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  • © 2021

The Sustainable Development Goals in Higher Education

A Transformative Agenda?

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Explores the role universities play in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • Encourages academics to actively engage and shape the SDG's into the transformative catalyst they need to be

  • Challenges the legacy of unsustainable development within higher education with its roots in modernity and colonialism

Buying options

eBook USD 24.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-73575-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 32.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xv
  2. A Transformative Agenda

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 1-34
  3. Sustainable Development in the Anthropocene

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 35-65
  4. The Role of the University in Society

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 67-106
  5. Ethical Innovation

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 107-143
  6. Re-thinking Research Engagement

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 145-168
  7. Learning and Teaching Matters

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 169-204
  8. What Does Success Look Like?

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 205-246
  9. Sustainable Futures

    • Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards
    Pages 247-267
  10. Back Matter

    Pages 269-292

About this book

“The world's universities are important for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. What should universities be offering to this effort? Equally important, how should universities themselves change, in response to the SDGs? Wendy Steele and Lauren Rickards provide a unique, up-to-date guide to these issues, offering frameworks for thought and resources for action.”
 
                        - Raewyn Connell, author of The Good University 

“This book presents a compelling and refreshing take on the contemporary university and its transformative potential. Analysing the engagement between the Sustainable Development Goals and higher education, Steele and Rickards provide energy and hope for those of us exhausted by the continual restructuring of the neoliberal university.”
- Lesley Head, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, School of Geography, The University of Melbourne, Australia

“…Steele and Rickards challenge universities to become enablers of change … Especially impressive is the way in which the authors draw on social theory and constructive criticisms of higher education and development, to provide positive and actionable pathways forward. Reading the manuscript, I wanted to immediately share the insights of this book with my university leadership, my faculty colleagues and my students, especially as we try to navigate a post pandemic, antiracist, more equal and low carbon future for people and the planet.”

- Diana Liverman, Regents Professor, School of Geography, Development, and Environment University of Arizona, USA 

This book explores the role universities have to play in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the heart of “sustainable development” is the legacy of unsustainable development with its roots in modernity and colonialism. Critical engagement with the SDGs involves recognising these roots are shared by universities and the reciprocal need for maintenance, repair and regeneration. Universities are not just enablers of change, but also important targets of change. By focusing on the role of education about, for and through the SDGs, the authors seek to advance critical engagement with higher education that is both progressive and meaningful. We are all responsible for bearing witness to our age. This book will appeal to all those who hope that more sustainable future worlds are still possible.

Wendy Steele is Associate Professor in the Centre for Urban Research (CUR) at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on the nature of wild cities in climate change with current projects on quiet activism, critical urban governance, climate justice and urban futures, and sustainability as a transformative agenda in higher education.

Lauren Rickards is Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, where she directs the Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform and co-leads the Climate Change Transformations research program in the Centre for Urban Research. A human geographer, Lauren’s research focuses on social responses to the climate change crisis, including the role of climate change in sustainable development, and implications for the research and education sectors. 

Keywords

  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • SDGs
  • Higher Education
  • Innovation
  • how universities support the SDGs
  • sustainability
  • Teaching and Learning
  • transformative global agenda
  • SDG 4
  • sustainable development and education
  • Research Engagement
  • legacies of colonialism in education

Reviews

“Offering ‘critical hope’ for a more sustainable future, this clearly written book examines how higher education can engage in transforming itself and the world by considering the vision of social and environmental justice represented by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Steele and Rickards challenge universities to become enablers of change by combining deep institutional commitments with bold, ethical cultures of innovation, and to integrate the SDGs into inclusive research and teaching. Especially impressive is the way in which the authors draw on social theory and constructive criticisms of higher education and development, to provide positive and actionable pathways forward. Reading the manuscript, I wanted to immediately share the insights of this book with my university leadership, my faculty colleagues and my students, especially as we try to navigate a post pandemic, antiracist, more equal and low carbon future for people and the planet.”

(Diana Liverman, Regents Professor, School of Geography, Development, and Environment University of Arizona, USA )

“The world's universities are important for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. What should universities be offering to this effort? Equally important, how should universities themselves change, in response to the SDGs? Wendy Steele and Lauren Rickards provide a unique, up-to-date guide to these issues, offering frameworks for thought and resources for action.”
 
(Raewyn Connell, author of The Good University)

“Offering ‘critical hope’ for a more sustainable future, this clearly written book examines how higher education can engage in transforming itself and the world by considering the vision of social and environmental justice represented by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Steele and Rickards challenge universities to become enablers of change by combining deep institutional commitments with bold, ethical cultures of innovation, and to integrate the SDGs into inclusive research and teaching.  Especially impressive is the way in which the authors draw on social theory and constructive criticisms of higher education and development, to provide positive and actionable pathways forward. Reading the manuscript, I wanted to immediately share the insights of this book with my university leadership, my faculty colleagues and my students, especially as we try to navigate a post pandemic, antiracist, more equal and low carbon future for people and the planet.”

(Diana Liverman, Regents Professor and Director of the School of Geography, Development, and Environment University of Arizona, USA)


“The world's universities are important for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. What should universities be offering to this effort? Equally important, how should universities themselves change, in response to the SDGs? Wendy Steele and Lauren Rickards provide a unique, up-to-date guide to these issues, offering frameworks for thought and resources for action.”
 
(Raewyn Connell, author of The Good University)


“This book presents a compelling and refreshing take on the contemporary university and its transformative potential. Analysing the engagement between the Sustainable Development Goals and higher education, Steele and Rickards provide energy and hope for those of us exhausted by the continual restructuring of the neoliberal university.”

(Lesley Head, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, School of Geography, The University of Melbourne, Australia)


Authors and Affiliations

  • Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

    Wendy Steele, Lauren Rickards

About the authors

Wendy Steele is Associate Professor in the Centre for Urban Research (CUR) at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on the nature of wild cities in climate change with current projects on quiet activism, critical urban governance, climate justice and urban futures, and sustainability as a transformative agenda in higher education.

Lauren Rickards is Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, where she directs the Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform and co-leads the Climate Change Transformations research program in the Centre for Urban Research. A human geographer, Lauren’s research focuses on social responses to the climate change crisis, including the role of climate change in sustainable development, and implications for the research and education sectors. 

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 24.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-73575-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 32.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)