the lessons. The analysis of the data is ongoing, but already there is substantial evidence to suggest that the drama was instrumental in helping the children to achieve the learning outcomes set for the lessons. Some of that evidence is presented here. I suggest that the active, participative learning central to drama is particularly useful for allowing children to develop skills in communication, collaboration and expressing ideas and opinions. Also, the immersion in the imagined context and narrative, integral to the ‘stories’ in the drama, allows the children to feel sympathy for and empathy with people who are affected by environmental issues and problems. In giving the children a context for research and in helping them to plan solutions and to suggest alternatives, the drama allows the participants opportunities to rehearse active citizenship and facilitates learning in Education for Sustainability.
Meehan, B., & Thomas, I. (2008). Research and Solutions: University education for sustainability: Projects, problems, and professionalism. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(2): 124-129.
Middlebrooks, A., Miltenberger, L., Tweedy, J., Newman, G. & Follman, J. (2009). Developing a sustainability ethic in leaders. Journal of Leadership Studies 3(2): 31-43.
The triple bottom line of fiscal, social, and environmental success considerably alters how organizations (and stakeholders) measure sustainable success. More important, however, is the conceptual shift required to understand and successfully lead organizations within this increasingly accepted paradigm. This article uses a mixed-methods approach to explore the conceptual development of a sustainability ethic in aspiring leaders. More specifically, the authors report research examining the curriculum and pedagogy of a leadership education effort, in this case a college-level course, aimed at effecting change in both individual aspiring leaders and their immediate community. The article describes the philosophical and research base for the curriculum and specific activities with their pedagogical approach. Results show evidence of increased awareness, importance, and commitment to sustainability as well as changes in how students conceptualize sustainability leadership. Findings offer insights for further developing leadership education for sustainability.
Mieg, H.A. (2000). University-based projects for local sustainable development: Designing expert roles and collective reasoning. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(1): 67-82.
ETH-UNS case studies are “transdisciplinary,” university-based projects for sustainable development. This article introduces the ETH-UNS case studies 1991 to 1997. In particular, it examines, first, the role of experts and, second, the kind of collective reasoning in ETH-UNS case studies. We found a significant “deprofessionalization” effect: whereas there was a high share of professionals in former ETH-UNS case studies, relative experts with lower qualifications dominate in today’s ETH-UNS case studies. Our analysis of this effect shows role conflicts between professionals and organizations as well as the importance of syntheses methods for organizing the collective reasoning in the ETH-UNS case studies. Discussion focuses on the specific organizational linkage between the use of experts and collective reasoning in environmental projects in the context of sustainable development.
Mieg, H.A. (2006). System experts and decision making experts in transdisciplinary projects. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(3): 341-351.
Purpose – This paper aims at a better understanding of expert roles in transdisciplinary projects. Thus, the main purpose is the analysis of the roles of experts in transdisciplinary projects.
Design/methodology/approach – The analysis of the ETH-UNS case studies from the point of view of the psychology of expertise and the sociology of professions is based on findings and considerations from the psychology of expertise and the sociology of professions – as both lines of research are concerned with experts and the use of expertise. This paper focuses on projects in the framework of the so-called transdisciplinary case study approach that has been developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in the 1990s.
Findings – It is claimed that, firstly, system experts provide important information on the local human-environmental system and have to be regarded as serious experts, that is knowledge specialists with a certain responsibility for information. Secondly, decision-making experts run into problems integrating other professionals into transdisciplinary projects and should, therefore, professionalize themselves.
Practical implications – The paper encourages the use of residents, etc. as system experts in transdisciplinary projects.
Originality/value – The roles of experts in transdisciplinary project are clarified.
Miller, R.A. (2009). Research and Solutions: Engaging community stakeholders on the path to sustainable development. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(2): 111-113.
Mochizuki, Y., & Fadeeva, Z. (2010). Competences for sustainable development and sustainability: Significance and challenges for ESD. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(4): 391-403.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to draw attention of the education for sustainable development (ESD) community to recent discussions on competence approaches and to examine the adequacy of a competence-based model as the means of achieving educational and societal transformation towards sustainability. The paper analyses and highlights some important aspects of case studies of the contributing authors to the special issue.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on the review of relevant literature and reflections on the articles that constitute this special issue. It also reflects the authors’ observations through their extensive interactions with theoreticians, practitioners and policy makers on ESD in the context of the United Nations decade of education for sustainable development (DESD) and higher education for sustainable development (HESD).
Findings – The paper recognises a highly complex nature of the conceptualizations of competences for SD and their articulation in educational programmes. It also highlights a growing interest in competence-based approaches from institutions of higher education and their stakeholders in different parts of the world.
Practical implications – The paper provides a broad picture of influential international processes and diverse players driving competence-based approaches in ESD and indicates a need for more coherent critical multi-level analysis of such processes.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to a broader debate on strategies of implementation of ESD and education for sustainability (EfS) by mapping arguments on competences for SD and sustainability with a particular focus on higher education institutions.
Moore, J. (2005). Policy, Priorities and Action: A case study of the University of British Columbia’s engagement with sustainability. Higher Education Policy 18(2): 179-197.
Moore, J. (2005). Barriers and pathways to creating sustainability education programs: policy, rhetoric and reality. Environmental Education Research 11(5): 537-555.
This article outlines an action‐oriented research project regarding the University of British Columbia’s engagement with sustainability. In 1997, the University of British Columbia (UBC) created a sustainability policy that suggests all UBC students should be educated about sustainability. Using data from a series of in‐depth interviews the author outlines a range of institutional barriers that impede the implementation of sustainability education including: the problems of disciplinarity, the competitive environment of the university, misdirected criteria for evaluating students and faculty, and multiple priority‐setting by the administration. The article concludes with recommendations on how to create institutional change and sustainability education programs at the university level.
Moore, J. (2005). Seven recommendations for creating sustainability education at the university level: A guide for change agents. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 6(4): 326 – 339.
Purpose – This paper describes a set of recommendations that will aid universities planning to create sustainability education programs. These recommendations are not specific to curriculum or programs but are instead recommendations for academic institutions considering a shift towards “sustainability education” in the broadest sense. The purpose of this research was to consider the possible directions for the future of sustainability education at the university level.
Design/methodology/approach – Through a series of workshops using a “value focused thinking” framework, a small team of researchers engaged a large number of stakeholders in a dialogue about sustainability education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada. Recommendations were compiled from workshop data as well as data from 30 interviews of participants connected with decision-making and sustainability at UBC.
Findings – The recommendations include infusing sustainability into all university decisions, promoting and practicing collaboration and transdisciplinarity and focusing on personal and social sustainability. Other recommendations included an integration of university plans, decision-making structures and evaluative measures and the integration of the research, service and teaching components of the university. There is a need for members of the university community to create space for reflection and pedagogical transformation.
Originality/value – The intention of the paper is to outline the details of a participatory workshop that uses value-focused thinking in order to engage university faculty and administration in a dialogue about sustainability education. Students, faculty and staff working towards sustainability education will be able to adapt the workshop to their own institutions.
Moore, J., Pagani, F., Quayle, M., Robinson, J., Sawada, B., Spiegelman, G., & Van Wynsberghe, R. (2005). Recreating the university from within: Collaborative reflections on the University of British Columbia’s engagement with sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(1): 65-80.
Purpose – In 1997, the University of British Columbia (UBC) adopted a sustainable development policy stating that the campus should adhere to sustainable practices in all of its actions and mandates and that all students who attend UBC will be educated about sustainability. The purpose of the paper is to consider how far UBC has moved in the last six years in the direction of sustainability education, what has been accomplished, what lessons have been learned and what challenges lie ahead.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper is a collaborative inquiry created by a number of faculty, staff and one doctoral student working on sustainability education issues at UBC.
Findings – The shift to sustainability involves: a fundamental thinking-through of basic issues about the role of the university in society, creating a strong relationship between sustainability principles and the core goals of the university. It also will require a reworking of the design and operation of institutional reward systems, creating an appropriate linkage between the operational and academic functions of the university, and finding an appropriate mix of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity. The collaborative writing process helped to bring people together to reflect on the projects of the past and consider the plans for the future.
Originality/value – The intention of the paper is to summarize the sustainability education initiatives at UBC, and address barriers and pathways to creating sustainability education programs at the university level. The collaborative stories aim to help other individuals and groups implement sustainability in higher education and contribute to a process of institutional learning for sustainability.
Morgan, A. (2012). Inclusive place-based education for “Just Sustainability”. International Journal of Inclusive Education 16(5): 627-642.
This paper identifies an emerging commonality between the professional spheres of planning, education, and social or community work constellating around the concept of sustainable development (SD). It explores the contested nature of the concept of SD giving rise to a wide variety of sometimes conflicting “readings.” It then goes on to advocate a “strong” reading of SD, namely “Just Sustainability”, which lays particular stress on “social justice”, “environmental justice” and inclusion. This, in turn, is understood to require a form of education, which is empowering and is referred to as “Education for Just Sustainability” (EJS). A particular focus of such work is the empowerment of local communities to understand and take action in their home localities. Therefore, place-based education is presented as an orientation suited to progressing EJS. A number of illustrative examples are presented to demonstrate the potential for such an educational approach. Finally, some concluding observations are made as to the potential and requirements for place-based EJS in the UK and other context. (Contains 7 notes).
Morse, S. (2008). Post-sustainable development. Sustainable Development 16(5): 341-352.
The past 15 years have witnessed the rise of post-development theory as a means of understanding the development discourse since the 1940s. Post-development argues that intentional development (as distinct from immanent development – what people are doing anyway) is a construct of Western hegemony. Sustainable development, they argue, is no different and indeed is perhaps worse, given that most of the global environmental degradation has been driven by consumerism and industrialization in the West. Critics of post-development counter by stating that it only provides destruction by tearing apart what is currently practiced in ‘development’ without providing an alternative. When post-developmentalists do offer an alternative it typically amounts to little more than a call for more grassroots involvement in development and disengagement from a Western agenda. Post-sustainable development analysis and counter-analysis has received remarkably little attention within the sustainable development literature, yet this paper argues that it can make a positive contribution by calling for an analysis of discourse rather than a hiding of power differentials and an assumption that consensus must exist within a community. A case is made for a post-sustainable development that acknowledges that diversity will exist and consensus may not be achievable, but at the same time participation can help with learning. The role of the expert within sustainable development is also discussed.
Muhar, A., Vilsmaier, U., Glanzer, M. & Freyer, B. (2006). Initiating transdisciplinarity in academic case study teaching: Experiences from a regional development project in Salzburg, Austria. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(3): 293-308.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe experiences with the initiation of transdisciplinarity in academic case study teaching with special reference to regional planning, based on the case study “Leben 2014 (Life 2014) – perspectives for regional development in the national park region Ober-pinz-gau, Salzburg”.
Design/methodology/approach – The methodology used, was the evaluation of process steps of the project, based on the general project concept, protocols and questionnaires.
Findings – A key for successful transdisciplinary cooperation is the integration of non-academic actors at an early stage of the project. Important principles are the implementation of a structure of communication and networking in the case study region and the definition of rules of collaboration. The establishment of personal relations and network building is indispensable in order to guarantee a constant and broad exchange between all participants. Joint decision-making processes are essential for stable cooperation, which includes a joint problem definition process at the outset of the case-study phase as well as joint responsibility for decisions and joint ownership of ideas during and after the case-study phase.
