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Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Naif Alghamdi, Alexandra den Heijer and Hans de Jonge

The purpose of this paper is to analyse 12 assessment tools of sustainability in universities and develop the structure and the contents of these tools to be more…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse 12 assessment tools of sustainability in universities and develop the structure and the contents of these tools to be more intelligible. The configuration of the tools reviewed highlight indicators that clearly communicate only the essential information. This paper explores how the theoretical concept of a sustainable university is translated into more measurable variables to support practitioners and academics in assessing sustainability in universities.

Design/methodology/approach

The main method for this paper was a desk study approach, which incorporated reviewing research papers, graduate theses, academic books, network platforms and websites.

Findings

The tools reviewed share similar traits in terms of criteria, sub-criteria and indicators. Five benchmarks are essential for a holistic framework: management; academia; environment; engagement and innovation.

Practical implications

This research can not only be used to improve existing assessment tools but also as a means to develop new tools tailored for universities that face a variety of challenges and lack the ability to measure their sustainability policies.

Social implications

Making higher education more sustainable through all the criteria mentioned influences students, as well as staff, to maintain a culture of sustainability.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature by simplifying and detailing the structure and contents of the tools in a way which indicators are shown, giving a full picture of these tools to enable universities to be more aware of the sustainability issues that affect them.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2002

Michael Shriberg

This paper analyzes recent efforts to measure sustainability in higher education across institutions. The benefits of cross‐institutional assessments include: identifying…

Abstract

This paper analyzes recent efforts to measure sustainability in higher education across institutions. The benefits of cross‐institutional assessments include: identifying and benchmarking leaders and best practices; communicating common goals, experiences, and methods; and providing a directional tool to measure progress toward the concept of a “sustainable campus”. Ideal assessment tools identify the most important attributes of a sustainable campus, are calculable and comparable, measure more than eco‐efficiency, assess processes and motivations and are comprehensible to multiple stakeholders. The 11 cross‐institutional assessment tools reviewed in this paper vary in terms of stage of development and closeness to the “ideal tool”. These tools reveal (through their structure and content) the following critical parameters to achieving sustainability in higher education: decreasing throughput; pursuing incremental and systemic change simultaneously; including sustainability education as a central part of curricula; and engaging in cross‐functional and cross‐institutional efforts.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Abstract

Details

Sustainability Assessment
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-481-3

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Abstract

Details

Sustainability Assessment
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-481-3

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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2013

Abu Sayed, Kamal and Margret Asmuss

The University of Saskatchewan (UofS) has indentified five areas of campus life critical to improving the university's sustainability performance: education, research…

Abstract

Purpose

The University of Saskatchewan (UofS) has indentified five areas of campus life critical to improving the university's sustainability performance: education, research, operations, governance, and community engagement. In recognition of the need to track and assess the university's performance in all of these areas, a study was conducted to identify an effective sustainability‐benchmarking tool for the UofS. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to indentify an effective benchmarking tool for assessing sustainability for the context of the UofS, two academic‐focused tools and two tools with a broader scope were reviewed. The academic tools are Sustainability Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and the Campus Sustainability Assessment Framework (CSAF), while the general tools are the College of Sustainability Report Card (CSRC) and the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Each tool was rated on the basis of 27 questions developed to directly relate to indicators of sustainability in the five areas of campus life. The highest rated tool was recommended as the most effective tool for assessing and tracking sustainability for the UofS.

Findings

Each benchmarking tool was developed to address specific goals. Accordingly, one tool may have strength in one area but weakness in another area. The study has shown that CSRC is the best tool for addressing governance and operations, although overall CSRC earned the lowest score in terms of its potential application to the UofS as it is not an effective tool for addressing sustainability in the context of education and research. Both academic tools – SAQ and CSAF – do not adequately address issues of sustainability in campus operations. STARS obtained the highest scores in all areas of campus life. Hence, STARS was identified as the most effective tool for assessing and tracking sustainability in all areas of campus life at the UofS.

Originality/value

Extrapolating from the UofS assessment, the STARS would appear to be the most effective benchmarking tool for assessing and tracking sustainability for higher educational institutions that want to assess and track sustainability across the breadth of campus life in education, research, operations, governance, and community engagement.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Manuel Larrán Jorge, Jesús Herrera Madueño, Yolanda Calzado and Javier Andrades

Numerous sustainability assessment tools are being created and applied in the higher education sector. In light of such diversity, there is a need to provide a common…

Abstract

Purpose

Numerous sustainability assessment tools are being created and applied in the higher education sector. In light of such diversity, there is a need to provide a common guideline for sustainability assessment which makes easier the comparison among universities. Using as a reference the Spanish university system, the main aim of this paper is to develop a multi-item quantitative tool for measuring sustainability performance at universities.

Design/methodology/approach

To accomplish this task, the first step was to review the literature on sustainability assessment in universities. After reviewing the literature, the authors found more than 1,000 items. The next step was to select those items which were able to fit to the Spanish university context. On this basis, the authors selected a total of 268 items. These items were discussed in a workshop with senior management members from eight Spanish universities with the aim of analyzing the validity and relevance of the items selected.

