The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which universities’ strategic plans affect the level of incorporation of sustainability within the curriculum design and property portfolio.
This research adopted a case study approach. The case study institution was Deakin University in Australia. This paper used a qualitative research method. Desk-top study included the review of the University’s Strategic Plan, policy agenda on sustainability and the documents on sustainability courses and units. Semi-structured interviews were held with academics who have course development and management responsibility within the university, colleagues who have a sustainability-focused role on estate management and colleagues whose roles are to manage sustainability initiatives at the institution level. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. Content analysis was used to analyse the interview data.
Despite the University having clear strategic aims and initiatives on the incorporation of sustainability within the curriculum design and property portfolio, there is disconnection between policy development and policy implementation. As a result, the incorporation of sustainability varies largely between curricula within the institution. The incorporation of sustainability within the property portfolio is clear and effective. However, within the curriculum, it is polarised. The level of incorporation depends on the nature of the course or unit and is largely driven by the initiatives of the individual academic. Good practice identified in the incorporation of sustainability within the curriculum is to use a problem-based approach supported by real life projects to enhance the students’ authentic learning experience. A good practice for successfully incorporating sustainability into the property portfolio is to have clear vision of what it has planned to achieve and to ensure that there is a balance between sustainability and value for money.
This is pioneering research to investigate the incorporation of sustainability into higher education in a more comprehensive way. This paper considered the impact of strategic planning on the incorporation of sustainability within a higher education, on both curriculum design and property portfolio management.
Poon, J. (2017), "Engaging sustainability good practice within the curriculum design and property portfolio in the Australian higher education sector", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 146-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-09-2015-0149Download as .RIS
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