Advertisement

Aiming for Full Coverage—Integrating Sustainability Education into All Undergraduate Courses at La Trobe University, Australia: Achievements, Lessons Learnt and Barriers Addressed

  • Colin HockingEmail author
  • Matthew Riddle
Chapter
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)

Abstract

In 2012, La Trobe University committed to ensuring that every undergraduate student, across all disciplines, will have significant and assessed experience of three ‘Essentials’ of learning: Sustainability Thinking; Global Citizenship; and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. These broadly align with the principles promoted through the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This initiative by La Trobe constitutes one of the first examples of whole-of-institution embedding of sustainability education into all undergraduate courses. La Trobe Essentials are more than content; they are designed to develop students’ capacity to address our most pressing global challenges. To achieve this, action was needed so that there was alignment of policy, strategy, resourcing and regulation at all levels. Each Essential is tailored within each discipline, in partnerships between University-wide curriculum officers, Faculty education teams, and course and subject coordinators. This in turn has led to agreed approaches to the development of curriculum assessment and reporting for Sustainability Thinking and the other Essentials. Auditing methods have been developed to map the occurrence of subjects likely to contain the Essentials, and as a starting point for exploring which subjects can be developed as Essentials subjects, or be re-designed for this purpose. These approaches to curriculum development and auditing may be of assistance to other higher education institutions. Examples of how Sustainability Thinking has already been incorporated include a core Sustainability Thinking unit across all Business Management courses, a cross-disciplinary elective subject on Climate, Sustainability and Society, and a large, high enrolment Humanities-based elective entitled Food for Thought. The Essentials are widely supported by academic staff. Their enthusiasm, along with senior management endorsement and curriculum expertise centrally and in Faculties, have helped to overcome many of the significant barriers encountered in implementing Sustainability Thinking across all courses.

Keywords

Whole-of-Institution Audit Curriculum development ESD Efs 

References

  1. Ambrose K, McCormack S, Riddle M (2012) Faculty of Business, Economics and Law. Report on the La Trobe Essentials Audit. Internal La Trobe University paper available from the authorsGoogle Scholar
  2. Australian Government (2009) Living Sustainably—The Australian Government’s National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability. Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts—http://www.environment.gov.au/education/publications/pubs/national-action-plan.pdf
  3. Barth M, Godemann J, Rieckmann M, Stoltenberg U (2007) Developing key competencies for sustainable development in higher education. Int J Sustain High Educ 8(16):416–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dempster JA, Benfield G, Francis R (2012) An academic development model for fostering innovation and sharing in curriculum design. Innovations Edu Teach Int 49(2):135–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fullan M, Scott G (2009) Turnaround leadership for higher education. Jossey Bass/Wiley, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  6. GUNI (2011) Global University Network for Innovation. Higher Education in the world 4: Higher education’s commitment to sustainability: from understanding to action. Palgrave, McMillanGoogle Scholar
  7. Hocking C, Daddow A, Ford R (2011) building sustainability into the core business of teaching and learning—Victoria University as a case study. In: Paper and presentation to australasian campuses towards sustainability (ACTS) annual conference, Adelaide, SeptemberGoogle Scholar
  8. Jones P, Selby D, Sterling S (2010) More than the sum of their parts? Interdisciplinarity and sustainability. In: Jones P, Selby D, Sterling S (2010) Sustainability education. Perspectives and Practices across higher education. Earthscan, London, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  9. Leask B (2012) Internationalisation of the Curriculum. www.ioc.net.au. Accessed 25 Feb 14
  10. La Trobe University (2012a) Future ready: strategic plan 2012–2017. www.latrobe.edu.au/futureready/. Accessed 30 Mar 2014
  11. La Trobe University (2012b) Teaching and learning framework—Essentials. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/teaching/la-trobe-framework/essentials. Accessed 30 Feb 14
  12. La Trobe University (2013a) Definitions of essentials. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/teaching/la-trobe-framework/essentials/definitions. Accessed 30 Feb 2014
  13. La Trobe University (2013b) La trobe graduate capabilities. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/teaching/la-trobe-framework/graduate-capabilities. Accessed 24 Feb 2014
  14. Orr D (1994) The earth in mind: on education, environment and the human prospect. Island Press, p 7Google Scholar
  15. Oxford Brooks (2014) The curriculum design intensive process. https://wiki.brookes.ac.uk/display/CDIs/Home. Accessed 30 Mar 2014
  16. Ryan A, Tilbury D (2013) Uncharted waters: voyages for education for sustainable development in the higher education curriculum. Curriculum J 24(2):272–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sawahel W (2012) University leaders worldwide sign sustainability declaration. University World News 25 May 2012 Issue No 223 www.universityworldnews.com/index.php?page=UW_Main. Accessed 25 Jan 2014
  18. Scott G, Tilbury D, Sharp L, Deane E (2012) Turnaround leadership for sustainability in higher education. Learning and Teaching Excellence Division, DEEWR, Australian Government, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  19. Spencer D, Riddle M, Knewstubb B (2012) Curriculum mapping to embed graduate capabilities. High Edu Res Dev 31(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2011.554387
  20. Tilbury D (2011) Education for sustainable development. An expert review of the processes and learning. Report to Section for Education for Sustainable Development, Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. UNESCO, United Nations (Paris)Google Scholar
  21. UNESCO Bangkok (2014) Education for sustainable development—about US ‘Vision’. http://www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=976. Accessed 30 Mar 2014
  22. Wals A (2011) The “E” in ESD: from green washing the ivory tower to deep learning for sustainability. In: Barth M, Rieckmann M, Sanusi Z (eds) 2011. Higher education for sustainable development: looking backward, moving forward. VAS-Verlag fur Akademishe Schriften (Hamburg)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Development, La Trobe Learning and Teaching (LTLT)La Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

Personalised recommendations