Sustainable Development in Higher Education

This lesson will provide an understanding of the university’s role in sustainability issues.

Main topics

• The benefits of integrating sustainable development in education
• The role of educators in promoting sustainable development
• Sustainability competencies for students
• Relationship between Sustainability competencies and pedagogical approaches

Learning Objectives

•Understand the benefits of integrating sustainable development in
education, including its potential to foster critical thinking, global
citizenship, and environmental consciousness.
• Examine the role of educators in promoting sustainable development and
their responsibility in shaping sustainable mindsets and behaviours
among students.
• Identify and describe key sustainability competencies students should
possess, such as systems thinking, ethical awareness, and
interdisciplinary problem-solving.
• Analyze the relationship between sustainability competencies and
different pedagogical approaches
• Explore strategies for incorporating sustainability competencies into
curriculum design and instructional practices across various disciplines.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of different assessment methods in measuring
students' sustainability competencies and progress.
• Engage in collaborative discussions and activities to develop innovative
teaching and learning strategies that promote sustainability
competencies.

Goal

• To provide understanding of university’s role in sustainability issues:
• (1) how HE works within area of SD, both as an institution and as a place for education about it;
• (2) how HE might improve competences of students, what competences and what pedagogical approaches are suitable in SD area?

Outline: Part 1

  1. HE within SD:

a. Is my university sustainable and to whatlevel? Self-reflection questionnaire. 1 hourindividual work + 20min discussion or forumreading.

b. HE role in SD. Slides and readings of policydocuments. 20min f2f presentation, 30 minindividual work.

c. Implementing SD in HE institutions, currentsituation. Research paper. 1,5 hour of individualwork.

Outline: Part 2

  1. Teaching SD:

a. Sustainability competences and pedagogical approaches in teaching. Research paper and slides. 1,5 hour individual work.

b. How much SD competences and pedagogical approaches are implemented into my own practice? Evaluation questionnaire. 30 min. individual work + 20 min discussion or forum reading.

c. Possible implementations in the future, for their own courses or for courses of colleagues.Visionary canvas. 1 hour individual work + 20 min discussion or forum reading.

Activity 1. a.

Is my university sustainable and to what level?

Reflection questionnaire

Task 1. a. Please fill in provided questionnaire “How well is SD implemented
within your own university?” about your experience and knowledge of SD
implementation in your own institution.

Discussion or forum 1

Everyone share some insights about your institution and your knowledge:
• Is there much involvement, or might it be better? For you or your
university?
• What good examples do you see in your own experience?
• What would you like to improve?

Discussion or forum 2

After sharing / reading of the forum:
• How do you see yourself and your university in comparison with others?
• What are your shortcomings? What are your benefits?
• What would you like to collaborate on with others?
• What is the situation in general?

Activity 1. b.

Higher Education’s Role in Sustainable Development

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote
lifelong learning opportunities for all

HEIs assist SDGs:


• Sustainability research
• Teaching sustainability
• Lifelong learning
• Creation of regenerative
societies, civic stance
• Campus operations

Leal Filho, W., Salvia, A. L., & Eustachio, J. H. P. P. (2023). An overview of the engagement of higher education institutions in
the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Journal of Cleaner Production, 386, 135694.
Click here for the website

Annual SDG Accord Report 2022 - Progress towards the Global Goals in the University and College
sector. p. 10.
Click here for the website

Associations, networks, organisations

Areas of implementation, e.g. GreenMetric.

UI Green Metric.
Based on Annual SDG Accord Report 2022 - Progress towards the Global Goals in the University and
College sector. p. 13.
Click here for the website

Signatory Case Study 01

Signatory Case Study 02

Signatory Case Study 03

Signatory Case Study 04

Activity 2.a.

Sustainability competences and pedagogical approaches in teaching

Research paper

Task 2. a. Please read before continuing:
Lozano, R., Merrill, M., Sammalisto, K., Ceulemans, K., & Lozano, F. (2017).
Connecting Competences and Pedagogical Approaches for Sustainable
Development in Higher Education: A Literature Review and Framework
Proposal. Sustainability, 9(10), 1889. MDPI AG. Retrieved from
this website

Sustainability competences

• Systems thinking → Analysis of complex systems across different scales and domains
• Interdisciplinary work → Appreciation, evaluation, contextualization, and use of knowledge and methods of
different disciplines
• Anticipatory thinking → Envisioning, analysis, and evaluation of possible futures, including scenarios
timescales
• Justice, responsibility, and ethics → Application of concepts of ethics, justice, social and ecological integrity,
and equity
• Critical thinking and analysis → Ability to challenge norms, practices, and opinions
• Interpersonal relations and collaboration → Participatory and collaborative approaches to solving problems
• Empathy and change of perspective → Ability to identify own and external perspectives
• Communication and use of media → Ability to communicate effectively in intercultural contexts
• Strategic action → Ability to design and implement interventions, transitions, and transformations for
sustainability
• Personal involvement → Participation in creating sustainability initiatives
• Assessment and evaluation → Develop assessment and evaluation standards and guidelines
• Tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty → Coping with conflicts, competing goals and interests

Lozano et al. 2017

Activity 2.b.

How much SD competences and pedagogical approaches are implemented into my own practice?

Evaluation questionnaire

Task 2. b. Please fill in provided questionnaire “Teaching practice and
sustainability” about your teaching experience while implementing SD.

Discussion or forum 1

Everyone share your insights:
• More or less covered are SD competences and pedagogical approaches in
your courses?
• What examples do you have of applications of those pedagogical
approaches?
• What knowledge do you lack?

* This discussion may be organised after the next activity with the change canvas, together with the
discussion about it.

Discussion or forum 2

After sharing / reading of the forum:
• How do you see your teaching in comparison with others?
• What are your shortcomings? What are your benefits?
• What would you like to collaborate on with others? What advice you may
offer or would like to get?
• What do you think about Lozano et al. proposed scheme? Do you like it?
To what extent is it applicable? What critical evaluations do you see?

* This discussion may be organised after the next activity with the change canvas, together with the
discussion about it.

Activity 2.c.

Possible implementations in the future

The change canvas for improvements of a course

Task 2. c. Please see the form of the change canvas (1), the form of the
change canvas with task flow (2) and read instructions for the use of the
change canvas (3). After reading, please fill the change canvas in the most
convenient way (short notes in the canvas itself, longer notes in the bigger
format of the canvas, answering questions in a separate document).

Discussion or forum 1

Share your decisions (each participant, live or in a forum)
• What have you decided to improve and how are you going to do it?
• Why is it important for you?

Discussion or forum 2

After sharing / reading of the forum:
• What additional insights do you have about your vision?
• What help or advice you may offer for others?
• What help or advice do you need from others?

Further reading

References

< READ > Leal Filho, W., Shiel, C., Paço, A., Mifsud, M., Ávila, L. V., Brandli,L. L., Molthan-Hill, P., Pace, P., Azeiteiro, U. M., Vargas, V. R., &Caeiro, S. (2019). Sustainable Development Goals andsustainability teaching at universities: Falling behind or gettingahead of the pack? Journal of Cleaner Production, 232, 285-294.

< READ > Leal Filho, W., Salvia, A. L., & Eustachio, J. H. P. P. (2023). Anoverview of the engagement of higher education institutions in theimplementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Journal ofCleaner Production, 386, 135694.

< READ > Summary - HESI 2019

< READ > Annual SDG Accord Report 2022 - Progress towards the GlobalGoals in the University and College sector

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