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Implementing the sustainable development goals at University level

Silvia Albareda-Tiana (Faculty of Education, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)
Salvador Vidal-Raméntol (Faculty of Education, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)
Mónica Fernández-Morilla (Faculty of Education, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 12 January 2018

Issue publication date: 23 February 2018

4169

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this case study is to explore the principles and practices of sustainable development (SD) in the university curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach

To explore the principles linked with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the learning and teaching practices in sustainability at the International University of Catalonia (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, UIC, in Catalan), an empirical study was carried out by using a mixed methodology for data collection. Indicators related to SDGs found in the University curriculum (quantitative analysis) were measured using Excel, combined with in-depth semi-structured interviews to the deans of different faculties (qualitative study), which were analysed using Atlas.ti.

Findings

Several visions, difficulties and challenges were identified in this mixed-method study around the concept of sustainability, which allowed the authors to describe and portray a specific starting position in relation to the SDGs at the UIC.

Research limitations/implications

The presence of dimensions linked to the SDGs in the University curriculum were analysed by means of a quantitative study. However, global competences related to education for sustainable development were not studied.

Practical implications

Special emphasis was given to the challenges and opportunities for training future graduates and the whole University community in SD.

Originality/value

This paper shows a methodological exploration of the principles related to the SDGs and the learning and teaching practices in sustainability in higher education.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research project, performed by the SGR SIRSU (Sostenibilitat i Responsabilitat Social Universitària) research group, was possible thanks to grants received for novice UIC researchers for academic years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. The grant reference is VR-PRIN-12034. The project awarded by this support is called Anàlisi de la implementació de la sostenibilitat i la responsabilitat social universitària en els graus de la UIC. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the ESD research group from the Universitat de València, whose principal researcher is Dr Pilar Aznar, for having facilitated the methodology to explore ESD in University degrees. The research conducted by the authors’ colleagues from the Universitat de València served as a valuable reference for this research.

Citation

Albareda-Tiana, S., Vidal-Raméntol, S. and Fernández-Morilla, M. (2018), "Implementing the sustainable development goals at University level", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 473-497. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-05-2017-0069

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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