Sustaining the Culture of Higher Education

By Mark A. Gebert and Frieda E. Gebert.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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

Sustain (v.): nourish, encourage, provide for, supply, support;
Culture (n.): intellectual and artistic activity.
With these definitions in mind, this paper considers cultural sustainability as “the nourishment and support of intellectual and artistic activity” specifically in higher education, particularly in the US. The co-authors of the paper represent seemingly opposite ends of the cognitive spectrum, statistics and the performing arts, and address the issue from different perspectives. Many institutions endeavor to educate students/faculty/staff/community about the importance of sustainability in certain aspects of their lives. The authors explore this notion in the opposite direction, discussing the sustainability of education, primarily at the post-secondary level, in the context of changing global resources, fiscal realities, and the population being educated. Specifically, higher education is being affected by communication developments, economic policies, diminished enthusiasm and funding for all levels of education at the federal level, pressure to increase retention rates, and the bureaucratic versus academic debate of job training vs. education. Many believe a new, experiential-learning based approach is needed to address the very real 21st century needs for creative problem solving and innovation; others assert that the need for technical expertise and quantitative reasoning can best be developed through current practices, based on long-held traditions. If we are to nourish intellectual and artistic activity in the future, post-secondary education will need to negotiate an uncharted and undetermined course in the 21st century.

Keywords: Higher Education, Meaning of Cultural Sustainability, Arts and Creativity, Quantitative Literacy

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.447-454. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 747.819KB).

Dr. Mark A. Gebert

Lecturer, Statistics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Dr. Gebert earned his Ph.D in Statistics from Rice University and has taught at the university level for seventeen years. His professional experience outside education includes pharmaceutical research and statistical software development with firms such as Proctor and Gamble, Corning Pharmaceuticals, and the Research Triangle Institute. Research interests include statistical pedagogy, including online instruction, assessment, and quantitative literacy in general education.

Dr. Frieda E. Gebert

Associate Professor, Humanities, Campbellsville University, Campbellsville, Kentucky, USA

Dr. Gebert has taught both Music and Theatre at the university level since receiving her doctorate from the University of Texas, specializing in Opera and Musical Theatre. As a member of the Graduate Faculty she also prepares and supervises future educators. Earning a graduate certificate in Gifted and Talented education led her to teach younger students through the Governor’s Scholars Program in Kentucky. Courses taught in this unique program include Organic Architecture and Sustainable Design, and The Psychology of Creativity.


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