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Teaching sustainability : vehicle or endpoint?

Gray, Matthew, Brown, Richard J., Miller, Evonne, Buys, Laurie, & Dawes, Les A. (2011) Teaching sustainability : vehicle or endpoint? In Chandra, Vinesh, Hudson, Peter B., & Lee, Kar-Tin (Eds.) Proceedings of the STEM in Education Conference : Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education Conference, STEM/Queensland University of Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld, 1 -11.

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Abstract

In 2006, the Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering introduced the first faculty wide unit dedicated to sustainability at any Australian University. BEB200 Introducing Sustainability has semester enrolments of up to 1500 students. Instruments such as lectures, readings, field visits, group projects and structured tutorial activities are used and have evolved over the last five years in response to student and staff feedback and attempts to better engage students. More than seventy staff have taught in the unit, which is in its final offering in this form in 2010.

This paper reflects on the experiences of five academics who have played key roles in the development and teaching of this unit over the last five years. They argue that sustainability is a paradigm that allows students to explore other ways of knowing as they engage with issues in a complex world, not an end in itself. From the students’ perspective, grappling with such issues enables them to move towards a context in which they can understand their own discipline and its role in the contradictory and rapidly changing professional world. Insights are offered into how sustainability units may be developed in the future.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 40964
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Sustainability, Epistemology, Hermeneutic Circules, Systems Thinking, Complexity
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > OTHER ENGINEERING (099900) > Engineering not elsewhere classified (099999)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900) > Education not elsewhere classified (139999)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Education. Queensland University of Technology - Brisbane Australia.
Deposited On: 30 Mar 2011 09:08
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 22:12

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