Integrating Sustainable Development into the Curriculum: Volume 18

Cover of Integrating Sustainable Development into the Curriculum
Subject:

Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xii
Content available

Part I: In Practice

Abstract

In this ever changing world, managing our ecosystem and creating a sustainable future seems to be one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. This challenge is further enhanced by ignorance or apathy of people toward the concept of sustainability. In most cases, students who are our future generation are left without any insight, commitment or even understanding their role and responsibility toward creating any meaningful beliefs and actions related to sustainability. Sustainability education is becoming crucial, mainly for young generation so that they have an understanding of concepts such as economic prosperity, resource equity, energy uses, and environmental health and concerns. While educating them on sustainability begins in institutions of education, it is important that sustainability education is well entrenched in the curriculum and everyday practice of their lives. This chapter introduces the volume series on sustainability where authors from different parts of the world narrate their own experience of imbibing sustainability into their curriculum and teaching sustainability to students.

Abstract

This chapter will set the scene for the need of sustainable development in the healthcare curriculum by discussing the contemporary context of healthcare provision and its associated challenges. This is specifically in the context of wicked or complex problems. An exploration of what gives rise to such problems is used to lead into integrated care as a proposed solution and its associated drivers. This is considered in relation to sustainability and curriculum development with a focus on two examples: the creation of a post-graduate curriculum to teach sustainable integrated care to clinical staff and a new pedagogical approach called socially immersive learning. Through this the challenges of barriers and enablers to integrated care will be considered and the extent to which a global mind-set transition might occur among participants to align sustainable development goals.

Abstract

Sustainable development is generally a difficult concept to explore in an educational setting. Those attempting to teach it require the inter- and transdisciplinary skills to be able to foster in the students not only the knowledge assimilation but also the deep acquisition of values (Faham, Rezvanfar, Mohammadi, & Nohooji, 2017; Lambrechts, Mulà, Ceulemans, Molderez, & Gaeremynck, 2013). Sustainable education is embedded in the curriculum of Food Technology students throughout their four-year degree at Harper Adams University. In this chapter, a brief description of how the curricula are organized is presented. Emphasis is given to one module in the final year of the degree where the content and pedagogical practice as well as the pedagogic nature of the learning environment is analyzed in the light of the literature. The teaching and learning practices developed, and the extent to which they equip the students with skills such as critical thinking, analysis, reflection, and complex problem solving is explored. Two case studies are presented, namely the Loess Plateau (China) and the Chiapas Coffee Farmers (Mexico). These serve to contextualize the extent that students can draw from teaching and learning strategies in the module as well as other experiences (personal or from other modules) and use these to frame the students’ learning.

Abstract

This chapter compares the approaches used in two different disciplines – economics and sociology – to highlight innovative teaching strategies (like the flipped classroom) that are employed to engage students, different ways of integrating sustainability into the curriculum and linking taught units to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as well as how students confront these issues. The case study courses are delivered at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados and the two courses are “Caribbean Social Problems” and “Economic Planning.” This chapter demonstrates the necessity of integrating sustainability and the SDGs into course delivery to ensure that the future development of the Caribbean does not compromise future generations.

Abstract

This chapter presents a case study on integrating sustainable development (SD) into the Industrial Design Bachelor’s course at Tecnologico de Monterrey (TEC) in Mexico. The research is being conducted at TEC, where the lead author is a Professor of Architecture. Mexico has a five-year national development plan: the “Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2013–2018” (PND). This provides a basis for guiding the policies and programs of the Government of Mexico. The focus of this study is on the PND’s “quality education goal to make scientific, technological, and innovation development pillars for sustainable economic and social progress.” This case study investigates a curriculum intervention, utilizing interviews with students to gather and analyze their responses to the university’s development of sustainability competencies. Their responses are explored through comparing a traditional semester with a semester in which sustainability contents and assessment criteria were added to the curriculum of the Industrial Design Workshop courses. The results reveal that the students recognized a significant advance in their development of sustainability competencies and that this had resulted from this curriculum intervention. This chapter proposes that the findings of the study indicate that a holistic approach has the potential to contribute significantly to SD education in Mexico.

Part II: Innovative Approaches

Abstract

There is a growing need to train and support educators to introduce or enhance aspects of sustainability into post-secondary curriculum. The authors provide an overview of integration of curricular sustainability development and education as well as related institutional leadership at the post-secondary level. Turning to educational development for sustainability education, the authors share tools and resources to support educators from any discipline, to introduce, integrate, and/or enhance sustainability in their course, program, or initiative. The authors found very few examples of workshops to post-secondary teachers. For one such example, the Sustainability Education Intensive, a three-day workshop that the authors designed and led at the University of British Columbia. The authors summarize the workshop aspects that two years of participants found helpful, and how workshop involvement affected them as sustainability educators. The authors encourage post-secondary institutions to provide support in the form of workshops, resources, and funding to help educators introduce or enhance aspects of sustainability into their courses and programs. Students are asking for this, and, as they are future leaders, it is important that educators address the numerous environmental, social and economic issues that demand attention.