Practical implications – Transdisciplinarity in case-study teaching also requires thorough preparation of academics. A constant discussion of different approaches to inter- and transdisciplinarity, the adaptation of existing conceptual frameworks to the specific requirements of the current case, the building of a committed teaching team and joint teaching of classes are all important. The careful selection of students and their specific preparation with respect to methodology and content are prerequisites for a successful outcome of a transdisciplinary case study.
Originality/value – The paper describes the experience of initiating transdisciplinarity in academic case study teaching.
Muijen, H. (2004). Integrating value education and sustainable development into a Dutch university curriculum. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(1): 21-32.
Despite the mainstream technological approach of science in academic curricula, with its focus on specialisation, the Dutch history of higher education is an interesting example of an alternative development. The Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam has declared in its mission statement a pedagogical ideal of “broad academic education”, oriented towards educating students to become “morally responsible and reflective scientists and professionals”. This paper describes a pilot study focusing on organisational dynamics, learning processes involved in value education, and the question of how a philosophical/ethical perspective on sustainability can be integrated into the curriculum. A critical evaluation of this pilot study suggests that students need more insight into the status of values as different from empirical facts.
Mulder, K.F. (2010). Don’t preach. Practice! Value laden statements in academic sustainability education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(1): 74-85.
Purpose – The slogan “Practice what you preach” denotes that people should behave in accordance with the values that they preach. For universities that teach sustainable development (SD), it implies that these institutes should apply major SD principles themselves for example by campus greening, green purchasing, etc. But is not “Practice what you preach” a questionable slogan in that regard that university teachers should not preach values, i.e. transfer values to their students by the authority of their position? Which value statements are acceptable and which are not?
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents the results of a survey among international SD teachers in engineering on the acceptability of value laden statements. Moreover, the paper presents results regarding the values that SD teachers represent, and compares these results to survey results among engineers and engineering students.
Findings – SD teachers in engineering are more critical about the role of technology in SD than their students and professional engineers are. However, there does not seem to be a real gap between students and teachers.
Practical implications – It is argued that academic education on SD should aim at clarifying moral issues and helping students to develop their own moral positions given the values that are present in the professionals’ work. Teachers’ options how to address moral issues without preaching are briefly described.
Originality/value – This paper strongly argues against preaching.
Murga-Menoyo, M.A. (2009). Educating for local development and global sustainability: An overview in Spain. Sustainability, Special Issue: Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development 1(3): 479-493.
The following are systematized examples, taken from the general panorama of activities currently being implemented in Spain, of significant experiences and formative strategies of local sustainable development. They correspond to three different intervention areas in education: different levels in the school system, adults training in competence and technical abilities, and community education. They offer a contextualized model of education intervention that contributes to ecological and environmental sustainability, social promotion and productive competitiveness. The experiences described permit, in many cases, changes of life styles and social customs, adjusting them to the requirements of sustainable development; in others, to form new generations for local sustainable development and global sustainability. Although procedures must vary to suit the particular features inherent in each such realm, it is the function of education to tackle first and foremost the training of the intellect, the education of emotions and moral personality, and the acquisition of professional skills.
Myers, O.E. Jr. & Beringer, A. (2010). Sustainability in higher education: Psychological research for effective pedagogy. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 40(2): 51-77.
Psychological theory and research can make key contributions to sustainability scholarship and practice, as is demonstrated here in the field of higher education pedagogy. College students undergo profound changes in epistemological assumptions and in identity during their undergraduate years. Data on the Measure of Intellectual Development for students participating in learner-centred pedagogies at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, showed a trend toward more complex thinking by these students (N=153). Qualitative data on student identity development associated with transdisciplinary, project-based campus sustainability courses were collected at Canada’s University of Prince Edward Island and at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Findings revealed the identity of “learner” blending with that of “change agent”; a greater sense of identity in relation to the campus community and the different perspectives of its stakeholders, the sustainability movement; and a sense of empowerment backed up by practical skills. Sustainability poses new challenges for intellectual-moral development and identity development. Psychological theory gives insights into how pedagogies should be designed to challenge students just beyond their level of intellectual, moral, and identity development, in order to expose them to intellectual-moral growth and identity alternatives conducive to the complexities of sustainability advocacy and practice.
Naditz, B.A. (2009). In the green: Here comes the sun (and wind), Sustainability initiatives at community colleges. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(2): 102-107.
Newport, D. (2008). The sustainability professional, On the record with Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, Director, Office of Sustainability, University of Florida. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(5): 296-298.
Newport, D. (2012). Campus Sustainability: It’s about people. Commentary. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Available online: http://chronicle.com/article/Campus-Sustainability-Its/131370/
Includes an interesting commentary on institutions’ definitions of sustainability, and noting
AASHE’s 2009 digest of campus-sustainability activity.
- Note the comments section below the article, including reference to sustainability education programs at other institutions
Newport, D., Chesnes, T., & Lindner, A. (2003). The “environmental sustainability” problem: Ensuring that sustainability stands on three legs. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 4(4): 357-363.
While the concept of “sustainability” traditionally has emphasized the environment, the University of Florida (UF) has learned that integrating all three “legs of the sustainability stool” is a prerequisite to effecting the comprehensive institutional change sustainability proponents seek. By assessing its own degree of sustainability using guidelines established by the Global Reporting Initiative, UF united the interests of the administration with those of campus greening and social progressive constituents and, in the process, established a baseline with which to compare future metrics. Universities are poised to gain from lessons learned outside of academia and, as at UF, are beginning to reach out not only to environmental interests, but also to social and economic constituencies. The objectives of this paper are to identify and address the major obstacles facing institutionalization of sustainability in the university as evidenced by UF’s own experiences and to provide solutions for boosting the university’s status as leaders in the sustainability arena.
Nobes, D.C. (2002). Building on the foundations: Environmental science at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(4): 371-379.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the nature of the environmental science (ENVR) programme at the University of Canterbury, including the links between the ENVR departments and other university departments, and between the ENVR programme and agencies and institutions outside the University of Canterbury. Such links are an important aspect of any such programme and, having described and analysed them, possible future directions are discussed.
Onwueme, I., & Borsari, B. (2007). The sustainability asymptogram: A new philosophical framework for policy, outreach and education in sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(1): 44-52.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a mathematical model that can be used as an educational tool to reflect the philosophical aspects of sustainability.
Design/methodology/approach – This is a descriptive paper.
Findings – Everyone carries a sustainability deficit. Therefore, opportunities to reduce this deficit abound. Education is an excellent vehicle to achieve sustainability.
Practical implications – Helping individuals with extremely high sustainability deficit to make minimum improvements is more beneficial than a further reduction of the “deficit” by those who have it already low. Further action is certainly encouraged, especially to quantify the sustainability index.
Originality/value – The paper fulfills the need of providing an original model upon which educators may lean to, in order to enhance learning in sustainability.
Parker, J. (2010). Competencies for interdisciplinarity in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(4): 325-338.
Purpose – The overall purpose of this paper is to clarify the current state of the debate with regard to competencies for interdisciplinarity (ID) for sustainable development (SD) in higher education, to provide further analysis, and to make suggestions for next steps on this basis.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper employs a critical literature review to identify key themes and gaps in the debate and considers how competencies for ID might be further supported.
Findings – The literature review demonstrates developments towards action competencies in ID for sustainability but with an over-reliance on students guiding their own practice and reflection. Findings highlight potential elements of a more widely informed knowledge literacy, including philosophical, sociological and cultural aspects, that is needed to support the development of these competencies.
Research limitations/implications – The paper is limited to discussion of foundational aspects and does not cover possible pedagogical strategies, nor does it cover ways of assessing the attainment of competencies. The literature review is also limited by reasons of space.
Practical implications – There is a need for a concerted research effort in order to develop coherent sets of competencies to equip students for ID for SD and other-related fields.
Social implications – These competencies are at the heart of the new forms of inter-agency and inter-professional working that is increasingly recognised as essential to deliver care and sustainability in a joined-up world.
Originality/value – The originality is high as very little in the sustainability literature to date specifically analyses competencies and supporting knowledge for ID in an accessible manner.
Perdan, S., Azapagic, A., & Clift, R. (2000). Teaching sustainable development to engineering students. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(3): 267-279.
Sustainable development is a complex concept which concerns a wide range of social, techno-economic and environmental issues. Without addressing all these dimensions, teaching of sustainable development would not be complete. Therefore, taught modules and teaching materials for engineering students should include not only technological analysis and economic evaluation, but also environmental and social considerations. This paper outlines the way in which a multidisciplinary approach to teaching sustainability has been embodied in learning programmes and activities in engineering at the University of Surrey, UK. More specifically, it describes a project to develop a comprehensive IT-based learning resource comprising a set of multidisciplinary case studies and support material in order to aid engineering students in understanding the concepts inherent in sustainability and how solutions can be developed.
Petrick, Joseph A. (2010). Sustainable stakeholder capitalism and redesigning management education – Lessons learned from the great global recession. Journal of Corporate Citizenship. Winter (40): 101-124.
Podger, D.M., Mustakova-Possardt, E., & Reid, A. (2010). A whole-person approach to educating for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(4): 339-352.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of a whole-person approach to educating for sustainability (EfS), with a focus on persons’ identity, motivation and higher order dispositions. To propose that approach as an alternative to the prevalent focus on specific capabilities and competencies in higher education for sustainability. The paper brings to bear psychological research on the development of critical moral consciousness, research on dispositions for learning in higher education, and field research on spiritually inspired service-learning.
Design/methodology/approach – In this paper, critical analysis is undertaken on the discourses that represent two fields of study in order to explore the application of the theory of the ontogenesis of “critical moral consciousness”. The model is applied to two discrete areas to consider implications for higher education – field research on grass-root Baha’i-inspired service-learning and EfS, and students involved in design education.
Findings – The findings suggest that a whole-person approach to EfS may yield more fruitful societal and personal benefits than traditional, and predominantly, behavioural approaches.
Research limitations/implications – The paper only refers to two case studies. One case study is of a faith based organisation used to represent a whole-person approach to EfS in a social context. It could be that the findings of this case are influenced by perceptions of religious activity (for both authors and readers). The second case study is of a particulate discipline area – design. Whilst the findings represent learners in the design context, it may be that learners in different contexts have different (or similar) results.
Originality/value – Sustainability has now become a common orientation for learning. The paper contributes conceptual understanding of the types of dispositions higher education needs to foster, as well as congruent pedagogies, in order to nurture human motivations necessary to advance sustainability. In particular, there is a need for EfS to focus on the cultivation of critical moral consciousness and higher order dispositions as a specific orientation towards studies, work, and social interactions.
Pollock, N., Horn, E., Costanza, R., & Sayre, M. (2009). Envisioning helps promote sustainability in academia: A case study at the University of Vermont. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(4): 343-353.
Purpose – Universities are increasingly aspiring to be both models and catalysts of change, leading the world to a more sustainable and desirable future. Yet complex and ineffective governance, traditional disciplinary boundaries, and the lack of a shared vision at academic institutions often hinder progress toward this goal. The purpose of this paper is to describe an approach to envisioning and engagement used by the University of Vermont (UVM) to overcome these barriers, and in the process, continue the university’s progress toward leadership in systems thinking, ecological design, and sustainability.
