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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2019

Francisco Borges and Javier Benayas

This paper aims to outline the scientific production in Portuguese universities in environmental education (EE) and education for sustainable development (ESD). It takes doctoral…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to outline the scientific production in Portuguese universities in environmental education (EE) and education for sustainable development (ESD). It takes doctoral theses presented in public universities as reference, assuming that, in Higher Education, the production of doctoral theses is a key beacon of the scientific development in academic fields of knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

The theses selected were subject to documentary and content analyses.

Findings

The results allow the identification of research trends and the recognition of detached aspects, such as the influence of the UN Decade of ESD in the research themes and the clear preponderance of a qualitative-led research tradition.

Originality/value

This paper provides an original and extensive review of PhD studies on EE and ESD in Portuguese public universities.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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 educators…

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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

Article
Publication date: 5 July 2023

Matilde Lafuente-Lechuga, Javier Cifuentes-Faura and Úrsula Faura-Martínez

This paper aims to identify the current situation of higher education institutions in Spain regarding the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals in the classroom, and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the current situation of higher education institutions in Spain regarding the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals in the classroom, and what is the role of mathematics in this task.

Design/methodology/approach

A review is made of how the concept of sustainability has evolved in higher education, its gradual introduction in the University and the way in which this subject is approached in the field of mathematics.

Findings

The study concludes that higher education has a key role to play in designing strategies that lead to the global sustainability of the planet. This implies major changes in degree curricula, assessment, competences and teacher training. Cross-disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity between different subjects within the same degree is a strategy for students to analyse the Sustainable Development Goals using mathematical techniques.

Social implications

The University as an institution must train socially responsible professionals who are aware of the importance of promoting a sustainable world. Changes should be made to introduce values in the classroom that promote and encourage sustainability. Training should be seen as a continuous process that leads to the preparation of professionals committed to society and nature and who develop strategies aimed at improving the planet through values.

Originality/value

Through practical activities, the Sustainable Development objectives can be analysed from several subjects of the same degree, emphasising the interdisciplinary and transversal nature that should be the central axis of higher education. Each subject can develop a strategy for change in favour of sustainability that will be reinforced and increased by working together on the proposed teaching practice. In this way, the contents of the different subjects are not isolated, but rather the student can see how there is an interrelationship between them and with real life.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 July 2023

Sónia Monteiro, Verónica Ribeiro, Estela Vilhena, Kátia Lemos and Cristiana Molho

Some studies investigate the determinants of sustainability/integrated reporting in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). However, empirical research is still very embryonic in…

Abstract

Purpose

Some studies investigate the determinants of sustainability/integrated reporting in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). However, empirical research is still very embryonic in the scope of sustainable development goals (SDGs). As far as the authors are aware, previous research related to reporting in HEIs has not considered the linkage with the SDGs. Thus, this paper aims to analyse the disclosure on the websites of the Portuguese HEIs regarding the SDGs and their determinant factors.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on content analysis of the information disclosed on the websites of all Portuguese HEIs. Through bivariate and multivariate statistics analysis, the authors also aim to identify the explanatory factors for the SDGs reporting (such as geographical location – coast/inland, HEIs’ size, educational system – Universities and polytechnics, institutional status – public and private).

Findings

The results indicate that 63.6% of Portuguese HEIs disclose information on SDGs in their websites. Findings of bivariate analysis revealed that public and larger HEIs are those that disclose more information about SDG on their websites. However, the logit regression result found that size is the only determinant factor of SDGs reporting.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first Portuguese approach to SDGs reporting in the Portuguese higher education sector. The results will be of interest to policymakers and regulators who decide to implement and standardize SDGs reporting at higher education, as well as of HEIs’ managers who wish to follow these new trends in their reporting cycle.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 September 2021

Syed Kaleem Ullah Shah Bukhari, Hamdan Said, Rani Gul and Prodhan Mahbub Ibna Seraj

Sustainability has globally become a mantra to address complex and unprecedented survival, social, political and peace issues. Higher education institutions bear responsibility to…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability has globally become a mantra to address complex and unprecedented survival, social, political and peace issues. Higher education institutions bear responsibility to address them. This paper aims to explore barriers that Pakistani public universities (PPUs) face in embedding sustainability at their campuses. This paper also offers potential opportunities to take initiatives to minimize barriers and move towards a sustainable future.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on case study approach, and data were gathered through interviews and documents. Interviews with 11 academic administrators were conducted to gain deeper understanding on issues of governance and its influence on sustainability. Data were analysed using thematic analysis that created thematic map/model.

Findings

Key findings include, firstly, that majority of participants think poor governance is the biggest issue in demoting sustainability. This barrier causes an array of interconnected barriers. Secondly, participants strongly associate unsustainability with lack of institutional change and training. Finally, lack of resources was the most frequently articulated barrier. Findings provided a rationale to propose suggestions to promote sustainability.

Originality/value

Developed countries are leaders in promoting sustainability, whereas developing countries are laggards. Pakistan, a developing country, does not have substantial research to reveal the barriers PPUs are facing to promote sustainability. This paper is an attempt to address research gap in identifying barriers to sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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