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Driving the Systemic Transformation of Higher Education Institutions Towards Sustainability: The Case of Education for Sustainability Hub

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Sustainability in Higher Education

Abstract

Education for sustainable development has gained importance in higher education over the past three decades. Higher education institutions (HEIs) recognise their crucial role in contributing to a more sustainable future. However, HEIs have been lagging behind with implementing sustainable development on a systemic level. This can be attributed to a lack of knowledge and tools for driving systemic transformation in HEIs. To address this, a systemic approach that fosters a common understanding of the institutions’ dynamics, driving or hindering change towards sustainability, is required. This chapter explores the potential of Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems in catalysing the transformation of HEIs towards sustainability. More specifically, the chapter highlights the crucial role of decision communication in maintaining or breaking HEIs’ status quo in sustainability transformation. Additionally, the practical implications of this framework are illustrated through a case study of the Education for Sustainability Hub. Consequently, four systemic interventions that facilitate this transformation are identified.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Website Education for Sustainability Hub: https://omgeving.vlaanderen.be/nl/homepage-duurzaam-educatiepunt (visited on 24 July 2023).

  2. 2.

    VOKA is the Flemish network of enterprises (see: https://www.voka.be/thema/duurzaam-ondernemen, visited on 27 July 2023).

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Correspondence to Karel Deneckere .

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Deneckere, K., Henssen, B., Crois, E. (2024). Driving the Systemic Transformation of Higher Education Institutions Towards Sustainability: The Case of Education for Sustainability Hub. In: Rotondo, F., Giovanelli, L., Lozano, R. (eds) Sustainability in Higher Education. Strategies for Sustainability. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-54026-4_4

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