Design/methodology/approach – The envisioning and engagement process involved 1,500 participants from the UVM campus and Burlington community. Participants’ visions of a sustainable and desirable university are gathered through two community events and three online surveys. Their responses are analyzed using a modified Q methodology, a survey method in which participants direct the formation of survey categories. The results of the analysis lead to the formation of a vision narrative, a sustainability charter, and guide the creation of a range of initiatives.
Findings – The results of these efforts suggest that when provided with ample and well-structured opportunities, university community members will become active participants in initiatives aimed at fostering institutional change. By focusing on shared values and long-term goals, envisioning exercises can achieve a surprising amount of consensus while avoiding the divisiveness and polarization that often plague open-ended discussions and university governance.
Originality/value – While envisioning exercises are sometimes conducted by local governments, institutions of higher education still rely predominantly on more traditional and hierarchical methods of planning. The innovative process outlined in this paper for adapting Q methodology for community envisioning appears to be an effective method of eliciting participants’ visions and establishing broad-based support for actions that promote sustainability planning and education.
Posch, A., & Steiner, G. (2006). Integrating research and teaching on innovation for sustainable development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(3): 276-292.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to point out the necessity of implementing more appropriate approaches instead of the traditional single disciplinary approaches, in order to be able to cope with the ill-defined, highly complex problem of sustainable development in systems such as organizations or regions.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on empirical data concerning expert and stakeholder preferences, it is argued that research and teaching on innovation for sustainability need to be both inter- and transdisciplinary.
Findings – Here, the approach of transdisciplinary case studies, developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, allows appropriate integration of research and teaching activities and thus leads to mutual learning between the case study actors.
Practical implications – In the second part of the paper, these conceptual considerations are illustrated with the so-called Erzherzog Johann case study, an integrative research and teaching project at the University of Graz.
Originality/value – In the paper the very complex task to integrate research and teaching on sustainability-related innovation is described and illustrated with the first transdisciplinary case-study conducted in Austria according to the ETH approach.
Press, M., Caires, M., & Patton, T. (2010). Research and Solutions: Campus sustainability through civic engagement at the University of Wyoming. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 3(2): 115-118.
Price, C. G. & McGee, C. D. (2009). Reflecting on the use of metaphor: Two professors’ processes of discovery. Teacher Educator 44(1): 56-69.
Rappaport, A. (2008). Campus Greening: Behind the Headlines. Environment 50(1): 6-17
Reid, A., Petocz, P., & Taylor, P. (2009). Business students’ conceptions of sustainability. Sustainability, Special Issue: Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development 1(3): 662-673.
In the field of higher education, the role of sustainability is increasingly seen as an important capability of successful graduates, one of a group of higher-level dispositions that is particularly important for students’ future professional roles. Discussion of sustainability often assumes that all participants understand the term in the same way, and different understandings can make meaningful dialogue difficult. This article presents an empirical investigation of the ways in which students from a business faculty at a large metropolitan university view sustainability in the specific context of their tertiary education. While some students viewed the notion in quite naïve ways—for example, the idea of ‘keeping themselves going’—others talked about much broader views incorporating ideas of inter-generational justice. Investigation of such views provides important evidence for dialogue on sustainability with the next generation of professional leaders in business.
Rojas, A., Richer, L. & Wagner, J. (2007). University of British Columbia Food System Project: Towards sustainable and secure campus food systems. EcoHealth 4(1): 86-94.
Rowland, P. (2010). Convergence: Identifying sustainability STARS, AASHE initiates a voluntary reporting program for colleges and universities. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 3(1): 32-36.
Rusinko, C.A. (2010). Integrating sustainability in higher education: A generic matrix. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(3): 250-259.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework in the form of a generic matrix of options for integrating sustainability in higher education (SHE) so that university faculty and administrators can make more appropriate and strategic choices with respect to SHE.
Design/methodology/approach – This original matrix draws from and extends previous empirical and conceptual research on integrating SHE. The paper addresses the needs and weaknesses stated in earlier literature on SHE.
Findings – The matrix includes four different options or scenarios for integrating SHE; these options are based on delivery of SHE and focus of SHE. Advantages and disadvantages of each option are discussed, as well as rationales for choosing each option. In addition, suggestions for future research are included.
Practical implications – The matrix can provide a platform from which to launch discussions about SHE, as well as a template with respect to “how to” integrate SHE.
Originality/value – This original matrix contributes to the literature by providing a broad, non-discipline-specific orientation; it is applicable at course, program, and cross-disciplinary/cross-university levels, and can be applied internationally. Users can move between and among options, and can implement multiple options simultaneously. Further, the matrix includes all dimensions of sustainability – environmental, social, and economic/financial.
Salequzzaman, M.D., & Stocker, L. (2001). The context and prospects for environmental education and environmental careers in Bangladesh. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(2): 104-127.
Bangladesh has the highest density of population among all countries of the world and is the worst victim of environmental degradation. Poor people are dying of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh’s villages and poor urban dwellers are most exposed to the poisonous air. Protection of the environment is therefore necessary even from the view of social justice. In particular, as Bangladesh proceeds towards industrialization it needs to be careful about environmental impacts. There are several reasons why Bangladesh needs to be extra careful and gain more knowledge of the environment. The country now relies greatly on foreign capital, which is more likely to be guided by immediate profit concerns and lead to many environmentally risky and damaging decisions. Environmental education (EE) can help people become aware of the consequences of their actions, provide information to help solve environmental problems, and build the human capacity necessary to solve and prevent environmental problems. In this sense, Bangladesh can save itself from environmental disasters by having a strong, broad-based, and united environment movement through educating its population environmentally and developing career paths in fields related to sustainable development. A balance between environmental stewardship and economic development can guarantee this sustainable future, which in turn needs sound environmental knowledge among both experts and the population at large. The paper discusses the present environmental situation in Bangladesh; EE needs, practices and future potentialities for sustainable development; and a job market of EE graduates in Bangladesh and around the world. Finally, the paper recommends a sustainable policy framework of EE and its future in Bangladesh to the national policy makers for sustainability of this country.
Sammalisto, K. & Lindhqvist, T. (2008). Integration of sustainability in higher education: A study with international perspectives. Innovative Higher Education, 32(4): 221-233.
This study examined the impact of a procedure implemented and used at one Swedish university to promote integration of the concept of sustainability into courses. The study is based on a literature study and a case study at the University of Gävle in Sweden, where faculty members are asked to classify their courses and research funding applications regarding the contributions thereof to sustainable development. The results of the study indicated that this procedure can indeed stimulate faculty members to integrate sustainable development in their courses. It is clear that the reported changes in courses were also influenced by other factors such as the increased general awareness of environmental issues.
Savageau, A.E. (2013). Let’s get personal: Making sustainability tangible to students. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(1): 15-24.
Purpose – Most students report giving little thought to their consumption and waste, and when confronted with issues of sustainability still find them either distant and impersonal or overwhelming. One area that has been relatively unexplored is the concept of a self-audit and self-reflection in the development of intrinsic motivation for living sustainably. The aim of this paper is to describe the results of a case study that addresses this issue.
Design/methodology/approach – As part of an integrated course, Introduction to Sustainable Design, undergraduate students participate in the creation and use of a personal Resource Consumption and Waste Audit that makes tangible their resource consumption and waste generation and that forms the basis for self-reflection throughout the course. The instructions to the students for the three-day audit are provided along with the results as self-reported by the students.
Findings – Students generally express surprise and dismay at their levels of consumption and waste, and state that they are motivated to change behaviors. Many call the audit “life-changing” and add that everyone should do a similar audit if our society is to become more sustainable.
Originality/value – The audit provides a novel, simple and cost-effective way for students to assess their own resource consumption and waste generation, and it lays the groundwork for behavioral change based on self-reflection around these issues. It has the additional advantages of requiring no special technology, being adaptable to different courses and majors, and providing a basis for development of quantitative and longitudinal studies.
Savanick, S., Strong, R., & Manning, C. (2008). Explicitly linking pedagogy and facilities to campus sustainability: Lessons from Carleton College and the University of Minnesota. Environmental Education Research 14(6): 667-679.
Campus sustainability projects provide an opportunity to explicitly link campus operations and academics. College and university buildings and grounds offer the potential for numerous hands‐on sustainability projects. Few schools explicitly link sustainability projects with academics as often the academic side of an institution is separate from the operational side. This paper analyzes projects at Carleton College and the University of Minnesota that successfully combined facilities projects with academics. We analyze the academic and facilities management benefits of these projects and offer recommendations for linking academic and sustainable campus projects. The article advocates for intensified collaborations between academics and facilities managers, to provide win‐win outcomes for both sectors of the campus community.
Scheunpflug, A., & Asbrand, B. (2006). Global education and education for sustainability. Environmental Education Research, Special Issue: Environmental Education in Three German-speaking Countries: Research Perspectives and Recent Developments. 12(1): 33-46.
This article focuses on the relationship between development education/global education and education for sustainability. A short introduction describes the current use of the term ‘global education’ and the different groups working and competing within this area in the development field. In the first part, the history of the concept of ‘global education’ is outlined. The authors describe the conceptual shifts from Third World pedagogy to development education to global education. In the second part, the current conceptual debate within the global‐education discourse itself is described. The relationship between the concepts of global education and education for sustainability is reflected on in the third part. Finally, the current challenges for the implementation in practice, for the conceptual debate, and for the research agenda in the field of global education are outlined.
Schinkel, A. (2009). Justifying compulsory environmental education in liberal democracies. Journal of Philosophy of Education 43(4): 507-526.
The need for education for (as opposed to about) sustainability is urged from many sides. Initiatives in this area tend to focus on formal education. Governmental, supra-governmental and non-governmental bodies all expect much of this kind of education, which is to transform children—and through them society—in the direction of sustainability. Due to the combination of great transformative expectations or ambitions and a focus on schooling (the idea of) compulsory environmental education poses potentially severe problems for governments committed to liberal principles, in particular the principle of state ‘neutrality’ with respect to ‘comprehensive conceptions of the good life’. The central question of this article is whether liberal governments can make environmental education of this kind compulsory without coming into conflict with the liberal principle of state neutrality. I discuss three defences of the compatibility of compulsory environmental education with liberal neutrality, namely those put forward by Derek Bell, Andrew Dobson, and Simon Hailwood, as well as some problems inherent in these defences. In the final section I sketch a form of compulsory environmental education that realises at least some of the aims commonly stated for Education for Sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development, and can be justified on the basis of liberal principles.
Scholz, R.W., Lang, D.J., Wiek, A., Walter, A.I., & Stauffacher, M. (2006). Transdisciplinary case studies as a means of sustainability learning: Historical framework and theory. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(3): 226-251.
Purpose – This paper aims at presenting the theoretical concepts of the transdisciplinary case study approach (TCS), which is a research and teaching approach developed and elaborated at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), as a means of transition support.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper reveals the historical roots of case studies, transdisciplinarity and sustainable development as teaching and research paradigms. The TCS approach is presented, which has been developed at ETH for supporting transition management of regional, urban, and organizational systems. This approach is entrenched by an ontology that reveals the basic characteristics of ill-defined transition problems, an epistemology that refers to Probabilistic Functionalism and distinguishes between multi-layered systemic and normative epistemics, a methodology that includes a set of methods for case representation (including modelling and projection), assessment, and strategy building, and a project management model that refers to more than a dozen TCSs in the field of sustainable development. Problems of validity of TCSs as a research methodology are discussed.