Abstract

In this chapter the authors describe the development of an interdisciplinary graduate program focusing on sustainable urban development at Chicago’s DePaul University. Locating the curriculum both in the administrative institutional context and the historical geography of a racially and economically segregated urban area, the authors discuss the process of program formation and adjustment over its first five years of operation, 2013–2018. The chapter highlights some of the challenges encountered by program faculty, from internal curricular competition to external classification of the program under federal educational designation, and notes some of the interdisciplinary innovations, such as requiring courses in Geographic Information Systems to aid spatial data analysis and visualizations. In the second part of the chapter, to assess the impact of the graduate program on students, the authors review and draw from reflection essays written by students who, while completing their studies, pursued internships with nonprofit organizations in Chicago. The chapter concludes by discussing the employment status of recent alumni to suggest how these former students are pursuing jobs that may come to impact sustainability policy and practice. The authors maintain it is necessary to push the understanding of “sustainability” beyond solely environmental concerns to incorporate understandings of how economic development and community engagement must be included to deliver a sustainable city. The interdisciplinary curriculum described challenges students to become leaders in local efforts to make urban areas not only more environmentally sustainable, but also more economically and socially sustainable for all residents.

Abstract

Since 2016, the authors have been teaching an interdisciplinary module on the global clothing industry to students enrolled in an introductory psychology course and a second year chemistry course at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. In 2016, the module also involved third year chemistry students, and in 2017, second year sociology students and graduate students in English literature from the University of Stuttgart in Germany took part. The module has the following features: (1) it focuses on a complex industry with ramifications for social and environmental sustainability, (2) it involves an issue of direct relevance to the students, (3) students teach those from another discipline as “subject experts,” and (4) students are assessed on their learning within their home course. An evaluation of the 2018 iteration with psychology and chemistry students (N = 185) showed post-test decreases in participants’ materialistic values, increases in knowledge and concern about the social and environmental impacts of the clothing industry and reported changes to clothes buying practices. The authors discuss the institutional barriers faced and provide five recommendations for other university teachers considering integrating an interdisciplinary sustainability module into existing courses.

Abstract

In January 2016, Georgia Tech launched a campus-wide academic initiative (“Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain”) aimed at preparing undergraduate students in all majors to use their disciplinary knowledge and skills to contribute to the major societal challenge of creating sustainable communities. The initiative calls for faculty members from all six Georgia Tech colleges to develop courses and co-curricular opportunities that will help students learn about sustainability and community engagement and hone their skills by engaging in real-world projects with nonprofit, community, government, and business partners. Affiliated courses address various aspects of the Center’s sustainable communities framework, which presents sustainability as an integrated system connecting environment, economy, and society. This chapter reports on one engineering instructor’s ongoing efforts that bring sustainability into the engineering classroom through sociotechnical project-based learning. This cornerstone design course is one of more than 100 Center-affiliated courses currently offered; the full set of Center-affiliated courses enrolls over 5,000 students per year across all six colleges. The sustainability activities introduced in the freshman design course pertain particularly to the Center’s vision that all graduates of the institute, a majority of whom will graduate with engineering degrees, are able to contribute to the creation of sustainable communities and to understand the impact of their professional practice on the communities in which they work. A situated knowledge and learning pedagogical theory is used in the Center-affiliated course, where concept, activity, and context are involved in student learning to produce useable robust knowledge. The sociotechnical project-based teaching model with contextualized design problems is used to engage students throughout the course by utilizing computer-aided-design problems that incorporate sustainability within both individual and team projects. In this chapter, the authors present the pedagogical approaches to learning, strategies, and challenges for implementation and assessment of intervention activities, and data analyses of both student reflection data and pre- and post-survey data.

Abstract

There is an increasing interest in integrating sustainable development into higher education curricula to increase young graduates’ agency in addressing sustainable development goals (SDGs). Education for sustainable development (ESD) involves raising awareness of opportunities to create local solutions, a willingness or desire to construct those solutions, and the organizational skills to implement these solutions in context. As these courses are integrated into academic curricula, students must learn practical-ends driven skills in ways compatible with existing academic standards frameworks oriented toward theoretical understanding. These can lead to very different pedagogical orientations (theoretical and practical), one reason that could explain the relatively limited uptake of ESD within higher education to date. The authors develop a model by which a single educational experience could help to bridge between these two orientations. The authors use a single study of an example of student volunteer projects where students spend 2–4 months working on a knowledge transfer project to the global south, oriented toward solving the SDGs. The authors reflect on tensions, problems, and solutions in producing graduates oriented to tackling urgent contemporary societal issues, while gaining valuable personal development experience.

Name Index

Pages 175-180
Content available

Subject Index

Pages 181-183
Content available
Cover of Integrating Sustainable Development into the Curriculum
DOI
10.1108/S2055-3641202018
Publication date
2020-03-18
Book series
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78769-942-7
eISBN
978-1-78769-941-0
Book series ISSN
2055-3641