Researching Sustainability in Higher Education: From Local to Global

By James Gray-Donald, Debby R. E. Cotton, Martyn F. Warren, Ian Bailey and Fumiyo Kagawa.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Issues of sustainability are increasing in importance within Higher Education (HE), both in the UK and internationally. A number of universities are engaging in changes to the campus and curriculum in order to encourage integration of sustainability practices across their institutions. However, there is a current paucity of research into effective methods for change and potential barriers to the integration of sustainability into Higher Education. This paper reports a series of studies, carried out by researchers at the University of Plymouth, UK which aim to develop a substantive body of research evidence about students’ and lecturers’ view of sustainable development and its place in Higher Education. Findings from those studies indicate that there is relatively strong support for sustainability (both from students and lecturers), albeit of a light green nature. They also reveal substantial confusion and debate around the terminology of sustainability, and an over-riding focus on environmental rather than economic, social or cultural issues. Having started on a local scale with studies of our own institution, the researchers are planning a collaborative global survey of sustainability in Higher Education Institutions.

Keywords: Education for Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Higher Education, Student Perceptions, Lecturers Experiences, Survey, Pedagogy, Curriculum Change, Institutional Change, Research

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.205-216. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 945.320KB).

Dr James Gray-Donald

Senior Consultant, Energetics Ecology Limited, London, London, UK

Dr Debby R. E. Cotton

University of Plymouth, Devon, UK

Martyn F. Warren

University of Plymouth, Devon, UK

Dr Ian Bailey

University of Plymouth, Devon, UK

Fumiyo Kagawa

University of Plymouth, Devon, UK


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