Findings – Three major strengths of the TCS approach presented in the paper are: that it is based on three sound paradigms, which focus on different, relevant characteristics of complex, human-environment systems; i.e. the case study approach, transdisciplinarity and sustainable development, that it is strictly organized according to an elaborated and consistent theoretical framework that includes ontological, epistemological, methodological, and organizational considerations, and that it is itself subject to an ongoing inquiry and adaptation process. All theoretical considerations of the paper are clarified be elaborated examples from the more than 10 years experience with TCS of the authors.
Practical implications – The paper gives a comprehensive overview of the theoretical foundation of TCS that might assist other scientists engaged in case study research and teaching to further develop their approaches. Additionally, relevant topics for further research in the field of TCS are presented which hopefully induce an inspiring discussion among case study researchers.
Originality/value – As far we know, this paper is one of the first that presents a comprehensive and theoretically sound overview of applying transdisciplinary case studies as means of sustainability learning. Thus, it can be seen as a first, crucial step for establishing the new research field of TCS research and a sound research community of complex, transdisciplinary problem solving towards sustainability learning.
Scott, W.A.H., & Gough, S.R. (2010). Sustainability, learning and capability: Exploring questions of balance. Sustainability 2(12): 3735-3746.
It is argued that sustainable development makes best sense as a social learning process that brings tangible and useful outcomes in terms of understanding and skills, and also reinforces the motivation and capability for further learning. Thus, there are always balances to be struck between a broad-based, wide-ranging education and a more specialist one; between a focus on ideas themselves, and on their application in social or economic contexts; and between keeping ideas separate, and integrating them. This paper will explore the nature of such balances, and the issues to bear in mind when striking them, focusing on schools, university and college contexts within the United Kingdom.
Segovia, V.M., & Galang, A.P. (2002). Sustainable development in higher education in the Philippines: The case of Miriam College. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(3): 288-297.
The Philippines is one of the signatories to the historic Agenda 21 and was noted to be among the first countries to establish a National Council for Sustainable Development. Ten years after Rio, global society is again confronted with the question of whether sustainable development as a concept, philosophy and practice has improved the lives of peoples in different countries and cultures. This article attempts to discuss initiatives through which tertiary education has helped bring about sustainable development in the Philippines. It posits that for sustainable development to happen it must take root in the consciousness and cultures of society, a task in which education plays a very important part. The article discusses the efforts of two national networks for environmental education, the Environmental Education Network of the Philippines, Inc. (EENP) and the Philippine Association of Tertiary Level Educational Institutions in Environmental Protection and Management (PATLEPAM), which advocate for the integration of sustainable development in school curricula as well as in campus administration and organizational culture. It also includes the pioneering efforts of one institution, Miriam College, to integrate environmental education in its programs as part of its mission and commitment to become a genuine “steward of creation”.
Selby, D. (2011). Education for sustainable contraction as appropriate response to global heating. Journal for Activism in Science & Technology Education 3(1): 1-14
Selby, D., Jones, P., & Kagawa, F. (2009). Sustainability promotion and branding: Messaging challenges and possibilities for higher education institutions. Sustainability 1(3): 537-555.
This paper reports on case study research into six higher education institutions (three in the UK and three in the USA) that give prominence to their sustainability credentials in their paper form and/or electronic promotional and recruitment materials. The purpose of the research was to draw important lessons and identify significant issues concerning the sustainability branding and marketing of higher education institutions. Key findings include, first, the importance of calibrating sustainability marketing according to actual sustainability performance while also embracing a sustainability vision; second, the importance of combining internal with external marketing; third, the importance of institutional clarity in determining marketing parameters; fourth, the advantages of marrying broad-based ‘subtle’ marketing with intensive niche and segment marketing. It was found, too, that higher education institutions with a sustainability brand are not collecting systematic data to assess marketing impact on student recruitment, or utilizing the sustainability/employability interface to good marketing effect, or employing a multi-dimensional conception of sustainability in their marketing. There is clear evidence of the stirrings of movement away from paper-form towards electronic marketing across the cases considered. An overarching insight of the study is that rigorous institutional engagement with marketing sustainability credentials can have a significant impact on the quality and depth of sustainability performance by helping spread, enrich and diversify the institutional sustainability culture.
Sens, A. & Fryer, M. (2012). Enriched Educational Experiences at UBC: A Framework for dialogue and action. Published online:
The UBC strategic plan, Place and Promise, commits the university to providing students with at least two Enriched Educational Experiences (E3s) during their course of study. This document is intended to provide a resource for dialogue and a framework for action to guide faculties and units in the process of expanding the availability and enhancing the quality of E3s at UBC.
This document is the product of extensive consultations with the UBC teaching and learning community. There is university-wide support for the expansion and enhancement of E3s at UBC. There is strong conceptual agreement about what enriched educational experiences are and what they achieve coupled with a wide diversity of practice across the many different educational contexts at the university. UBC already provides an extensive range of E3s for our undergraduate and graduate students, and combined student enrollment in E3s across the university is high. However, enrollment patterns are asymmetric across faculties and some students engage in several E3s, while others engage in none.
A number of impediments to E3 development and delivery exist in the current structures, processes, and culture of the university. There is widespread agreement that increasing the role of E3s in the UBC learning experience will present challenges for faculty, staff, and students. However, the reframing and restructuring of the university that is proceeding from the Place and Promise vision provides a larger context for a thoughtful dialogue on the future of undergraduate education at UBC. The expansion and enhancement of E3s presents an opportunity for a broader university-wide reflection on teaching and learning and a conversation about the synergies between curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular learning.
The goal of this document is to provide conceptual guidance for faculties and units as they continue their dialogues on how best to expand and enhance E3s at UBC. Ultimately, the goal is to position educational enrichment practices as a key element of curriculum design, faculty teaching, student development, and student learning expectations. To that end, this document provides a framework for action in the form of suggested initiatives, measures, and practices that will enable UBC to support excellence and innovation in the design, implementation, and evaluation of E3s. The framework provides a list of suggested actions in five major categories: Capacity Building; Student Engagement; Recognition; Assessment; and Resource Development. By pursuing these and other ideas that will emerge as the dialogue evolves, E3s will become a signature feature of the UBC degree experience.
Sharp L. (2002). Green campuses: The road from little victories to systemic transformation. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(2): 128-145.
This article contributes to an emerging dialogue about how we can accelerate progress towards institutionalizing a commitment to campus environmental sustainability throughout the university sector. It seeks to utilize progress made to date, in the field of “greening” universities, looking deeply into these experiences, to learn from them and to start revealing how they may inform us to move into the realm of widespread institutional transformation. It presents a range of insights, lessons learned and preferred approaches emerging from seven years of implementing campus environmental programs in universities both in Australia and the USA. Many of these ideas have been further informed during a Churchill Fellowship, spent investigating campus environment initiatives in over 30 universities in Europe and the USA. To assist in giving further weight to the material presented, it draws upon the work of a various authors of organizational change, leadership and management publications. The subject-matter is wide-ranging as it is intended as a starting-point for the reader to pick and choose ideas that may warrant further investigation in their own university context. Even though many of the ideas presented need further exploration and development, in their current state they may prove of some value to the reader as a catalyst for a different level of institutional analysis.
Shephard, K. (2008). Higher education for sustainability: Seeking affective learning outcomes. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(1): 87-98.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to interpret aspects of education for sustainability in relation to educational theories of the affective domain (values, attitudes and behaviours) and suggest how the use of these theories, and relevant experience, in other educational areas could benefit education for sustainability.
Design/methodology/approach – An analysis based on a literature review of relevant educational endeavours in affective learning.
Findings – This paper suggests that most teaching and assessment in higher education focus on cogitative skills of knowledge and understanding rather than on affective outcomes of values, attitudes and behaviours. Some areas of higher education, however, have effectively pursued affective outcomes and these use particular learning and teaching activities to do so. Key issues for consideration include assessing outcomes and evaluating courses, providing academic credit for affective outcomes, key roles for role models and designing realistic and acceptable learning outcomes in the affective domain.
Practical implications – Educators for sustainability could use this relevant theoretical underpinning and experience gained in other areas of education to address the impact of their own learner-support activities.
Originality/value – Educators have traditionally been reluctant to pursue affective learning outcomes but often programmes of study simply fail to identify and describe their legitimate aims in these terms. This paper emphasises the application of a relevant theoretical underpinning to support educators’ legitimate aspirations for affective learning outcomes. It will also help these educators to reflect on how the use of these approaches accords with the liberal traditions of higher education.
Sherman, D.J. (2008). Research and Solutions: Sustainability: What’s the Big Idea? A strategy for transforming the higher education curriculum. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 1(3): 188-195.
Sherren, K. (2006). Core issues: Reflections on sustainability in Australian university coursework programs. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(4): 400-413.
Purpose – In addition to mapping the consistency in rhetoric behind education for sustainability, despite changes in jargon over the past 30 years, this paper endeavours to estimate the degree to which these ideas have been integrated into the Australian tertiary sector.
Design/methodology/approach – The results of a recent internet-based audit of tertiary environmental and sustainability offerings are used to reflect upon key ideas associated with a liberal sustainability education: interdisciplinarity, cosmopolitanism and civics.
Findings – Sustainability is not yet well integrated in specialist or generalist coursework programs in Australia, largely due to a “customer”-focused higher education sector. Additionally, the emphasis of such programs is usually technological solutions and scientific ken, to the detriment of human cultures and behavioural change.
Practical implications – Concrete recommendations are given to inform the development of appropriate generalist sustainability curricula, including liberal characteristics such as broad foundational years, and increased historical, spatial and cultural context.
Originality/value – This paper provides a valuable overview of progress towards sustainability in Australian university programs, based on a comprehensive survey, and with a minimum of new jargon to ensure accessibility for practitioners.
Shriberg, M. (2002). Institutional assessment tools for sustainability in higher education: Strengths, weaknesses, and implications for practice and theory. Higher Education Policy 15(2): 153-167.
This paper analyzes recent efforts to measure sustainability in higher education across institutions.
The benefits of cross-institutional assessments include: identifying and benchmarking leaders and best practices; communicating common goals, experiences, and methods; and providing a directional tool to measure progress toward the concept of a “sustainable campus”. Ideal assessment tools identify the most important attributes of a sustainable campus, are calculable and comparable, measure more than eco-e4ciency, assess processes and motivations and are comprehensible to multiple stakeholders. The 11 cross-institutional assessment tools reviewed in this paper vary in terms of stage of development and closeness to the “ideal tool”. These tools reveal (through their structure and content) the following critical parameters to achieving sustainability in higher education: decreasing throughput; pursuing incremental and systemic change simultaneously; including sustainability education as a central part of curricula; and engaging in cross-functional and cross-institutional efforts.
Sibbel, A. (2009). Pathways towards sustainability through higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(1): 68-82.
Purpose – The aim of this paper is to contribute to aligning higher education towards meeting the challenge of global sustainability.
Design/methodology/approach – The barriers to sustainability are juxtaposed against the resources, responsibilities and potential of higher education. Ideas from several models and from within several disciplines are integrated to construct a framework through the challenges can be examined and then translated into learning outcomes, expressed as graduate attributes.