Findings

Then, the proposal for measuring sustainability in Spanish universities was composed of a total of 156 relevant items. In addition, these items were grouped according to seven different dimensions (corporate governance, students, staff, society, environment, companies and continuous improvement). Also, it is important to note that these items were not associated with political risk and they were linked to provide more reliable information to assess sustainability in universities.

Originality/value

Recent literature have stated that the existing tools specifically developed for assessing higher education institutions performance toward sustainability have some weaknesses. Then, one of the main contributions of this study has been the creation of a new multi-item quantitative tool aimed at measuring the integrated consideration of social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability in universities.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2021

Yusuf A. Adenle, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman and Oluwole A. Soyinka

As one of the buzzwords in the present age with considerable impacts in tertiary institutions, social media use in online teaching, learning and information dissemination…

Abstract

Purpose

As one of the buzzwords in the present age with considerable impacts in tertiary institutions, social media use in online teaching, learning and information dissemination have been extensively discussed in extant literature. This paper aims to explore the existing campus sustainability appraisal (CSA) tools to identify the length at which social media has been used, especially in environmental sustainability indicators’ selection and empirical verification.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is mainly based on a desktop study involving comprehensive review and content analysis of existing CSA tools’ documents. Webpage content analysis of selected sustainability monitoring and tracking system in higher education institutions was also conducted.

Findings

The tools' content analysis reveals insufficient utilization of social media data and platforms in campus sustainability environmental-dimension indicators selection. To bridge this identified research gap, social media user-generated content for appraising the campus-wide environmental sustainability indicators preference in tertiary institutions was proposed.

Practical implications

The adoption and modification of this study’s proposed approach by tertiary institutions, especially in sub-Saharan African countries, could help address most campus-wide environmental challenges raised, commented on and discussed on social media.

Originality/value

This study contributes to knowledge gaps by revealing the extent of social media utilization in extant tools. With the expanding utilization of different social media platforms by various tertiary institutions worldwide, their administrators' responsibility is to put these social media data into fair use.

Details

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

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Details

Sustainability Assessment
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-481-3

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2020

Michael Atafo Adabre and Albert P.C. Chan

This paper presents a sustainability assessment model to holistically guide sustainable construction and green retrofitting of affordable housing from the Ghanaian perspective.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper presents a sustainability assessment model to holistically guide sustainable construction and green retrofitting of affordable housing from the Ghanaian perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive review was carried out, which yielded 16 sustainability indicators. Then, a questionnaire survey was conducted among respondents in the Ghanaian housing sector. Forty-seven valid responses were received and analysed using fuzzy synthetic evaluation (FSE) technique.

Findings

A four-index model was developed that includes: Housing and Transportation (H + T) index, household-satisfaction index, efficient stakeholder-management index and quality-related index. These indices account for 25.3%, 26.3%, 23.6% and 24.9% of sustainability attainment in affordable housing, respectively. Accordingly, household-satisfaction has the greatest contribution to sustainability attainment in affordable housing.

Research limitations/implications

Due to challenges in obtaining responses to the questionnaire, the study was conducted with relatively small number of responses.

Originality/value

The model serves as a tool that could be used to objectively and comprehensively assess sustainability performance in affordable housing. Besides, it could be used as a baseline to calibrate future projects and for benchmarking success levels of comparable housing projects. Finally, the estimated indices are applicable in decision making for optimum resource allocation for sustainable low-cost housing in the Ghanaian perspective.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 27 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2019

Sloan Peter Trad

Sustainability within tertiary curriculum is hard to measure and often perceived to be illusive in nature. Existing higher education sustainability assessment tools rarely…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability within tertiary curriculum is hard to measure and often perceived to be illusive in nature. Existing higher education sustainability assessment tools rarely focus on the curriculum. This paper aims to establish and implement a tool that can measure sustainability integration within curriculum. The Faculty of Engineering and IT (FEIT) at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is used as a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

A set of seven sustainability competencies are identified by means of a systematic literature review as the current knowledge of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) competencies. ESD competency integration into the curriculum is assessed by implementing a two-tier scanning mechanism. In the first step, subject outlines (SOs) are used to identify sustainable subject learning outcomes (SLOs) and assessment learning outcomes (ALOs). Step 2 involves analysing ALOs and SLOs for constructive alignment with student experience. SPSS, a statistical software, is then used to statistically reflect the results.

Findings

An initial scan of SOs found that stated ESD outcomes made up 22.4 per cent of FEIT undergraduate courses. A more detailed investigation which involved assessing subject material and student experience for the seven ESD outcomes resulted in a 7.7 per cent sustainability integration into the FEIT undergraduate courses. SPSS produced tables showing individual competency distribution over course candidature year. Lifecycle assessment was invisible from the curriculum.

Research limitations/implications

Case study outcomes are limited to UTS, and therefore, specific-study outcomes cannot be generalised. This study attempted to trace sustainability learning outcomes through the curriculum. However, a more detailed study should also assess subject pedagogy and artefacts as these may enable or inhibit sustainability competency.

Originality/value

Study developed several methods to establish and evaluate subject level ESD claims. Academic staff and management are able to replicate methods of this study to map ESD within their courses, schools and/or faculties triggering conversation around ESD’s actual integration within curriculum. Based on ESD distribution, specific intervention recommendations are proposed.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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