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Sustainable Higher Education and Leadership

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2022) | Viewed by 16364

Special Issue Editor


E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Rutgers School of Public Health, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
2. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Interests: transformational leadership; governance models; sustainability for a just transition; change management; change agency; empowerment; social networks; stakeholder engagement; radical collaboration; higher education
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Given its primary role as a knowledge producer, higher education can serve as a powerful means to help to create a more sustainable future through its academic mission. Universities and colleges can play a critical role in developing new systemic and transformative solutions through multistakeholder collaboration. However, as organizations that have stood for many centuries in some cases, the ability of higher education institutions to deliver on sustainability demands that they too adapt to this new global agenda for change.

Change for sustainability must be led. Rather than a regulatory or discretionary activity, sustainability is reframed as a strategic agenda and essential for long-term value creation in higher education. Drawing on global megatrends and conditions of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, higher education is positioned as a force for good.

For an organization to change, individuals need to change—organizations do not change, people do. The importance of aligning actions with values to empower people to change and support others in transition draws on formal and informal leadership, networks, and power that can be leveraged to drive change in support of embracing sustainability. 

Concepts such as adaptive leadership, leading beyond one’s authority, the targets of leadership, followership, and change agency at the levels of the individual and higher education institution are of great interest. How leaders choose to frame and talk about sustainability to promote engagement and empower others to lead change across the higher education landscape is relevant to this issue. The influence of students and wider networks and associations is also important to building our understanding of leadership of sustainability in higher educational contexts. The role of university and college boards of non-executives/governors/council members in strategic leadership of governance is also relevant.

This Special Issue of Sustainability will focus on the role of leadership at all levels from the executive/administrative/board to the faculty and staff, students and alumni, and partners and stakeholders and regulators and governments, examining sustainability as a driver of change and transformation in higher education and beyond. Manuscripts can be illustrated by cases drawn from regional, national, and international levels. 

Dr. Wendy Purcell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Higher Education
  • Leadership and Governance
  • Sustainability
  • Transformation

