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An empirical assessment of administration and planning activity and their impact on the realization of sustainability-related initiatives and programs in higher education

Elizabeth Semeraro (College of Management, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA)
Neil M. Boyd (College of Management, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 6 November 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Administrators in higher-education settings routinely create planning documents that help steer the organization in mission-centric ways. In the area of sustainability planning, strategic plans, sustainability plans and climate action plans are the most common methods used. The purpose of this study is to evaluate if specific forms of planning predict sustainability outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

This question was evaluated via an empirical archival study of the AASHE STARS database in relation to planning, administration and governance credits and criteria to determine if specific forms of planning were predictive of sustainability implementation outcomes in the categories of Education and Research, Operations, Diversity and Affordability, Human Resources, Investment, Public Engagement and Innovation.

Findings

Findings support the notion that climate action plans were most predictive of achieving sustainability outcomes, and strategic plans were best able to predict educational outcomes.

Practical implications

These findings have important implications for the design and execution of sustainability planning processes in higher-education institutions.

Originality/value

The academic literature contains relatively few empirical studies that demonstrate the capacity of planning on the realization of sustainability outcomes.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by the Jamie Hendry Sustainability Studies Development Fund at Bucknell University.

Citation

Semeraro, E. and Boyd, N.M. (2017), "An empirical assessment of administration and planning activity and their impact on the realization of sustainability-related initiatives and programs in higher education", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 1311-1330. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-03-2016-0047

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited