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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Ingrid Mulà, Daniella Tilbury, Alexandra Ryan, Marlene Mader, Jana Dlouhá, Clemens Mader, Javier Benayas, Jirí Dlouhý and David Alba

The world is shaped by an education system that reinforces unsustainable thinking and practice. Efforts to transform our societies must thus prioritise the education of…

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2594

Abstract

Purpose

The world is shaped by an education system that reinforces unsustainable thinking and practice. Efforts to transform our societies must thus prioritise the education of educators – building their understanding of sustainability and their ability to transform curriculum and wider learning opportunities. The purpose of this paper is to focus on university educators and critically review the professional development and policy landscape challenges that influence their effective engagement with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The paper is informed by a pan-European collaboration involving 33 countries that identified emerging scholarship and practice in this area and assessed the lessons learned from ESD professional development initiatives. It sets the context for a special issue titled “Professional Development in Higher Education for Sustainable Development” that draws together a collection of articles focusing on professional development of university educators across the world.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides a critical review of existing practice, international policy frameworks and literature relating to ESD, professional development and higher education. It examines innovative initiatives worldwide that seek to improve the capability of educators in higher education to integrate ESD into academic practice at individual, disciplinary and institutional levels. A rigorous process of selection was applied and overseen by an international expert group. This ensured that the initiatives sought educational change in ESD, and not simply the embedding of content about sustainability into learning opportunities. It also assured that the initiatives had a clear and intentional professional learning process to underpin the engagement of participants with ESD.

Findings

ESD has grown in visibility and status worldwide, with a clear increase in activity in higher education. The sector is viewed as a significant force for change in societies, through the education provision it offers to future professionals and leaders in all sectors. However, universities currently lack capacity to integrate ESD effectively into mainstream teaching practices and the training they provide for academic staff or to integrate ESD into their institutional teaching and learning priorities. Many ESD activities remain focused on teaching issues arising in sustainable development research and delivering specialist modules or courses in sustainability. Very few countries and institutions have significant staff development programmes to enhance the ESD competences of university educators and build their academic leadership capabilities for ESD. The contributions to this special issue show the need for greater understanding of the multi-level task of integrating ESD into professional development activities, not just for individual impact in the classroom but to advance institutional change and decisively influence the teaching and learning discourse of higher education.

Originality/value

There are few research studies and documented activities on ESD professional development in higher education available in the literature. This paper attempts to explore what ESD professional development involves and describes its complexity within the higher education sector. The special issue provides a collection of innovative research and practical initiatives that can help those involved in education and learning to develop ESD as a priority for future university innovative pathways.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2010

Alexandra Ryan, Daniella Tilbury, Peter Blaze Corcoran, Osamu Abe and Ko Nomura

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439

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Daniella Tilbury and Alexandra Ryan

The present preoccupations of businesses and business educators include the increasing global debt, rising unemployment and expanding carbon footprints, and the societal…

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1948

Abstract

Purpose

The present preoccupations of businesses and business educators include the increasing global debt, rising unemployment and expanding carbon footprints, and the societal and governmental pressures to minimise the impact of these challenges. Meanwhile, the urge towards technical fixes and problem solving is shaping the way that business is done today and constraining business practices for tomorrow. The repercussions for business education are serious and systemic, as these responses neglect the need to critically question, innovate and rethink business futures, through our educational processes. The purpose of this paper is to provide context and orientation to this special issue collection which showcases current thinking and practice in higher education aimed at addressing this predicament and finding new responses.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper offers a critical review of developments geared towards more sustainable and responsible forms of business education and practice. It takes an inclusive view of “sustainability” that embraces issues such as poverty and inequality, environmental degradation, human rights and access to resources. The concept reaches beyond the practice of “corporate social responsibility” to take into account the complex challenge of reorienting business practice to improve development processes and life chances worldwide, in the context of the inevitable limits to planetary resources.

Findings

The paper considers the influences of international movements in ushering in a vision of learning for sustainability in business education. It discusses challenges that have come to light through recent initiatives and in literature on curriculum innovation in this area. The paper calls for a re‐envisioning of business practice, education and learning which goes beyond remedies for current symptoms of unsustainable development and unmasks the need to reconnect business with people and planet.

Originality/value

This paper foregrounds lessons learned from several areas of thought and practice that have bearing on the communities of practice for business education. It frames and situates the contributions presented in this collection, exploring upcoming agendas in this critically important field.

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Sharon Turnbull

Leadership theories that inform business education have largely been rooted in Western conceptions of leadership. The purpose of this paper is to report on research that…

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1322

Abstract

Purpose

Leadership theories that inform business education have largely been rooted in Western conceptions of leadership. The purpose of this paper is to report on research that seeks to uncover and reflect on how leadership wisdoms originating beyond the Western world can support the radical transformation of global business education toward a more responsible and sustainable template. It argues that indigenous and Eastern ideologies will be needed if we are to change educational mindsets and challenge the obsolete model of Western business school education.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 45 in‐depth interviews with leaders from indigenous and non‐Western cultures were conducted in order to gain deep insights into how their leadership identities, values and behaviours have been shaped by their societies and the oral wisdoms in their cultures. The author also draws on interviews and observations of 26 executives participating in a class of the International Masters Programme in Practicing Management. The findings from each study were combined to propose how these might challenge and inform a future business school curricula that challenge its orthodoxy of “shareholder value above all else”.

Findings

The research identified a number of embedded leadership wisdoms currently overlooked in the current model of business education. Based within a deep‐rooted ethic of responsibility, conviction, stewardship and sustainability and reflecting a cosmopolitan mindset, the critical knowledge and values embedded in indigenous communities, transmitted orally across many generations, provides a challenge to Western business schools to embed the knowledge found within those societies and communities toward a more sustainable response to the crisis of our planet. Responsibility, humanity, benevolence, trusteeship, contribution, honesty and conviction are some of the core “wisdoms” uncovered in the research that can inform and frame a radical rethink of the norms of business school curricula.

Originality/value

The current model of business education preserves the status quo of twenty‐first century capitalism. As globalisation advances, leaders appear to be powerless to act against a dominant ideology that reveres shareholder value above all else. The research builds on De Woot's critique of the shareholder value paradigm to suggest that a new form of business education based on leadership wisdoms in indigenous and oral cultures, and ancient texts has much to contribute to radical mindset change in business education.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Simon Robinson and Paul Dowson

The purpose of this paper is to examine the meaning of responsibility and how it might be integrated into the business school and university curriculum.

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664

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the meaning of responsibility and how it might be integrated into the business school and university curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses responsibility in terms of interactive modes, involving imputability (critical agency connecting culture and meaning, through reflection on purpose, values and practice), accountability (involving capacity to give an account and to handle plural accountability), and moral liability (involving responsibility for people, environment and practice, requiring shared and negotiated responsibility). This is related to employability and integrity, and then to practice in the curriculum.

Findings

The paper argues that the theory and practice of responsibility is able to integrate cognate concepts, different disciplines, different skills and dispositions and plural roles. The paper then argues that responsibility is most effectively engaged through a pedagogy of reflective practice and critical conversation, focused in personal, professional, civil, corporate and global responsibility, and provides a practical example.

Originality/value

The paper is original in the breadth of its view of responsibility, the stress on responsibility as focused in plurality and identity, and in the attempt to develop an integrated approach to teaching that focuses on responsibility.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2010

Alexandra Ryan, Daniella Tilbury, Peter Blaze Corcoran, Osamu Abe and Ko Nomura

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the contributions of the Asia‐Pacific region to leading practice in sustainability in higher education (HE), as…

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4035

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the contributions of the Asia‐Pacific region to leading practice in sustainability in higher education (HE), as prelude and orientation to this special issue collection from different countries and regions.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a critical review that includes international and regional policy contexts in sustainability and “education for sustainable development” (ESD), whilst exploring the trajectories of key initiatives across the region and considering the broader context of sustainability innovation within the HE sector.

Findings

The Asia‐Pacific region offers many creative initiatives and shows considerable progress in ESD and in understanding the learning dimensions of sustainability. At the same time, it mirrors global trends in that further work is needed to promote systemic change in educational arenas, particularly in terms of strategic integration within HE institutions. The Asia‐Pacific contributions to this collection demonstrate the need to harness national policy, to develop local and regional initiatives and to work effectively towards more profound change in HE curricula and through collaboration with external communities and stakeholders.

Originality/value

This is a distinctive collection of new initiatives from the Asia‐Pacific, which compensates for the comparative lack of dissemination in this area. There is considerable sustainability innovation emerging in this region which shows leading‐edge responses from within the HE sector on a number of key challenges and issues.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Jose M. Alcaraz, Magdalena Wiktoria Marcinkowska and Eappen Thiruvattal

With more than 332 signatories, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) is probably the most solid initiative to inspire and champion…

Abstract

Purpose

With more than 332 signatories, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) is probably the most solid initiative to inspire and champion responsible business education globally. The purpose of this paper is to examine the activities undertaken by the first intake of signatories – universities and business schools – with regard to each of the six principles (offering a systematic analysis and “distilled” categorization of those initiatives). It also aims to evaluate the difficulties and tensions that may be entailed in integrating PRME in both the strategic intent and daily operations of educational institutions, and how to overcome some of these. Finally, it aims to offer a critical reflection on the “non‐compliance and non regulatory/measurement” nature of PRME (the initiative assumes that signatories act on the basis of principled pragmatism), offering suggestions for improving the reporting mechanism on which the whole initiative is based.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyze the first 100 “Sharing Information on Progress” (SIP) reports uploaded to the PRME web site. These reports are the main mechanism established by the PRME Secretariat to build learning and accountability and allow signatories to communicate their progress. Elements from grounded theory and other qualitative analytical approaches were used to allow themes to emerge from within the (often messy and irregular) data from the reports. Graphical representations are also used.

Findings

Activities undertaken by PRME signatories are portrayed for each of the six principles: principle 1 on purpose (capabilities of students); principle 2 on values (incorporated in curriculum and academic activities); principle 3 on learning approaches; principle 4 on research (with sustainable, social, environmental and economic value); principle 5 on partnership (interaction with business managers); and principle 6 on dialogue (among key stakeholders). Tensions regarding ideology, integration and implementation are also identified, as well as possible weaknesses, e.g. on integrity, quality and reporting policies, in the current “SIP” framework.

Originality/value

This paper is the first scholarly work depicting comprehensively the activities of PRME signatories worldwide.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Carole Parkes and John Blewitt

The collapse of world economic systems brought the interconnectedness between business and global events sharply into focus. As Starkey points out: “leading business…

Abstract

Purpose

The collapse of world economic systems brought the interconnectedness between business and global events sharply into focus. As Starkey points out: “leading business schools need to overcome their fascination with a particular form of finance and economics […] to broaden their intellectual horizons […] (and to) look at the lessons of history and other disciplines”. The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence from three years of research on the Aston MBA suggesting that an emphasis on developing capabilities within a far broader, connected and reflexive business curriculum is what business students and practitioners now recognise as an essential way forward for responsible management education.

Design/methodology/approach

This research paper examines the reflective accounts of 300 MBA students undertaking a transdisciplinary Business Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability core module.

Findings

As Klein argues, transdisciplinarity is simultaneously an attitude and a form of action. The student reflections provide powerful discourses of individual learning and report a range of outcomes from finding “the vocabulary or the confidence” to raise issues to acting as “change agents” in the workplace.

Originality/value

As responsibility and sustainability requires learners, researchers and educators to engage with real world complexity, uncertainty and risk, conventional disciplinary study, especially within business, often proves inadequate and partial. This paper demonstrates that creative and exploratory frames need to be developed to facilitate the development of more connected knowledge – informed by multiple stakeholders, able to contribute heterogeneous skills, perspectives and expertise.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Tribhuvan Pratap Singh, N.S. Bisht and Megha Rastogi

Sustainability may be defined as a concept that activates the inner sense of individuals, companies and societies to initiate, promote and sustain practices to protect and…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability may be defined as a concept that activates the inner sense of individuals, companies and societies to initiate, promote and sustain practices to protect and enhance the human and natural resources needed by future generations to enjoy a quality of life equal to or greater than our own. To translate this vision into action, it takes time, efforts and sincere leadership and managerial commitments towards sustainable global development. Therefore, the role of business schools is critical in generating a work force to cater to such needs. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the top business schools in India which promote sustainability issues, exploring the challenges of incorporating sustainability in the business curriculum and practices developed by leading professors and business schools to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 35 faculty members from 17 leading business schools of India forms the basis of this research. Data were collected through on‐line questionnaires, telephone interviews and in‐depth exploration of teaching plans and course materials.

Findings

The findings highlight the importance of sustainability issues within the business curriculum and the value of integrated case studies which provide a wider perspective to students. Faculty members face serious challenges in the conflict between monetary and sustainability orientations of the curriculum, maintaining students' interest, applying new pedagogical tools effectively, and including considerations of social costs and quality of life.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to existing knowledge about the practical challenges of designing and teaching sustainability issues through integrated courses. It also explores the effectiveness of innovative pedagogical tools to address such issues.

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Glyn Mather, Leanne Denby, Leigh N. Wood and Bronwen Harrison

The purpose of this paper is to review research and strategies in Australian business education that aim to foster graduate capabilities in sustainability concepts and…

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1316

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review research and strategies in Australian business education that aim to foster graduate capabilities in sustainability concepts and practices, also to present a case study of teaching practice along with ideas for future development.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors report on a research project by seven Australian universities, with financial support from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), on how to develop and grade graduate capabilities with sustainability identified as a core graduate skill. An example is presented from the Faculty of Business and Economics of a strategy in action – the use of a case study (centred on sustainability practices at the university) to enhance the skills of merit scholars.

Findings

Corporate social responsibility is a well‐established concept in business management theory, with sustainability principles emerging as a core feature. In the higher education sector, the spirit may be willing, but training in the application of these principles has been implemented as an add‐on rather than an embedded part of the curriculum. Although efforts are being made to find ways of nurturing graduate capabilities in sustainability practice, a significant obstacle is the lack of teaching models and materials. The authors offer findings from the ALTC graduate skills project as well as a case study of implementation.

Originality/value

The authors report on practical innovations in fostering business graduate skills in implementing sustainability principles, assess the utility of current education practice and present some suggestions for future learning and teaching strategies.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

Keywords

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