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 2105 KiB  
Article
Identification of Waste Based on Lean Principles as the Way towards Sustainability of a Higher Education Institution: A Case Study from Indonesia
by Lusia Permata Sari Hartanti, Ivan Gunawan, Ig. Jaka Mulyana and Herwinarso Herwinarso
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4348; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14074348 - 6 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3440
Abstract
Lean management has generated new approaches to reduce non-value-adding activities in different sectors of the economy, including in higher education systems. Lean principles in higher education institutions (HEIs) contribute positively to sustainability performance. The current study aims to: (a) assess waste in HEIs [...] Read more.
Lean management has generated new approaches to reduce non-value-adding activities in different sectors of the economy, including in higher education systems. Lean principles in higher education institutions (HEIs) contribute positively to sustainability performance. The current study aims to: (a) assess waste in HEIs based on lean principles and even their potential effect on sustainability; (b) establish the relationship among wastes; (c) develop a structural model using Interpretative Structural Modeling (ISM); (d) carry out the Matrice d’impacts Croisés Multiplication Appliqué Àun Classement (MICMAC) analysis. In Phase 1 of this study, the identification of waste modes in HEIs was established. In Phase 2, risk assessment of each waste mode was conducted using the waste-Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (w-FMEA) technique. In Phase 3, ISM-MICMAC was used to identify relationships among critical waste modes. The results showed that eighteen waste modes were identified as critical in HEIs—with six waste modes being autonomous determinants; four were dependent determinants, four were linkage determinants, and four were driver determinants. This study is expected to help academicians and practitioners understand HEI’s waste types by listing the critical wastes, mapping their interrelationship, identifying the driving power and dependence, and proposing mitigation actions. It will also contribute to the growing body of literature highlighting the waste in HEIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Higher Education and Leadership)
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31 pages, 5784 KiB  
Article
Anatomy of Research Performance from a Bottom-Up Approach: Examination of Researchers’ Perspective
by Loredana Manasia, Diana Popa and Gratiela Ianos
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042254 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2159
Abstract
Performance-based research policies and programmes have fundamentally altered both organisational and individual behaviours and expectations, putting immense pressure on researchers. The soundness of research, originality, valorisation potential, and societal and economic impacts are highly valued and expected characteristics of research. Yet, our understanding [...] Read more.
Performance-based research policies and programmes have fundamentally altered both organisational and individual behaviours and expectations, putting immense pressure on researchers. The soundness of research, originality, valorisation potential, and societal and economic impacts are highly valued and expected characteristics of research. Yet, our understanding of the effects of various systemic and organisational factors on research performance is limited. In an exploratory, single-country case, this paper aimed to develop and examine different models of research performance as perceived by researchers themselves using a large cross-disciplinary sample of 553 researchers from 72 public research organisations in Romania. A pre-tested questionnaire was self-administered online, comprising seven scales: (1) recruitment and selection, (2) research recognition and value, (3) participation in research projects and teams, (4) work incentives, (5) job payment and salary, (6) career development opportunities, and (7) leadership effectiveness. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian estimators were used to test three structural models: (M1) mono-factor; (M2) intercorrelated dimensions, and (M3) the dimensions are indicators of a general construct. Additionally, a path analysis was carried out to study the relationships among the dimensions. We found that M2 and M3 fit the empirical data better. The results showed that career development programmes and opportunities gain centrality in achieving research performance by directly influencing participation and research projects and teams and mediating the effect of job payment. Revealingly, powerful work incentives within research organisations are international mobilities or appreciation awards. When informing evidence-based policies, the models we propose could serve the goal of improving research performance through talent development as the main proxy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Higher Education and Leadership)
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17 pages, 1533 KiB  
Article
Exploring Structural Relationships in Attracting and Retaining International Students in STEM for Sustainable Development of Higher Education
by Dian-Fu Chang, Kuo-Yin Lee and Chun-Wen Tseng
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1267; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031267 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3717
Abstract
Attracting and retaining international students has been widely discussed in higher education settings. Increasing the number of international students has become an indispensable strategy for national and global competition. This study focuses on effective strategies and international students’ issues regarding satisfaction in the [...] Read more.
Attracting and retaining international students has been widely discussed in higher education settings. Increasing the number of international students has become an indispensable strategy for national and global competition. This study focuses on effective strategies and international students’ issues regarding satisfaction in the most popular STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. We designed a structural equation modeling (SEM) method to determine the effect of institutional mediation between push factors and satisfaction factors for the development of better strategies by which to attract and retain international students. This study employed a self-designed questionnaire to collect data: 485 degree-seeking international students in STEM programs were invited and successfully participated in this study during spring 2021 in Taiwan. IBM SPSS 26 and AMOS 26 (Analysis of Moment Structure) were used to carry out the data analysis. We employed reliability, factor, and SEM analyses. This study assumed that the impact of push factors could be modified by institutional situations and result in international students’ satisfaction with their learning and environment and regarding migration policy. The results revealed that the predictors, mediation, and criteria were significant at the 0.05 or 0.01 levels. The findings suggest that push factors impact international students’ satisfaction when using institutional leadership and strategy. The results of the bootstrap with a generalized least-squares method showed that the SEM model fit in 2000 bootstrap samples. The effect of institutional mediation can provide useful information for STEM programs to boost their future recruitment and retention strategies. This study provides an innovative approach to the detection of issues among international students in specific programs. The design of the study can be extended to similar higher education settings. These findings can enrich our knowledge regarding attracting and retaining global students in higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Higher Education and Leadership)
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18 pages, 4889 KiB  
Article
An Evidence-Based Approach on Academic Management in a School of Public Health Using SMAART Model
by Ashish Joshi, Robyn Gertner, Lynn Roberts and Ayman El-Mohandes
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112256 - 6 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2428
Abstract
Data-driven modeling, action, and strategies have become popular, and the education community has witnessed increased interest in data-driven decision-making (DDDM). DDDM values and prioritizes decisions supported by high-quality, verifiable data that has been effectively processed and analyzed. The objective of our study is [...] Read more.
Data-driven modeling, action, and strategies have become popular, and the education community has witnessed increased interest in data-driven decision-making (DDDM). DDDM values and prioritizes decisions supported by high-quality, verifiable data that has been effectively processed and analyzed. The objective of our study is to describe the design, development, and implementation of a data-driven, evidence-based model of academic development in the context of CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) utilizing SMAART (Sustainability Multisector Accessible Affordable Reimbursable Tailored) model. The alignment of academic and student affairs within CUNY SPH brought with it several challenges. Defining roles and responsibilities across different student and academic affair units with a goal of collaborative leadership model and lack of meaningfulness were key challenges. It was important to listen to the experiences and recommendations of various individuals performing various functions in different capacities. A unified framework of key data indicators was needed to create a transparent and equitable model. An innovative interactive SMAART SPH dashboard designed, developed, and implemented to guide data-driven, evidence-based decision-making. Institutions can use a large amount of data from various sources to improve students’ learning experience, enhance research initiatives, support effective community outreach, and develop campus infrastructure to bring in sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Higher Education and Leadership)
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33 pages, 4916 KiB  
Article
A Dialogical Approach to Readiness for Change towards Sustainability in Higher Education Institutions: The Case of the SDGs Seminars at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
by Irene Ezquerra-Lázaro, Asunción Gómez-Pérez, Carlos Mataix, Miguel Soberón, Jaime Moreno-Serna and Teresa Sánchez-Chaparro
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9168; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169168 - 16 Aug 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3340
Abstract
The transformation for sustainability requires a paradigm shift towards systems thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration, which entails, above all, a process of cultural change affecting individual mindsets, organizations and society as a whole. Sustainability in higher education institutions (HEIs) has been a recurrent research [...] Read more.
The transformation for sustainability requires a paradigm shift towards systems thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration, which entails, above all, a process of cultural change affecting individual mindsets, organizations and society as a whole. Sustainability in higher education institutions (HEIs) has been a recurrent research field in the past decades. However, little attention has been paid to the processes of internal and cultural change and, in particular, to the first steps to prepare academic communities for change. Understanding “readiness for change” as a core organizational competency to overcome continuous environmental changes and considering the diluted hierarchy at HEIs, this article proposes the adoption of dialogical and developmental approaches in a single action case, the SDGs Seminars at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. This methodology was used to diagnose organizational and individual readiness for change considering cognitive, affective and behavioural components, and to identify consequences in organizational structures and culture. Our findings reveal that reframing dialogical spaces in HEIs to experience a collaborative and sustainability culture can unlock change, breaking down organizational silos, reducing resistances and engaging academic communities in the cocreation of institutional strategies. Furthermore, the case suggests that acting at the group level has impacts both on the individual and institutional levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Higher Education and Leadership)
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