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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Aldilla Dharmasasmita, Helen Puntha and Petra Molthan-Hill

The purpose of this paper is to present a food-themed project at Nottingham Trent University, the Sustainability in Practice (SiP) Certificate, which has adopted a…

610

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a food-themed project at Nottingham Trent University, the Sustainability in Practice (SiP) Certificate, which has adopted a supra-disciplinary approach involving a collaborative enquiry into food sustainability through a flexible online course open to all staff and students.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper will describe the pedagogical approach of the certificate’s online and offline components, the various activities undertaken by participants and the digital tools used to encourage collaboration and skills development. Reflection on participant feedback is incorporated, and special attention is given to how the design of SiP equips students with the skills needed to solve sustainable challenges.

Findings

Feedback from previous participants indicated that despite high engagement in the SiP online discussion forums, there was a desire to go beyond theoretical discussion; students wanted to get actively involved in some practical challenges. “Sustainability Challenge Days” are therefore now offered and comprise in-person discussion, volunteering and collaborative group learning to complement the online course. This practice element as well as the crowdsourcing of sustainable solutions within SiP are described in detail in this paper.

Research limitations/implications

Although estimately 1,000 students have taken the SiP to date, SiP Challenge Day was only piloted this year, following recommendations by student focus groups in 2014 and 2015. Focus groups have not yet been undertaken for the 2015/2016 cohort. The feedback included in this paper is based only on students who participated in the Challenge Days. Analysis of the feedback forms indicates that the 2015/2016 SiP Challenge Days have constituted a promising pilot project, and, therefore, organisation of Challenge Days for the next academic year is already in progress, with two additional themes already in placed.

Practical implications

The SiP Challenge Day events have provided the opportunities for students from across all disciplines to discuss, collaborate and thus find solutions to a contemporary sustainability topic: food scarcity and accessibility. Hence, it has facilitated inter and supradisciplinary learning, a skill that is seldom available in a conventional lecture and/or seminar teaching environment.

Social implications

Activities in the SiP Challenge Day events included group discussions, team working and presentations. Some of the feedback received from students have included how they have enjoyed exchanging ideas from colleagues in different schools and culture, as the exchange have had them to consider different opinions and perspectives from other disciplines, culturally.

Originality/value

While a focus on sustainability within higher education curriculum is on the increase, it is still usual for universities to adopt a mono-disciplinary approach to addressing sustainability. This paper illustrates how using the digital world, higher education institutions can adopt a supra-disciplinary approach to facilitate students in addressing real-world sustainability problems. Additionally, how practical sessions can complement students’ digital learning in sustainability is also included in this paper.

Book part
Publication date: 7 February 2013

Helen Goworek and Petra Molthan-Hill

This chapter examines the development and implementation of a sustainability module at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in the UK and assesses how this is embedded within…

Abstract

This chapter examines the development and implementation of a sustainability module at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in the UK and assesses how this is embedded within the undergraduate business curriculum. The objectives are to explain the background to the development of the module in the context of the University as a whole and to examine the issues and potential benefits concerning its implementation. The chapter explores how sustainability can be integrated effectively within the curriculum and focuses on a module for the academic year 2011/2012 ‘The Sustainable Organisation’ (SO) and its underlying principles from the perspectives of members of the module team. It also reflects on previous and concurrent modules incorporating sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The module's connections with industry and related research will also be discussed within the chapter. In conclusion, the wider implications of offering the SO module within a business school will be assessed.

Details

Education and Corporate Social Responsibility International Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-590-6

Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Petra Molthan-Hill

The purpose of this paper is to challenge the assumptions prominent in the Anglo-American context that the objective of a business is to increase its profits and that…

1378

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to challenge the assumptions prominent in the Anglo-American context that the objective of a business is to increase its profits and that managers have to make “the business case” to implement environmentally sounder solutions or other sustainability considerations into their business decisions. The paper argues that these assumptions are not presented as a human construction or agreement, instead they are treated as though they are a given, a prerequisite to a business system. By comparing qualitative statements in a cross-cultural study, the paper highlights different ways in which economic rationality could be conceptualised.

Design/methodology/approach

Habermas’ (1984) framework of instrumental and communicative reason has been used to analyse the accounts of German and British managers in the Food Retail and Energy Sector.

Findings

Only the British managers “make the business case” when dealing with environmental problems. German managers use a different instrumental reason from that applied by British managers; they would argue that cost-intensive environmental improvements can be made as long as the survival of the company is not at risk.

Practical implications

The study challenges the perceived objectiveness of the “business case”, which has strong implications for the theoretical and practical application of Business Administration in the British context and beyond. Furthermore the paper suggests that new conceptualisations of “economic rationality” might help to better solve sustainability challenges.

Originality/value

Practical application of Habermas framework to question underlying assumptions in the business discourse about environmental issues.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Joanne Roberts and Christoph Dörrenbächer

164

Abstract

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 7 February 2013

Abstract

Details

Education and Corporate Social Responsibility International Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-590-6

Book part
Publication date: 7 February 2013

Ruby Melody Agbola is a lecturer at Department of Management Studies, Central Business School, Ghana.

Abstract

Ruby Melody Agbola is a lecturer at Department of Management Studies, Central Business School, Ghana.

Details

Education and Corporate Social Responsibility International Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-590-6

Article
Publication date: 3 August 2021

Jonas Johannisson and Michael Hiete

This study aims to share experiences of an easy to adapt service-learning approach in a graduate course on life cycle assessment (LCA). Specifically, it reports on how…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to share experiences of an easy to adapt service-learning approach in a graduate course on life cycle assessment (LCA). Specifically, it reports on how students helped the university’s cafeteria to assess meals by conducting an LCA for 25 meals and identifying environmental hotspots.

Design/methodology/approach

A descriptive case study of a graduate course at Ulm University is presented. The course included lectures and problem-based exercises, both theoretical and software assisted. A course evaluation was conducted during the course and one year after completion to poll improvement potentials, as well as its impacts on students’ everyday life.

Findings

It was found that although it was the first LCA for all students, the resulting LCA information of 25 different meals were homogeneous, comparable to the scientific literature and beneficial to the cafeteria’s sustainable development strategy. The concept of service-learning had a higher impact on students’ motivation than a good grade and active-learning is explicitly requested by students. The course design sensitized students to the real-life problems of LCA and made their consumption patterns more elaborate and ecological. Furthermore, this digitization of higher education could be carried out with only minor changes in the present COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Originality/value

As the subject of service-learning in natural sciences is still expandable, this study presents an easy to adapt case study on how to integrate such an approach into university curricula dominated by traditional learning. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this case study presents the first published LCA university course explicitly describing and evaluating a service-learning approach. The topic touches the everyday lives of students, allows comparisons between different student groups, is easily scalable to different group sizes and credits, and supports learning both how to study in small groups and cooperation between groups to ensure comparability of LCA results.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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