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Promoting sustainability values within career‐oriented degree programmes: A case study analysis

Paul E. Murray (School of Engineering, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK)
Sheran A. Murray (School of Engineering, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 17 July 2007

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse an initiative to provide learners on “career‐based” programmes with opportunities to reflect upon their values within the context of sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

An international literature review relating values and behaviour to the sustainability agenda led to the development of “sustainability training” workshop activities for construction students at the University of Plymouth. The activities, drawing on good practice from a range of education for sustainability initiatives and the behavioral discipline Neuro Linguistic Programming, enable participants to elicit and reflect upon their core values and to relate these to key sustainability issues. Following multiple pilots the workshops were offered as voluntary field trials to students, their effectiveness being measured through structured feedback.

Findings

The feedback returns demonstrate the popularity of the enquiry‐based learning techniques utilized and the effectiveness of the individual activities in achieving their aims. Constructive criticism centred on the need to simplify some of the activity instructions.

Practical implications

This research shows that open‐ended enquiry‐based learning techniques are useful for promoting sustainability values within educational programmes. As the activities described here are not discipline‐specific, they have potential to be adapted for similar disciplines at other institutions and for use with other career‐based disciplines.

Originality/value

Much is written about the need to embed sustainability values in the curriculum. This paper describes a method of fulfilling this need and may be of significant value to those attempting to embed sustainability within educational programmes.

Keywords

Citation

Murray, P.E. and Murray, S.A. (2007), "Promoting sustainability values within career‐oriented degree programmes: A case study analysis", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 285-300. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370710817156

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited