Higher Education

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 105–123 | Cite as

University Lecturers’ Understanding of Sustainability



This paper describes the results of a research project that investigated the ways that academics understand sustainability within their own disciplines. It describes a range of ways in which academics view sustainability in the context of their teaching, and a range of ways they suggest that sustainability could be integrated into their teaching. Its genesis was an industry/university forum held at Macquarie University (Australia) that identified the need to integrate ideas of sustainable development within university curricula in all disciplines to prepare students for their professional roles. At a global level, participants in the 2002 Johannesburg Earth Summit emphatically endorsed the proposal that sustainable development needs to be an integral component of all levels of education. Environmental bodies have often focused their attention on development of materials to support sustainable development within specific environmentally focused disciplines. In contrast, the present project acknowledges that issues of sustainability need to span the whole range of subjects and extend to the development of appropriate curriculum. Real change in thinking about sustainability requires creative pedagogy which acknowledges the different ways that people think about sustainability and provides spaces in which their ideas can be developed.


lecturers’ conceptions professional preparation sustainability and curriculum teaching for sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Higher Education Research and Development C4CMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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