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Integrating sustainability in higher education: a generic matrix

Cathy A. Rusinko (School of Business Administration, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 13 July 2010




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.


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.


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.


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.



Rusinko, C.A. (2010), "Integrating sustainability in higher education: a generic matrix", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 250-259.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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