Findings – The focus of education for global sustainability has been on encouraging consumers to modify patterns of resource consumption and waste management. However, there are some significant limitations to relying on consumer action. Future professionals, involved in managing resources or designing options from which consumers make choices, are in a much better position for influencing how social, cultural and environmental resources are used. To actualise this potential requires that higher education curricula offer experiences which develop graduate attributes of self-efficacy, capacity for effective advocacy and interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as raise awareness of social and moral responsibilities associated with professional practice.
Research limitations/implications – For higher education to contribute towards achieving sustainability requires support of the whole institution, and considerable professional development of staff to help them appreciate how they can lead the next generation to global sustainability. The next stage of the research into the role of higher education in building a sustainable society should focus on how these objectives can be achieved.
Originality/value – Considerable research has been dedicated to describing the urgent and intractable nature of the problems facing the global community and, to some extent, the need for higher education to engage with these problems. This paper takes the next step by presenting some guidelines for designing curricula to develop graduate attributes required for this work.
Simon-Brown, V. (2000). Sustainable living strategies for breaking the cycle of work and spend. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(3): 290-297.
Consumerism is skyrocketing in the USA. This paper assists land-grant university National Cooperative Research Extension Education Service (NCREES) faculty in understanding the definition of a consumer society, the dynamics of consumption patterns, the factors and values of sustainable economics, and the varying interpretations of consumer characteristics. It then identifies possible target populations, and suggests educational strategy options to be used to foster sustainable lifestyles and responsible consumer decisions. The strategies, which encompass NCREES disciplines, include a quality of life questioning system; redefining the relationship between job and social status; economics coursework; LETS education; time management and simple living workshops; acting as conduits to other programs; and most importantly, modeling sustainable behaviors. These are all important components of the sustainability formula and indicate some areas where universities could be more pro-active.
Sipos, Y., Battisti, B., & Grimm, K. (2008). Achieving transformative sustainability learning: Engaging head, hands and heart. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(1): 68-86.
Purpose – The current UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development echoes many scholars’ calls to re-envision education for sustainability. Short of a complete overhaul of education, the paper seeks to propose learning objectives that can be integrated across existing curricula. These learning objectives are organized by head, hands and heart – balancing cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains. University programs and courses meeting these learning objectives exhibit an emergent property here termed transformative sustainability learning (TSL).
Design/methodology/approach – Theoretically, TSL grew from traditions of sustainability education and transformative education. Practically, TSL emerged from experimental learning collaborations sponsored by the University of British Columbia in 2003 and 2004 in an effort to enable explicit transitions to sustainability-oriented higher education. Primarily through action research, these community-based, applied learning experiences constituted cyclical processes of innovation, implementation and reflection.
Findings – The paper finds: advancement of head, hands and heart as an organizing principle by which to integrate transdisciplinary study (head); practical skill sharing and development (hands); and translation of passion and values into behaviour (heart); development of a cognitive landscape for understanding TSL as a unifying framework amongst related sustainability and transformative pedagogies that are inter/transdisciplinary, practical and/or place-based; creation of learning objectives, organized to evaluate a course or program’s embodiment of TSL.
Originality/value – By enabling change within existing structures of higher education, the paper complements and contributes to more radical departures from the institution. The work to date demonstrates potential in applying this learning framework to courses and programs in higher education.
Skelly, S.M. & Bradley, J.C. (2000). The Importance of school gardens as perceived by Florida elementary school teachers. HortTechnology 10: 229-231.
Slahova, A., Savvina, J., Cacka, M. & Volonte, I. (2007). Creative activity in conception of sustainable development education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(2): 142-154.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the stages in the development of creative activity considering the distinctive features of all stages and the modes of dynamics of the development of a creative person.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper analyses scientific investigations and pedagogical experiences in order to develop the model for the formation of creative activity of artists-visual art teachers in the context of sustainable development.
Findings – The investigations of scientific literature on pedagogy, psychology, philosophy, as well as the analysis of pedagogical practice allow us to recognize that the formation of creative activity is comprised of several stages. These stages are closely connected with a creative process and depend on a person’s artistic talents and abilities.
Practical implications – The development of creative activity is a very complicated process that takes place over whole period of life and depends on social, material and mental factors. Each personality goes through this process in an individual pace and manner. Further, investigations will be carried into a more profound analysis of the suggested system, the determinations of its development dynamics in connection with all mentioned above components in the context of sustainable development.
Originality/value – This paper is generalizing information of theoretical and empirical research.
Šlaus, I. & Jacobs, G. (2011). Human capital and sustainability. Sustainability 3(1): 97-154.
A study of sustainability needs to consider the role of all forms of capital—natural, biological, social, technological, financial, cultural—and the complex ways in which they interact. All forms of capital derive their value, utility and application from human mental awareness, creativity and social innovation. This makes human capital, including social capital, the central determinant of resource productivity and sustainability. Humanity has entered the Anthropocene Epoch in which human changes have become the predominant factor in evolution. Humanity is itself evolving from animal physicality to social vitality to mental individuality. This transition has profound bearing on human productive capabilities, adaptability, creativity and values, the organization of economy, public policy, social awareness and life styles that determine sustainability. This article examines the linkages between population, economic development, employment, education, health, social equity, cultural values, energy intensity and sustainability in the context of evolving human consciousness. It concludes that development of human capital is the critical determinant of long-term sustainability and that efforts to accelerate the evolution of human consciousness and emergence of mentally self-conscious individuals will be the most effective approach for ensuring a sustainable future. Education is the primary lever. Human choice matters.
Smith-Sebasto, N.J. & Shebitz, D.J. (2012). Creation of an Innovative Sustainability Science Undergraduate Degree Program: A 10-Step Process. Innovative Higher Education, Published Online:
We explain the process used at Kean University (New Jersey) to create an innovative undergraduate degree program in sustainability science. This interdisciplinary program provides students with the strong science background necessary to understand and address the opportunities associated with sustainability. We articulate seven steps taken during the first year of developing the major and three additional steps that explain its evolution. Sustainability is the primary focus of each course within the curriculum. By sharing our experiences, other institutions may be encouraged or assisted in developing a similar program.
Stables, A. (2010). Making meaning and using natural resources: Education and sustainability. Journal of Philosophy of Education 44(1): 137-151.
A natural resource is not given, but depends on human knowledge for its exploitation. Thus a ‘unit of resource’ is, to a significant degree, a ‘unit of meaning’, and education is potentially important not only for the use of resources but also for their creation. The paper draws on poststructuralism to confirm the intuition that it would be misleading to conceive of ‘units’ of meaning. However, it is commonly acceptable to conceive of ‘units’ of resource, as in much discussion around sustainability; but, if the latter concept is suspect, then so is the former. The error seems to arise from the assumption of identifiable points in space-time, already problematised by quantum mechanics and poststructuralism. Conceiving of ‘now’ as a moving in and with time, rather than as a point in time, human survival is construed as an ongoing process of meaning-making constrained though not determined by the carrying capacity of the planet. The Second Nature conception of John McDowell is critiqued with respect to this.
Stables, A. & Scott, W. (2001). Post-humanist liberal pragmatism? Environmental education out of modernity. Journal of Philosophy of Education 35(2): 269-279.
The authors critique C. A. Bowers’ argument that education for sustainability must be inspired by the practices of pre-modern cultures, and cannot be promoted through the postmodern pragmatism of Richard Rorty. Environmental education must rather be grounded in contemporary cultural practice. Although Rorty, like many other postmodernists, has shown little concern for the ecological crisis, his approach is potentially applicable to it. What is required is a broadening of focus: the ecological crisis is a crisis of post-Enlightenment humanism as well as of other aspects of modernity.
Stauffacher, M., Walter, A.L., Lang, D.J., Wiek, A. & Scholz, R.W. (2006). Learning to research environmental problems from a functional socio-cultural constructivism perspective: The transdisciplinary case study approach. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(3): 252-275.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the transdisciplinary case study (TCS) as a learning framework based on what we call functional socio-cultural constructivism and project-based learning (PBL). In doing so, the paper attempts to illustrate the applicability of TCS to learn competencies and skills necessary to research problems of sustainable development.
Design/methodology/approach – TCS is considered a learning framework based on the principle of self-regulated learning; i.e. students must actively deal with the requirements as well as plan and execute their project work within their own worldviews and goals. TCS methods are essential as we tackle complex real-world problems.
Findings – The paper discusses challenges and obstacles of such an approach and present lessons learned since 1994, on both the viewpoints of students and of teachers. It conclude that case study learning is a demanding task, especially in a transdisciplinary context where more challenges emerge than in PBL, since goals of teachers, case agents, and students have to be balanced.
Practical implications – TCS or courses like it are important for universities at the present time. Under present budget restrictions and a wide-ranging mistrust of society toward universities, there is a necessity for a new contract between society and research: students should learn to take over responsibility in societal contexts and be able to communicate beyond the “ivory tower”.
Originality/value – The learning goals of TCS differ from the goals of most university courses. They are more comprehensive and include complex problem solving, societal context, and group processes. The ambitious goal is that students become enabled to tackle complex, real-world problems.
Steiner, G., & Laws, D. (2006). How appropriate are two established concepts from higher education for solving complex real-world problems?: A comparison of the Harvard and the ETH case study approach. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(3): 322-340.
Purpose – The main focus of this paper is to discuss appropriate forms of higher education for building up students’ competence for working on complex real-world problems.
Design/methodology/approach – Within this paper the Harvard approach is accurately compared with the ETH approach by discussing theoretical and practical implications as well.
Findings – It is argued that the Harvard case study approach is a sensible approach to bridging the gap between the academic and the practical world, but it has important limits in preparing students to cope with complex real-world problems. In some important respects, the ETH case study approach goes further by exposing students directly to the multi-faceted and complex character of real-world problems.
Practical implications – The ETH approach puts additional demands on students and teachers to bridge the gap between university and society with a high degree of responsibility. Consequently, a combination of both the Harvard and the ETH approach might be interesting.
Originality/value – The comparison of the Harvard case study approach with the ETH case study approach is novel. The discussion of educational together with practical implications provides insight to the peculiarities of each single approach together with an orientation for their implementation within higher education. Guidance is given to universities who are deciding what educational means have to be implemented in order to prepare their students for the task of solving complex real-world problems in an inter but also transdisciplinary manner.
Stephens, J.C., Hernandez, M.E., Román, M., Graham, A.C. & Scholz, R.W. (2008). Higher education as a change agent for sustainability in different cultures and contexts. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(3): 317-338.
Purpose – The goal of this paper is to enhance consideration for the potential for institutions of higher education throughout the world, in different cultures and contexts, to be change agents for sustainability. As society faces unprecedented and increasingly urgent challenges associated with accelerating environmental change, resource scarcity, increasing inequality and injustice, as well as rapid technological change, new opportunities for higher education are emerging.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on the emerging literature on transition management and identifies five critical issues to be considered in assessing the potential for higher education as a change agent in any particular region or place. To demonstrate the value of these critical issues, exemplary challenges and opportunities in different contexts are provided.
Findings – The five critical issues include regional-specific dominant sustainability challenges, financing structure and independence, institutional organization, the extent of democratic processes, and communication and interaction with society.
Originality/value – Given that the challenges and opportunities for higher education as a change agent are context-specific, identifying, synthesizing, and integrating common themes is a valuable and unique contribution.
