This paper aims to understand if a project work methodology proposed to students, based on an inquiry perspective and dealing with different dimensions of sustainable development, contributed to creating an interdisciplinary solution for a problem on sustainability challenged by food production and consumption, and also to understand if this methodological approach is perceived as important to their learning as professionals and citizens. Data were collected by direct observation, a questionnaire applied to the students and students’ individual reflections.
This paper aims to present the research results of the impact of a pedagogical approach on students, implemented as a part of the Doctoral Programme in Sustainability Science, which was designed following an innovative model at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. The main drivers include building a new body of interdisciplinary knowledge leading to the application of science to address real problems towards transdisciplinary education.
The results suggest great potential for an inquiry perspective in trying to solve a real problem. Students’ proposals were realistic, viable and complementary enough to collectively contribute in response to the global problem. The use of approaches acquired from different areas of knowledge was clear, and the project methodology was well understood. Students considered the experience very rewarding in terms of learning and contributing positively to their personal and professional development.
This Doctoral programme is anchored in a progressive continuum encompassing holistic debates with a multidisciplinary team of professors in environments that promote interdisciplinary attitudes and new knowledge, and also project work aimed at guiding students to transdisciplinary learning, which constitutes an innovative form of dealing with the complex challenges created by the science of sustainability.
This work was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia through funding to research units UID/AGR/04129/2020 (LEAF), UIDB/04107/2020 (UIDEF), UIDB/04295/2020 (ISAMB) and UIDB/04521/2020 (CSG/GHES). Authors would like to thank Editage (www.editage.com) for English language editing.
Galvão, C., Faria, C., Viegas, W., Branco, A. and Goulão, L. (2021), "Inquiry in higher education for sustainable development: crossing disciplinary knowledge boundaries", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 291-307. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-02-2020-0068
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