The purpose of this paper is to illustrate that values-focused assessment can provide a useful lens for integrating sustainability and institutional performance assessment in universities.
This study applies a values elicitation methodology for indicator development, through thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews and a stakeholder workshop, in a pilot project at BOKU University, Vienna.
This case highlights that many of the values held by university staff and students are pro-sustainability values. Starting from these values may be a useful way of engaging university stakeholders in sustainability dialogues. The paper illustrates how values-based indicators can be integrated into university performance assessments, providing a novel way of thinking about sustainability assessment in universities.
The exploratory pilot was carried out in a university with a focus on natural sciences. Further research could replicate and compare the results of this paper in other institutions.
Creating a shared understanding of pro-sustainability values can help individuals to reconceptualise sustainability in relation to their own work and motivations. In doing so, it can highlight the inherent synergies between sustainability assessment and institutional performance assessment in the higher education sector, which are usually seen as separate domains.
The authors would like to thank the StartClim 2012 project donors (Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management; Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research; Regional government from Upper Austria and Austrian Federal Forests) for their financial support. The authors are also grateful to Prof Marie Harder for her contributions to the initial development of the project and providing ongoing support.
Ribeiro, M.M., Hoover, E., Burford, G., Buchebner, J. and Lindenthal, T. (2016), "Values as a bridge between sustainability and institutional assessment: A case study from BOKU University", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 40-53. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-12-2014-0170Download as .RIS
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