Stevenson, R.B. (2007). Schooling and environmental/sustainability education: From discourses of policy and practice to discourses of professional learning. Environmental Education Research, Special Issue: Revisiting Schooling and Environmental Education: contradictions in purpose and practice 13(2): 265-285.
The gap between policy rhetoric and school practices in environmental education has not only persisted but probably increased over the past twenty years, given the contested advent of education for sustainable development (ESD) as the dominant international policy discourse in this area, and an increased focus in schools on didactic teaching in traditional content areas resulting from narrowly defined accountability measures in many national educational policies. After examining changes and continuities in the discourse of environmental education/ESD and the policy contexts of schools over the past twenty years, this article argues for re‐conceptualising the rhetoric–practice gap such that practices in schools are not simply assessed in relation to policy discourse but policy discourse itself is re‐examined in relation to teachers’ practical theories and the contexts shaping their practices. Although the structures and norms of schooling continue to work against inquiry‐based action‐oriented environmental education practices, several emerging trends are identified that can offer promising spaces or opportunities. Drawing on what we know about the power of professional communities to contribute to teacher learning, the article concludes with a call for constructing discourses of professional learning that reflexively build, sustain and develop such spaces and opportunities for enacting meaningful environmental education in schools. Such a discourse and approach, it is argued, can move the focus from educators’ implementation of environmental education (as expressed in the policy discourse) to building their normative and technical capacity, both individually and collectively, to shape practice.
Stubbs, W. (2013). Addressing the business-sustainability nexus in postgraduate education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(1): 25-41.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a pedagogical approach for designing a coursework curriculum that aims to meet the growing need for skilled professionals that have competencies in both business and sustainability, and that understand the nexus between the two.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a pedagogical approach discussed in the education for sustainability literature to analyse the CESM program. The pedagogical approach focuses on developing students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes (behaviours) in sustainability.
Findings – The Knowledge-Skills-Attitudes (KSA) framework is a suitable pedagogical approach to guide the design of sustainability management education programs that prepare students for systemic organizational change. A KSA approach to designing sustainability management education curricula can also address the criticisms of current business management curricula by other scholars.
Originality/value – The discussion of the MCESM program in this article provides guidance to faculty on one approach to creating sustainability-centric business curricula and may provide a catalyst for sharing learning experiences in integrating sustainability into existing business curricula. It may also provide some ideas for developing new programs that address the business and sustainability nexus.
Stubbs, W., & Schapper, J. (2011). Two approaches to curriculum development for educating for sustainability and CSR. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 12(3): 259-268.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on efforts to develop two stand-alone subjects on sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a mainstream business curriculum at Monash University, Australia.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper presents details on the educational rationale and design of the two subjects in corporate sustainability and CSR.
Findings – Although many universities offer support for education for sustainability, previous research indicates that most curriculum initiatives in this area have been driven by individual faculty. This paper provides examples of curriculum development that emerged from the grass-roots initiative, in the absence of an integrated and mainstreamed programme for sustainability.
Practical implications – The paper encourages all faculty, no matter their circumstances, to consider the development of curriculum for sustainability. While individual subjects cannot effect wholesale change, each effort can, no matter how piecemeal, make a difference.
Originality/value – The cases in this paper highlight the importance of skills, knowledge and values to the curriculum for sustainability and CSR. Because there is no formula for how these are integrated into the curriculum, the paper illustrates how individual faculty members have brought their own disciplinary and pedagogical backgrounds to their curriculum design.
Svanström, M., Lozano-García, F.J., & Rowe, D. (2008). Learning outcomes for sustainable development in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(3): 339-351.
Purpose – This paper sets out to discuss the commonalities that can be found in learning outcomes (LOs) for education for sustainable development in the context of the Tbilisi and Barcelona declarations. The commonalities include systemic or holistic thinking, the integration of different perspectives, skills such as critical thinking, change agent abilities and communication, and finally different attitudes and values.
Design/methodology/approach – An analysis of LOs that are proposed in the Tbilisi and Barcelona declarations is conducted, showing specific issues for the commonalities presented. Examples of LOs from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico, as well as various associations from the USA is shown. A brief discussion is done on the means to achieve these LOs and learning evaluation.
Findings – In the example sets of LOs shown, the commonalities presented in the paper’s first section appear in the LOs proposed by the institutions. Based on current knowledge and perception, sustainability is properly addressed in the examples.
Practical implications – The paper can be used to foster a wider discussion and analysis of LOs for sustainability education, also further work on teachers’ capacity building for sustainability, as well as the assessment needed for future professionals in higher education institutions.
Originality/value – The paper presents the onset of discussing and comparing commonalities among higher education institutions regarding sustainability LOs.
Tabucanon, M.T. (2008). Asia-Pacific University Network Formed to Integrate ESD and SD into Higher Education. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 2(1): 73-75.
Tabucanon, M.T. (2009). Asia-Pacific higher education institutions form alliance on sustainability in postgraduate education and research. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 3(1): 23-25.
Tahir, F. (2001). Distance education, environmental education and sustainability – An overview of universities in Commonwealth Asia. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(1): 21-37.
Commonwealth countries in Asia are a mixed group, small in number but varying in size from Singapore to India. This paper starts by looking briefly at the current status of distance education in universities in Commonwealth Asia and then presents an overview of the current status and place of environmental education in a sample of higher-education institutions in some Commonwealth countries. Finally, the paper describes a survey conducted in a number of higher-education institutions specialising in distance education in Commonwealth nations across Asia, with subsequent considerations of trends seen in Pakistan.
Thaman, K.H. (2002). Shifting sights: The cultural challenge of sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(3): 233-242.
This article focuses on the need for universities, as teaching and research organisations, to recognise and act upon a more culturally inclusive interpretation of “sustainable development” and “sustainability”. It argues for the valuing of indigenous worldviews as a means of achieving a more holistic and interdisciplinary way of thinking about the Earth as the home of all people and as a complement to the beliefs of Western science and rational objective thinking. At a more personal level, it challenges readers, especially academics, to re-examine their own ways of thinking and knowing for the sake of creating sustainable futures that are inclusive in its processes, contexts and outcomes.
Thaman, K.H. (2010). Teacher capacities for working towards peace and sustainable development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(4): 353-364.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of values and beliefs rooted in “non-Western” cultures in implementing global education initiatives such as education for sustainable development (ESD) at the regional and local levels. This is because many of these initiatives are often derived from “Western” cultures and values. Also to reaffirm the importance for educators to respect and use local and indigenous ways of life and knowledge systems in order to make teaching and learning more relevant and meaningful for Pacific students; and to advocate for the development of teachers’ capacities to better contextualize their teaching and create more culturally inclusive learning environments.
Design/methodology/approach – Informed by the findings of her research on cultural values, educational ideas and teachers’ role perception in Tonga, plus her work as the UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education and Culture at the University of South Pacific, the author presents her reflections on the need to further enhance teachers and teacher educators in the Pacific region.
Findings – The findings suggests that teacher education programmes that are designed to cultivate teachers’ cultural competence may better contribute to making Pacific education more relevant and effective.
Originality/value – The ESD discourse often attaches importance to traditional and indigenous knowledge, but there is limited literature discussing how and for what purposes indigenous ways of knowing should be integrated into teacher education. This paper challenges the neglect of teachers in the international education reform discourses; points out the vital role of teachers in facilitating educational reforms, and contributes understanding of the types of teacher capacities higher education needs to foster for peace and sustainability through the case of the Pacific region.
Thomas, I. (2004). Sustainability in tertiary curricula: What is stopping it happening? International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 5(1): 33 – 47
The concepts of environmental education and education for sustainability have been acknowledged by many tertiary institutions for over a decade. An appreciable number of institutions have signed agreements to educate students in all disciplines about sustainability. Although several Australian institutions of higher education have signed the Talloire Declaration, a recent survey finds little indication that their curricula have been changed to include sustainability education. Despite the apparent widespread support for the concept of student education in sustainability, there is little implementation. The experience of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University suggests that those concerned about education and environment/sustainability need more than conviction and vision. A strategic approach – based on change management and supported by staff development – is needed to implement these sorts of changes. Rather than attempting to outline a grand plan or model for implementation, this paper identifies key issues and looks into the current experience associated with implementation approaches.
Thompson, R., & Green, W. (2005). When sustainability is not a priority: An analysis of trends and strategies. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(1): 7-17.
Purpose – Institutions of higher education (IHE) should be leaders for demonstrating sustainable building, landscaping, and operational practices. IHEs intensely use resources and are nearly microcosms of the larger world. Yet, relatively few IHEs have assumed a strong leadership role by pursuing sustainability in a comprehensive manner. In particular, few examples exist where top administrators have made sustainability a high-profile, campus-wide priority. In the absence of strong administrative leadership, proponents of sustainability need to develop strategies that do not assume a top-down approach.
Design/methodology/approach – This article examines the institutional structures and demands at many IHEs that make it unlikely that top administrators will make sustainability a priority. It also examines why supporters of sustainability will have to contend with faculty, staff, and students who may not see sustainability as an important issue or who must engage in sustainability efforts within the constraints of other institutional demands.
Findings – The authors present two overarching strategies for supporters of sustainability. First, they look for ways to push sustainability on to the IHE’s “action agenda”. Second, they work to implement sustainability incrementally through discrete projects.
Originality/value – The authors offer specific recommendations for overcoming barriers to participation, pushing sustainability on to an IHE’s action agenda, and keeping the process of incremental implementation moving forward.
Tilbury, D. 1995. Environmental education for sustainability: Defining the new focus of environmental education in the 1990s. Environmental Education Research 1(2): 195-212.
The history of environmental education reveals a close connection between changing concerns about the environment and its associated problems and the way in which environmental education is defined and promoted. In the 1990s, mounting concern over environment and development problems has meant greater support for an educational approach, which not only considers immediate environmental improvement as an actual goal, but also addresses educating for ‘sustainability’ in the long term. Although some education literature has embraced this new focus of environmental education for sustainability (EEFS), it has failed to outline the essence of this approach and has neglected questions about how it differs from the environmental education of the 1980s. No document exists to date which translates the goals of EEFS into guiding principles for its development in schools. Essentially, EEFS needs further definition. This paper is an attempt to engage the debate about what constitutes this new focus of environmental education and how it may differ from conventional approaches to environmental education.
Timmerman, N. & Scott Metcalfe, A. (2009). From policy to pedagogy: The implications of sustainability policy for sustainability pedagogy in higher education. Canadian Journal of Higher Education 39(1): 45-60
In response to the growing number of sustainability policies being enacted at higher education institutions, this article examines the relationship between policy and pedagogy, asking how policy texts can both enable and impede the implementation of sustainability pedagogy in higher education. To explore this question, we have undertaken a case study at the University of British Columbia, analyzing two campus-wide visionary policies that call for sustainability education: Trek 2010: A Global Journey and Inspirations and Aspirations: The Sustainability Strategy. We analyze these documents to show how the goals and strategies within them have the potential to affect the teaching and learning of sustainability across the university, directly and indirectly. Our analysis is coupled with a series of suggestions on how the policy process might be better executed in the future for more pedagogically effective sustainability policy.
Tyburski, W. (2007). Origin and development of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics and their impact on the idea of sustainable development. Sustainable Development 16(2): 100-108.
