Advancing higher education for sustainable development : international insights and critical reflections
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Science citation index
Journal of cleaner production / Masson. - Science citation index
, p. 3-9
University of Antwerp
Historically, universities have played many roles in transforming societies, by educating decision-makers, leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics. However, education and research on sustainability in universities is at an early stage in many institutions. This introduction highlights findings from articles, most of which were presented at the Environmental Management for Sustainable Universities (EMSU) 2010 conference, held at Delft, the Netherlands. The articles contribute to answering the questions: 1. Are universities leading in the development of sustainable development mental models and paradigms and in transferring the related sustainable development memes to their students or are they reacting to stimuli from society and thus the sustainable development memes are being transferred to the universities from the society? 2. What can university leaders and their faculty do to ensure that sustainable development becomes an integral part of the Universitys culture? The starting point of this special volume is a paper on declarations and initiatives for Education for Sustainable Development which is complemented by a paper on inter-linking the declarations to the universitys commitment and policies. Two papers explore campus operations and greenhouse gases, whilst three papers focus on curricula for sustainable development. Then two papers are included, which address multi-stakeholder regional collaboration, via linking the university to small and medium size enterprises through sustainable development initiatives. They are complemented with new perspectives on attitudes and perceptions of students to environmental and sustainability issues. The final two papers focus on transdisciplinary research and on a new metaphor designed to help faculty, students and societal members work is harmony with our ecosystem. Collectively, these articles provide an encouraging, holistic and trans-disciplinary perspective on higher education for sustainable development via articles that provide critical reflections on methodological perspectives where the sciences meet the arts. The articles were selected to encourage educators, globally to engage in sustainable development initiatives within and outside their universities.