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Design and Implementation of Sustainability Programs in Higher Education

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2017) | Viewed by 12319

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Integrated Environmental Science Bethune-Cookman University 640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32724, USA
Interests: integrated (scientific and social) resource management and risk assessment; supradisciplinary environmental pedagogy (program and course design); environmental science; aquatic ecology

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Guest Editor
Department of political science, Oklahoma State University, 228 Murray Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
Interests: sustainability education; stakeholder participation; environmental policy; conflict management; watershed planning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will focus on the theoretical groundings and practical implementation of systems-based sustainability curriculum design and social learning approaches within higher education around the world. The Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems (SHES) approach (See Reiter et al. 2011 and 2012) is one that stresses 1) systems thinking, 2) holism, 3) supradisciplinarity, 4) revealing complexity, and 5) a systematic approach to learning. Other forms of sustainability courses, curricula and programs have been proposed—mostly from North America, Europe, Australia and Japan—but few have been tested via viability assessment and/or via learning outcomes and skill attainment. This Special Issue will encompass critical foundations, applications, and administrative aspects of the design and implementation of such programs within a variety of institutional contexts.

Prof. Richard C. Smardon
Prof. Michael A. Reiter
Prof. Will J. Focht
Guest Editors

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

  • sustainability education
  • supradisciplinarity
  • curricula and program design
  • systems based

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

1212 KiB  
Article
Longitudinal Study of the Impacts of a Climate Change Curriculum on Undergraduate Student Learning: Initial Results
by Kristin C. Burkholder, Jessica Devereaux, Caroline Grady, Molly Solitro and Susan M. Mooney
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060913 - 30 May 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5019
Abstract
The present study assesses the efficacy of a semester-long undergraduate sustainability curriculum designed from a systems approach. The three-course curriculum, which incorporated environmental science and ethics courses along with an integrative course using a community-based learning pedagogy, was intended to provide students with [...] Read more.
The present study assesses the efficacy of a semester-long undergraduate sustainability curriculum designed from a systems approach. The three-course curriculum, which incorporated environmental science and ethics courses along with an integrative course using a community-based learning pedagogy, was intended to provide students with experience using knowledge and skills from distinct disciplines in a holistic way in order to address the complex problems of the human acceptance of and response to anthropogenic climate change. In the fall of 2013, 23 of the 24 sophomore general education students enrolled in the three courses were surveyed at the beginning and end of the semester; 17 of those same students completed the survey again in the spring of 2016, their senior year. Results, which focus on the 17 students who continued to participate through their senior year, were analyzed with quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The pre/post data from the surveys demonstrated significant improvement in climate literacy, certainty, concern and urgency over the course of the semester; the senior data indicated that those improvements were largely retained. The study also suggests that the nine-credit curriculum improved transferable skills such as interdisciplinary thinking, self-confidence and public speaking. A qualitative analysis of three student cases, informed by a focus group (n = 7) of seniors along with other sources of information, suggested retention of such transferable skills, and, in some cases, deeper involvement in climate and sustainability action. Full article
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2847 KiB  
Article
Contributing to Sustainability Education of East Asian University Students through a Field Trip Experience: A Social-Ecological Perspective
by Tae Kyung Yoon, Seongjun Kim, Takako Takano, Sun-Jin Yun and Yowhan Son
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8101067 - 21 Oct 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6753
Abstract
This study reports the effects of a field trip environmental education program with a social-ecological perspective on the experience and learning of university students from China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. The students visited Jeju Island, the Saemangeum Sea Dike, the Demilitarized Zone [...] Read more.
This study reports the effects of a field trip environmental education program with a social-ecological perspective on the experience and learning of university students from China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. The students visited Jeju Island, the Saemangeum Sea Dike, the Demilitarized Zone and Seoul, South Korea. Their experiences and learning about social-ecological interactions were analyzed using the new environmental paradigm test, an evaluation questionnaire, group presentations and individual reports. Across demographic characteristics, the participants believed the program fairly presented the concept of social-ecological systems. Some developed new ideas of social-ecological systems through interpreting, transforming and contextualizing their field trip experience based on prior knowledge bases; others compared the sites to case studies. They preferred the sites where social-ecological issues were clearly presented by well-preserved landscapes, successful environmental management or environmental conflict. The results show the need for an advanced multi-dimensional methodology to evaluate students’ learning through constructive processes. The program design of this study from planning to field trip and evaluation, the field site design in which regional site resources were organized in a social-ecological context and the analysis of participants’ learning and experiences could contribute to attempts to couple the social-ecological perspective with the practice of sustainability and environmental education in field trip design. Full article
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