Professional development for education for sustainability

Sarah Holdsworth (School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Carina Wyborn (School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Sarah Bekessy (School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Ian Thomas (School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 11 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to report research undertaken to assess the extent to which Australian universities were engaged in professional development (PD) activities focusing on the development of education for sustainability for their academics.

Design/methodology/approach

This web‐based survey seeks to identify the existence of PD programs and teaching induction programs within universities, or where programs in tertiary teaching that included any sustainability education content were offered.

Findings

While the vast majority of universities had information about PD available, only one offers a PD course designed to introduce academics to sustainability and teaching sustainability. This is despite the high number of Australian universities that have signed sustainability education declarations, which include commitments to achieving sustainability literacy in staff and students.

Research limitations/implications

The survey focused only on information contained on web sites, and information that would not have been identified by this methodology such as informal programs, forums and workshops, and anything on secure staff “intranet” sites.

Practical implications

This research indicates that in Australia there is only very limited PD activity, which provides one explanation for the limited extent to which education for sustainability is evident in universities.

Originality/value

There is little information about PD activity in universities generally, and especially in Australia. This research provides a starting‐point investigation into activity that may have been missed by the research. More importantly, it provides a base for the exploration of PD programs that will be the most effective and efficient in facilitating education for sustainability.

Keywords

Citation

Holdsworth, S., Wyborn, C., Bekessy, S. and Thomas, I. (2008), "Professional development for education for sustainability", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 131-146. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370810856288

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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