Academic Development as a Vehicle to Deliver Sustainability Education

  • Sarah Holdsworth
  • Ian Thomas
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 12)


Humanity is currently experiencing a rapid decline in its environmental and social systems. Disciplines of the built environment contribute to this decline as they have a major impact on the environment through site modification and consumption of natural resources across all aspect of a building’s lifecycle. Sustainable buildings and the ’intelligent building’ are required if we are to decrease the impact of the constructed environment on the natural environment. This can only be achieved if we develop ‘intelligent graduates’ with an understanding of sustainability principles and capabilities, as they relate to the build environment, and this can only be achieved, if they are taught by ‘intelligent’ academics with an understanding of sustainability education.

However, the current situation is reinforced by an education system that educates for, and reinforces behaviours that contributes to such decline. A change in values and behaviour is required if these trends are to reverse. Current approaches to education are more aligned to educational practice than to praxis and are not necessarily the best models to achieve this transformative change. Sustainability education has been advocated as one way of achieving what is required. Unfortunately, the principles of sustainability education have not yet been integrated into mainstream curricula. This is especially critical in universities, as they operate within a broad societal context and have the potential to contribute to social dynamism, economic security and environmental sustainability. Academic development is a key way to create change in academic learning and teaching praxis and assist in the integration of sustainability education.

This paper investigates, through an international literature review, academic development as a vehicle for the development of skills and capabilities within the educational community; facilitating greater understanding of the ‘intelligent building’ and sustainability within universities. It focuses on the following areas sustainability education, academic development and organisational change – believed to be the critical elements required to be addressed within Higher Education that will most likely result in systemic change.


Deep Learning Pedagogical Knowledge Reflective Practice Learning Culture Academic Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Holdsworth
    • 1
  • Ian Thomas
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Property Construction and Project ManagementRMIT UniversityAustralia
  2. 2.School of Global Studies, Social Science and PlanningRMIT UniversityAustralia

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