A critical review of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics is discussed in relation to the idea of sustainable development. The article makes reference to 19th century influences that inspired thought orientated towards protecting the natural environment, and then presents the stages of the development of ecological philosophy, the main standpoints and their representatives. The main features of Polish eco-philosophical thought are presented together with an outline of the most significant achievements of these disciplines on a global scale. The influence of environmental philosophy and ethics on social aspects of sustainable development is also presented.
Special Issue: Review of Research on Sustainable Development in Poland;
Van Huijstee, M.M., Francken, M., & Lerovy, P. (2007). Partnerships for sustainable development: A review of current literature. Environmental Sciences 4(2): 75-89
Academic interest in intersectoral partnerships took off in the mid-1990s and the number of publications on this topic has increased rapidly since. This article reviews current academic knowledge on partnerships for sustainable development. This review defines intersectoral partnerships as ‘collaborative arrangements in which actors from two or more spheres of society (state, market and civil society) are involved in a non-hierarchical process, and through which these actors strive for a sustainability goal’.
We observe two major perspectives in the partnership literature, focusing on different aspects of the partnership phenomenon and addressing quite distinct questions. The first, the institutional perspective, looks at partnerships as new arrangements in the environmental governance regime. The second, the actor perspective, frames partnerships as possible strategic instruments for the goal achievement and problem solving of individual actors. Our review is organized around these perspectives. We identify the research questions that are being addressed in partnership literature, assess the type of knowledge that has been acquired and identify prevailing knowledge gaps.
Important conclusions are, firstly, that research on partnerships has delivered many insights in their functioning and their role in contemporary society. Secondly, the concepts of partnerships and sustainable development are more clearly linked discursively than empirically. The current knowledge base mostly lacks clear definitions of success and therefore criteria for the evaluation of partnerships. Therefore, future research should, on empirical instead of reasoned grounds, pay more attention to the link between intersectoral partnerships and sustainable development. Preferably this should be done in a way that combines the actor and the institutional perspective.
Vann, J., Pacheco, P., & Motloch, J. (2006). Cross-cultural education for sustainability: Development of an introduction to sustainability course. Journal of Cleaner Production 14(9-11): 900-905.
This paper reports on Ball State University’s activities in the area of education for sustainability and current activities to develop an Internet-based Introduction to Sustainability course. As the course will be Internet-based, it will mesh well with and can serve as the introductory course in the sustainability curriculum of Ball State University Land Design Institute’s international network of Sustainability Consortia, and can be used in sustainability education programs within the context of other international partnerships. This course will serve as a foundation for that effort and for a broader curriculum that can be delivered across cultures. Ball State University’s Clustered Minors in Environmentally Sustainable Practices utilizes three courses to address the social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability: environmental ethics; ecology; and environmental economics. The intention is to compose a course comprising elements from all three dimensions. The course will include Internet content and assignments and will exploit the emerging ability for Internet-based teleconferencing for real-time interactions among students and faculty at diverse international sites.
Van Roon, A., Govers, H.A.J., Parsons, J.R., & Van Weenen, H. (2001). Sustainable chemistry: An analysis of the concept and its integration in education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(2): 161-180.
It is now generally accepted that most of today’s (chemical) industry is unsustainable by design. Sustainable development is gaining interest as a concept, on the basis of which efforts are made to redesign production and consumption systems, in order to solve global environmental, economic and social problems. The aim of this paper is to investigate how the role of chemistry and chemistry education is changing through sustainable development. Sustainable chemistry is emerging as a new concept, but what is it? Different ideas on how to give content to sustainable chemistry have resulted in various new concepts, focusing on different levels of organisation, ranging from the level of molecules up to the societal level. After studying and comparing some of the related concepts concerned, a general definition of sustainable chemistry is presented. It is concluded that more research is needed, especially aimed at the higher levels of organisation, in order to be able to formulate a more detailed definition.
Van Weenen, H. (2000). Towards a vision of a sustainable university. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(1): 20-34.
Sustainable development is the biggest challenge to universities in the twenty-first century. As many different definitions and interpretations of the concept exist, it is not surprising that the strategies of the universities that are beginning to strive for sustainability show some differences. Various universities have already become engaged in the process of integrating sustainable development in their activities. Some examples of such universities are presented, including the experiences of the University of Amsterdam. The diverging strategies of sustainable universities are classified to clarify the differences and to stimulate and advance the debate. Inevitably, management, research, education, communication and operation of any university with a genuine interest in sustainable development will have to change. However, if, as it seems, universities are deeply involved in current world-wide patterns of unsustainability, could it perhaps be that existing university structures need to be replaced by a completely new type of “universal knowledge network” which is derived from a totally different paradigm of their role and function? In this article some clear indications are given about the meaning of sustainable development in this context in order to provide directions and guidelines for university strategies and practices. The consequences of the concept for universities are indicated and, finally, a possible model for a sustainable university is proposed.
Velazquez, L., Munguia, N., & Sanchez, M. (2005). Deterring sustainability in higher education institutions: An appraisal of the factors which influence sustainability in higher education institutions. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(4): 383-391.
Purpose – This study aims to identify the current barriers to sustainability in the bioscience laboratory setting and to determine which mechanisms are likely to increase sustainable behaviours in this specialized environment.
Design/methodology/approach – The study gathers qualitative data from a sample of laboratory researchers presently conducting experimentation in the biological sciences. A questionnaire, regarding sustainability in the laboratory, was developed and distributed to all bioscience researchers at Aberystwyth University.
Findings – Although the majority of respondents had favourably attitudes to sustainability, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) stated that they were not conducting their research in the most sustainable way possible. The factors most likely to hinder sustainable behaviour were lack of support, lack of information and time constraints. However, monetary costs and benefits, closely followed by “other” costs and benefits, were most likely to encourage sustainable behaviour in the laboratory.
Research limitations/implications – There is a need to extend the present research to other types of biological research, such as field-based studies. Different biological disciplines may have different consumable requirements and waste streams, thereby changing the barriers to sustainability observed.
Practical implications – The findings have immediate practical implication for higher education institutions wishing to adopt researcher-approved mechanisms to reduce the environmental impact of biological laboratory research.
Originality/value – This is the first study to design a sustainability questionnaire which is specific to research scientists and laboratory users. The paper is therefore of immense value to the numerous global higher education institutions with working laboratories which seek to minimise the environmental impact of research.
Vezzoli, C., & Penin, L. (2006). Campus “lab” and “window” for sustainable design research and education: The DECOS educational network experience. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 7(1): 69-80.
Purpose – This paper aims to diffuse the concept of a multi-lateral learning process as a means to promote experimental didactics and research (and the cross-fertilization between these two activities) in the field of design of sustainable product-service systems (PSSs) and to consider the university campus as the locus for the design, implementation and dissemination of sustainable innovative solutions.
Design/methodology/approach – The presentation, description and justification of the working hypothesis, i.e. the campus as community “lab” and “window” to design and promote sustainable innovation. It is described throughout the direct and experimental experiences matured by the design in emerging context for sustainability (DECOS) educational network. This is introduced by both a general overview of disciplinary contents and by the presentation, description and justification of the disciplinary issue. The achievements of the case study (the educational projects spin-off) and the (disciplinary) contextualization of the case study (the educational design projects) are discussed.
Findings – The paper presents findings at two levels. First, disciplinary: the paper justifies the concept of sustainable PSS as a radical innovation model towards sustainability, highlighting its potentialities for emerging contexts (countries). Within this disciplinary framework, it points out the necessity of raising a new generation of designers equipped to operate as system sustainability innovators. Second, educational: through the presentation of a successful case study, it validates the multilateral learning process (network) as a means to develop and promote curriculum innovation and validates the hypothesis that university campuses can be used as optimum show-cases for the design, testing and dissemination of sustainable solutions for society at large.
Practical implications – Concrete implications of the actions described in the paper are the introduction of advanced/experimental education courses within the curricula. It suggests also the development of tools and mechanisms (such as the use of specific collaborative design web tools and the students and teachers exchanges) as possible future developments for the presented actions.
Originality/value – The idea of studying the PSS applicability and potential in emerging countries represents an original approach. Furthermore, the paper presents an original and effective way of linking experimental didactic with open-front research issues.
Vincent, S., & Focht, W. (2009). US higher education environmental program managers’ perspectives on curriculum design and core competencies: Implications for sustainability as a guiding framework. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(2): 164-183.
Purpose – This study is the first of a five-phase research project sponsored by the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), an organization of environmental program managers operating under the umbrella of the National Council for Science and the Environment. The purpose of the project is to determine if a consensus on core competencies for environmental program graduates is achievable, and if so, to make recommendations for consideration by program managers.
Design/methodology/approach – Q methodology was used to discern the perspectives of program managers at 42 CEDD member institutions on environmental curriculum design. An online survey preceded the Q sort exercise to elicit managers’ curricular views and program characteristics. Survey responses were analyzed to select statements for the Q-sorting exercise and categorized according to emergent themes. Multiple regression analysis was used to explore the relationship between perspectives (factor loadings) and host institution Carnegie classifications.
Findings – Three distinct, but not opposing, perspectives were identified from the initial Q-factor rotation, which suggests the possibility of agreement on core competencies. The perspectives differ in their views of: curriculum orientation (professional training versus liberal arts), curriculum breadth versus depth, and flexible versus fixed core competencies. Host institution classification (Carnegie) is a small but significant predictor for two of the three perspectives. A second Q-factor rotation reveals a consensus perspective that accommodates most respondents and aligns well with principles of sustainability, thus suggesting that sustainability may serve as a guiding paradigm for defining areas of core competence.
Originality/value – No national study of program managers’ views of curriculum design and the identification of core competencies has been conducted in the USA.
Wals, A.E.J. (2010). Mirroring, Gestaltswitching and transformative social learning: Stepping stones for developing sustainability competence. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(4): 380-390.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify components and educational design principles for strengthening sustainability competence in and through higher education.
Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper that uses an exemplary autobiographical empirical case study in order to illustrate and support a line of reasoning.
Findings – A number of “Gestalts” of mind-sets of sustainability competence and key elements of the learning processes needed for developing such competence have been identified.
Originality/value – This is one of the first papers to consider sustainability competence from a transformative social learning perspective. The value of the paper lies in its potential to help teachers of university courses in re-designing their educational processes with sustainability competence in mind.
Wals, A.E.J., & Jickling, B. (2002). “Sustainability” in higher education: From doublethink and newspeak to critical thinking and meaningful learning. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(3): 221-232.
It is higher education’s responsibility to continuously challenge and critique value and knowledge claims that have prescriptive tendencies. Part of this responsibility lies in engaging students in socio-scientific disputes. The ill-defined nature of sustainability manifests itself in such disputes when conflicting values, norms, interests, and reality constructions meet. This makes sustainability – its need for contextualization and the debate surrounding it – pivotal for higher education. It offers an opportunity for reflection on the mission of our universities and colleges, but also a chance to enhance the quality of the learning process. This paper explores both the overarching goals and process of higher education from an emancipatory view and with regard to sustainability.
Walton, S.V., & Galea, C.E. (2005). Some considerations for applying business sustainability practices to campus environmental challenges. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 6(2): 147-160.
Purpose – To explore how universities can adopt sustainability practices that have proven to be successful in business.
Design/methodology/approach – Draws on several sources of theory (internationally published literatures in business, sustainability, and education) and practice (primarily US business and university practice) to develop a framework.
