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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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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: 3 July 2017

Jonas Meyer, Marlene Mader, Friedrich Zimmermann and Ketrina Çabiri

The purpose of this paper is to examine sustainability-related challenges in the two Western Balkan countries – Albania and Kosovo. It discusses the opportunities of local…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine sustainability-related challenges in the two Western Balkan countries – Albania and Kosovo. It discusses the opportunities of local higher education institutions (HEIs) taking responsibility to tackle these challenges by providing professional development through science–society collaboration in innovative training sessions for university educators.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review on actual challenges and transformations of higher education for sustainable development (ESD) in Albania and Kosovo will be the starting point of this paper. Subsequently, experiences from the on-going European Union (EU) project “ConSus” will be used to draw both a competence framework for ESD within science–society collaboration based on the training sessions, as well as possible scaling opportunities.

Findings

The paper draws possible approaches of training sessions for university educators promoting sustainable development and science–society collaboration in higher education. They will be concluded by addressing possible scaling opportunities of the project’s activities.

Practical implications

The experiences of the ConSus training sessions will outline competences of university educators in ESD gained in relation to transdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching.

Originality/value

The paper will contribute to ESD approaches in higher education in Albania and Kosovo. Furthermore, scaling possibilities will be discussed to systematically implement ESD approaches also in higher hierarchical levels and other HEIs.

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: 1 February 1985

Marlene Kück

The allocation of work based on typical male/female role models cannot be changed speedily, even in the alternative sector. The experience of enterprises in the…

Abstract

The allocation of work based on typical male/female role models cannot be changed speedily, even in the alternative sector. The experience of enterprises in the alternative sector in West Germany, set up with the aims of self‐administration, neutralisation of property, regular change of staff at management level, limitation of size, and equal participation of women in all company functions, reveals that financial difficulties in such enterprises' early stages, and the lack of previous models on which to base themselves, create limitations. Faced with such problems and the need to remain viable, wages are cut and the principle of “best person for the job” prevails; for men and women already trained in traditional roles, this means that an existing skill is more valuable, short‐term, to the enterprise than giving training in a new — and thus the stereotypes are maintained.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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