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Reorienting higher education pedagogical and professional development curricula toward sustainability – a Romanian perspective

Daniela Elena Dumitru (Teacher Training Department, Academia de Studii Economice din Bucuresti, Bucuresti, Romania)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 4 September 2017




This paper tries to propose a pedagogical training program starting from the Romanian mandatory curriculum for higher education (HE) teachers, integrating education for sustainable development (ESD) competencies (UNECE, 2012) through infusion as a technique of curricular design dealing with cross-curricular subject integration. The purpose of this paper is to show how new ESD competencies can be implemented and integrated into the existent curricular formulations and how the current state of affairs can be improved and set toward sustainability.


A qualitative research design is utilized, using desk research, content analysis, case study and, as validation for the new curriculum, structured interviews with key experts. First, an assessment of the quality of the Romanian HE pedagogical training program will be presented based on teaching quality assessments from international rankings. Second, integration of ESD competencies into the existing pedagogical professional development program, through a curriculum design, will be proposed.


The present Romanian teacher training curriculum does not nurture ESD competencies, and it does not have this purpose at all. However, it can be affirmed that this curriculum is in accordance with the newest pedagogical theories. It will be shown (through curriculum design) that it is possible to infuse ESD competencies into the present curriculum without many costs. The present architecture of the teacher training system can be described as a good practice example concerning HE professional development or as an alternative that is worthy to be taken into consideration for other countries with similar educational systems or by countries/universities that believe that pedagogical training addressing ESD should be completed early in one’s teaching career.

Research limitations/implications

As a general rule, many generalizations cannot be made based on qualitative research. Case studies have their limitations: they provide in-depth research on particular situations, and only some of their findings can be extrapolated. All HE curricula represent a particular vision and are all perfectible and subject to debate. The author hopes to have provided sufficient cause for the proposed curriculum.

Practical implications

The new curriculum has clear and practical implications, providing the answer to the question “how can we make pedagogical training better?”. Infusing ESD into the present teacher training program constitutes a practical solution, which carries great social impact.


A new curricular architecture is proposed, a new perspective on the efficiency of pedagogical training, in general, is taken into account and, as a good practical example, the present research is a token of inspiration.



Dumitru, D.E. (2017), "Reorienting higher education pedagogical and professional development curricula toward sustainability – a Romanian perspective", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 894-907.



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