Findings – Two seemingly divergent trends have created a unique opportunity for universities to significantly improve their environmental performance: the increasing importance to businesses of managing the natural environment and the growing awareness that universities cannot continue to isolate themselves from the community in which they are embedded. The first of these trends has caused a previously untapped source of ideas to become energized into thinking about how to move toward a more sustainable world. The second trend has caused a previously “introspective-to-a-fault” institution to look beyond itself for ways of thinking and acting.
Practical implications – The intersection of the two trends is a powerful place, where new and successful approaches to managing the natural environment, albeit from what might be thought of as a non-traditional source, can be absorbed by an institution that has significant environmental impact and an even more significant responsibility to future generations.
Originality/value – Provides a focus on the huge opportunities for applying some of the environmental lessons learnt by business to higher education.
Warburton, K. (2003). Deep learning and education for sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 4(1): 44-56.
Deep learning is a key strategy by which students extract meaning and understanding from course materials and experiences. Because of the range and interconnectedness of environmental, social and economic issues, and the importance of interdisciplinary thinking and holistic insight, deep learning is particularly relevant in the context of education for sustainability. However, deep learning can be inhibited if the existing interests or backgrounds of students have a strong disciplinary focus. This paper reviews factors that influence deep learning and discusses some ways in which environmental educators can encourage students to use deep learning strategies. Such strategies are seen to be necessary to maximise the benefits from environmental courses and are likely to foster creative interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability beyond the institution.
Weakland, J. P., & Corcoran, P. B. (2009). The Earth Charter in higher education for sustainability. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 3(2): 151-158.
A central challenge of sustainable development is to provide material sufficiency for the human population while preserving the integrity of Earth’s biosphere. Current modes of economic production and consumption accomplish neither of these ethical imperatives. Institutions of higher education must show leadership in the transition to sustainable ways of life. The Earth Charter is a people’s declaration of ethical principles for securing a just, peaceful, humane and sustainable future. The document can serve as a valuable resource for tertiary educators. The Earth Charter provides an inclusive definition of sustainability, emphasising the interrelated concepts of ecological integrity; social and economic justice; and democracy, nonviolence and peace. It can help us resolve the tension between educating for sustainability while creating learning spaces for contestation and critical inquiry. The Earth Charter also valorises the principle of intergenerational equity, challenging us to create human livelihoods that secure the continued full flourishing of all life for generations to come.
Weber, S., Bookhart, D., & Newman, J. (2009). Research and Solutions: Institutionalizing campus-wide sustainability: A programmatic approach. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(3): 173-178.
Wemmenhove, R., & De Groot, W.T. (2001). Principles for university curriculum greening – An empirical case study from Tanzania. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(3): 267-283.
As part of their commitment to sustainable development, the “greening” of curricula is a major objective of universities world-wide. This paper describes the process of identifying principles for the (re)design of courses and programmes towards this aim within the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. These principles were elicited bottom-up, from staff’s and students’ own visions of the issues involved. In their most condensed form, the principles thus found are: environment for development; in interaction with Tanzanian society; and in a student-activating style. This contrasts with the usual conceptualisation of environment and development as normatively separate issues, with the trend to globalise the environmental issue, and with the top-down teaching style that still dominates most universities. Both the study’s methods and its findings may be relevant for many more universities in the developing world.
White, S.S. (2003). Sustainable campuses and campus planning: Experiences from a classroom case study at the University of Kansas. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 4(4): 344-356.
This article explores the possibilities of teaching environmental planning by focusing on the sustainability of the campus and the campus master planning process. It describes the development of an urban planning course centered on campus master planning and its environmental impacts at the University of Kansas. Drawing on existing knowledge of campus planning and campus ecology, the article presents a tentative framework for assessing issues that can affect the structure of a campus environmental planning class, discusses the structure of the University of Kansas course, and outlines the lessons and reflections that have emerged from that course.
Williams, J., & Donkers, S. (2009). Editorial: Living in a transformational period. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(6): 323-324.
Williams, P.M. (2008). University leadership for sustainability: an active dendritic framework for enabling connection and collaboration. PhD Dissertation, Environmental Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington.
In a world with increasing environmental and social problems, education is widely accepted as being critical for meeting current and predicted sustainable development issues. This thesis explores possible reasons for the relatively low levels of education-for-sustainability programmes in universities in Aotearoa New Zealand, compared to selected international universities with coherent inter-disciplinary sustainability programmes of learning.
The research involved qualitative in-depth interviews with two sub-sets of academic participants teaching in universities, twenty from selected international universities and ten from universities in Aotearoa New Zealand. A grounded theory methodology approach was chosen to analyse the extensive range of qualitative data. Analysis revealed generic essential themes underlying the experiences of the two sets of participants. Key themes included the importance of building connections between distributed sustainability leaders and the need for support from hierarchical university leadership for developing substantive sustainability learning initiatives.
A theoretical model is proposed: an active dendritic framework for university leadership for sustainability, for improving collaborative learning within and across disciplinary areas, and building capacity for university-wide learning, leading to establishing coherent sustainability initiatives.
Recommendations are offered for improving the uptake of education-for sustainability in universities in Aotearoa New Zealand, based on the research findings and the potential for using the dendritic framework for assisting connection and collaboration between transformational sustainability leaders within the university.
Wolfe, V.L. (2001). A survey of the environmental education of students in non-environmental majors at four-year institutions in the USA. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(4): 301-315.
Chief academic officers at four-year institutions in the USA were surveyed electronically to examine the extent to which these institutions provide for the environmental education of students in non-environmental majors, and to identify various approaches to increasing environmental literacy at the college level. Of the 496 responding institutions (representing a 42.3 percent response rate), 11.6 percent indicated that an “environmental literacy” course was required of all students, and 55.0 percent reported that such a course was available and countable toward the institution’s general education requirements. At least one “environmental” minor (e.g. Environmental Science, Environmental Studies) was offered at 33.7 percent of the institutions; 39 percent reported the existence of an “environmental” academic program that offered a course appropriate for non-majors. Discusses various approaches to achieving environmental literacy at the college level and statistical differences in survey responses among Carnegie classifications, from Research to Baccalaureate; between public and private institutions; and among geographical regions.
Wright, T. (2007). Higher education for sustainability: Developing a comprehensive research agenda. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 1(1): 101-106.
From 27 to 29 October 2005, 35 experts in higher education for sustainability (HES) representing 17 countries, gathered in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This consultation represents the first gathering of HES researchers in Canada, and brought Canadian and international researchers together to further intellectual understanding of HES research and to explore the development of research priorities for the future. The Delphi Technique was used at this workshop in order to aid in the development of a preliminary research strategy for HES research. The Delphi exercise was the primary focus of the workshop. This report summarises both the workshop information and results.
Wright, T. (2010). University presidents’ conceptualizations of sustainability in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 11(1): 61-73.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how a cohort of university presidents and vice-presidents in Canadian universities conceptualize sustainable development, sustainable universities, the role universities play in achieving a sustainable future, key issues facing the university, and the barriers to implementing sustainability initiatives on campus.
Design/methodology/approach – The research comprises in-depth interviews with university presidents (rectors) and vice-presidents from Talloires Declaration signatory universities in Canada. Interviews include both closed and open-ended questions and two checklists focused on sustainable development and sustainable universities. Interview transcripts are analyzed through the identification of respondent themes.
Findings – The majority of participants are well versed in the concept of sustainable development, but less familiar with the concept of a sustainable university. The majority are dedicated to having their university become more sustainable. The most significant constraints to moving toward sustainability reported are financial predicaments, lack of understanding and awareness of sustainability issues amongst the university population, and a resistance to change.
Originality/value – While higher education scholars have a reasonably common conceptualization of sustainable development and what constitutes a “sustainable university”, there are few studies to date that investigate the level of sustainability knowledge of the major stakeholders within the university, or that examine what stakeholders feel is the role of the university in creating a sustainable future. If the university is tasked with responsibilities for creating a sustainable future, it is essential that all university stakeholders have a common understanding of the term sustainable development. This paper attempts to make a contribution to this significant gap in the literature.
Wright, T.S.A. (2002). Definitions and frameworks for environmental sustainability in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 3(3): 203-220.
This paper reviews definitions and frameworks for sustainability in higher education by examining a set of major national and international declarations and institutional policies related to environmental sustainability in universities. It identifies emerging themes and priorities, and discusses how these declarations and policies are affecting various institutions in how they frame the central task of becoming sustainable and how they perceive their own commitment to sustainability.
Wright, T.S.A. (2007). Developing research priorities with a cohort of higher education for sustainability experts. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 8(1): 34-43.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the results of a Delphi exercise used at the Halifax Consultation in which 35 experts representing 17 countries gathered to develop research priorities for the emerging field of higher education for sustainability (HES).
Design/methodology/approach – The Delphi technique was used to elicit the opinions of a group of experts in order to achieve a consensus position on a research priority list through a series of questionnaires interspersed with controlled feedback.
Findings – The final stages of the Delphi exercise revealed 19 research theme areas that were ranked by the group to develop a final priority list.
Research limitations/implications – The results from each round of the Delphi give an interesting perspective on experts conceptualizations of what constitutes important research in the field. Further, the final results can be used to develop research programs and projects in the future.
Practical implications – Reflections on the use of the Delphi in developing research priorities can aid in the future use of this technique. Further, the results have been used as the foundation for further consultations with researchers and practitioners in this field in creating action plans for the United Nations decade of education for sustainable development.
Originality/value – The Halifax Consultation represents the first international meeting to focus on HES research. It is hoped that the results of the Delphi exercise conducted at the meeting will contribute to the tremendous work efforts to come and will prove to be an important component in the process of furthering the field of HES in the future.
Yanarella, E.J., Levine, R.S., & Dumreicher, H. (2000). The space of flows, the rules of play, and sustainable urban design: The sustainability game as a tool of critical pedagogy in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1(1): 48-66.
This paper seeks to explore the origins of these inchoate changes and shifts in perception and experience of urban dwelling places and electronic spaces by tracing out their implications for the agenda of sustainable cities. The paper first considers the movement from Netville, the cybercommunity generated among technical experts and scholars associated with the building of the Internet, to Cybercities, the various online communities emerging from ARPA’s seemingly anarchic communications network. It pays particular attention to the “rules of play” that governed the construction of the Internet and the kind of egalitarian community of competence that those rules engendered. The analysis explores the import of those “rules of play” for “Emerald City,” a sustainability game for designing sustainable cities. The last section then shifts from participatory design process as game to an ongoing design project – the Westbahnhof project. This project, demonstrates the relevance of both the “rules of play” and the sustainability game in building sustainable cities of the future in an open, democratic, and participatory fashion.
Yanarella, E.J., Levine, R.S., & Lancaster, R.W. (2009). Research and Solutions: “Green” vs. sustainability: From semantics to enlightenment. Sustainability: The Journal of Record 2(5): 296-302.
Yuan, L.L. (2001). Quality of life case studies for university teaching in sustainable development. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2(2): 127-138.
The teaching of subjects such as quality of life and sustainable development presents tremendous challenges because of the nebulous and multifaceted nature of the subject matter. An important advantage of the case-study approach to teaching is its capacity for understanding complexity in particular contexts. The purpose of this article is to examine quality of life and the use of its case studies for teaching and learning. It will discuss some issues on quality of life research and their difficulties in definition and evaluation, illustrated with actual case studies.