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The challenges of introducing sustainable development in the curriculum at a UK university

Lampkin, Sally R.

Authors

Sally R. Lampkin sally.lampkin@uwe.ac.uk



Abstract

It might seem that implementing sustainable development in the curriculum at universities is a straightforward win-win for all concerned, with access to expertise in the latest research and understanding concerning the issues and a dynamic, transient population who are open to change and embracing new ideas. Yet, this optimism can be faced with an institutional framework that is inflexible and non-compliant, almost draconian at times, to aspects that are not central to the success of research, funding and teaching. Academics, by nature, are strongly opinionated and have robust worldviews, which can be resistant to proposed changes to individual aspirations, ambitions and priorities. With this in mind, this paper presents the results of some first steps that were taken at a UK university regarding the introduction of sustainable development in the curriculum and the results, coming from various sectors across the institution, were very mixed. Some sectors, for example, were open to the introduction of a mandatory sustainability module for all students whilst others were not sure whether or not there was a place, or even a necessity, for sustainability considerations at all. The viable options for the university are discussed along with the influences and driving forces that affect such a move, including group dynamics, individual attitudes and behaviours, and resources and support – and how students can best help to nudge the process forward. This paper will be of interest to others who are implementing sustainable development in the curriculum, especially those taking the initial steps and finding more brick walls and reticence than opportunities.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Jun 10, 2014
Publication Date Jun 10, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Lampkin, S. R. (2014, June). The challenges of introducing sustainable development in the curriculum at a UK university. Paper presented at Supporting Employability, Society and the Environment: A Curriculum for Sustainability
Keywords education, sustainable development, university, behaviour change, academics, marketing
Publisher URL http://www.esdlondon.co.uk/
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Supporting Employability, Society and the Environment: A Curriculum for Sustainability

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paper for ESD Conf June 10th.docx (57 Kb)
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