Implementing a holistic process for embedding sustainability: A case study in first year engineering, Monash University, Australia

Rose, Geoffrey, Ryan, Kris, & Desha, Cheryl (2015) Implementing a holistic process for embedding sustainability: A case study in first year engineering, Monash University, Australia. Journal of Cleaner Production, 106, pp. 229-238.

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Abstract

While there is clear recognition of the need to incorporate sustainable development into university curricula, there is limited research that examines how to achieve that integration or evaluates its impacts on student learning. This paper responds to these knowledge gaps through a case study of curriculum renewal that involved embedding sustainability into a first year engineering curriculum. The initiative was guided by a deliberative and dynamic model for curriculum renewal that brought together internal and external stakeholders through a structured sequence of facilitated workshops and meetings. That process identified sustainability-related knowledge and skills relevant for first year engineering, and faculty members teaching in the first year program were guided through a process of curriculum renewal to meet those needs. The process through which the whole of curriculum renewal was undertaken is innovative and provides a case study of precedent in the field of education for sustainability. The study demonstrates the contribution that can be made by a web-based sustainability portal in supporting curriculum renewal. Learning and teaching outcomes were evaluated through ‘before and after surveys’ of the first year engineering students. Statistically significant increases in student's self-reported knowledge of sustainability were measured as a result of exposure to the renewed first year curriculum and this confirmed the value of the initiative in terms of enhancing student learning. While applied in this case to engineering, the process to achieve integration of sustainability into the curriculum approach is likely to have value for other academic disciplines. Considering student performance on assignments and exam questions relating to sustainability would provide a stronger basis for future research to understand the impact of initiatives like this on student learning.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 86477
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sustainability curriculum renewal, Collaborative stakeholder engagement, Learning outcomes, Virtual learning environment, Evaluation, HERN
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.02.066
ISSN: 0959-6526
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Technologies (090703)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > INTERDISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING (091500) > Engineering Practice (091503)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution; Non-Commercial; No-Derivatives 4.0 International. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.02.066
Deposited On: 30 Mar 2016 00:35
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2016 04:33

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