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Current themes and future directions of the sustainable development goals in higher education

Fu-Ling Chung (Department of Learning Technologies, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Hsin-Hsuan Chung (Department of Information Science, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Shu-Min Lin (Department of Education and Futures Design, Tamkang University, New Taipei City, Taiwan)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 30 April 2024

113

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to help scholars comprehend the major research themes on sustainable development goals (SDGs) in higher education which researchers from various fields have explored and to propose several potential future research directions of the least researched SDG in higher education to support scholars in making up the gap in the field.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted a bibliometric analysis method to review the extant literature from the Web of Science on SDGs in higher education from 2015 to 2023 and took a closer examination of the most researched SDGs discussed by scholars. This study specifically concentrated on studies that explicitly mentioned the term “Sustainable Development Goal” (or “SDG”) and applied VOSviewer to cluster common keywords of the most researched SDGs and explored related themes. Also, this study provided several potential future research directions of least researched SDG in higher education.

Findings

SDGs 3 and 4 were the most researched, and SDG 15 was the least researched. The three major themes of SDG 3 were Adult Issues of Sustainability, South Africa Issues of Sustainability, and Relationship between SDG 3 and SDG 4. The three major themes of SDG 4 were the Role of Universities in Sustainability, Sustainability during Covid-19, and Challenges of Implementation.

Originality/value

This study provided several potential future research directions of the least researched SDG in higher education to support scholars to make up the gap in the field. Also, this study pointed out some pedagogical strategies and competencies needed to aid higher education institutions in achieving the 17 SDGs.

Keywords

Citation

Chung, F.-L., Chung, H.-H. and Lin, S.-M. (2024), "Current themes and future directions of the sustainable development goals in higher education", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-07-2023-0308

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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