Mercè Junyent Pubill
Mercè Junyent i Pubill holds a degree in biology and a doctorate in pedagogy. She is a professor in the department of didactic mathematics and experimental sciences at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and researcher at the Grup de Recerca Còmplex. She is the coordinator of the interuniversity doctorate in environmental education at UAB. Areas of research: (i) environmental education for sustainability in initial professor training; (ii) curricular environmentalization in obligatory education and in higher education; (iii) professional competencies in education for sustainability. Participant in several national and international networks related to education for sustainability, among them the Research Network on Education for Sustainability (Xarxa Edusost) and the UNESCO International Network Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability.
In this interview, Mercè Junyent talks about the competencies of Higher Education professionals on sustainability and highlights the least developed competencies and what are the training needs for Higher Education professionals.
1. What are the competencies that higher education (HE) professionals would have to have to be able to successfully carry out the transitions to sustainability in higher education institutions (HEIs)?
HE professionals, we should base our teaching, research or action on a wide perspective, multi-scale and multidimensional, with competencies to build knowledge, develop procedures, manage actor networks and integrate sustainable principles, values and practices.
In a very synthetic manner we could define some competencies we consider that we would have to activate, such as: visualize alternative future scenarios, contextualize, work in and from complexity, think in a critical and creative manner, participate and act for transformation and establish a dialogue between the disciplines and areas of knowledge.
2. What kinds of competencies do you believe are the least developed or are most lacking in HE professionals?
Competency, in work and research, from a real inter- and trans-disciplinary perspective is still weak in HE professionals. Knowledge is found too packaged up and thus it is difficult to tackle phenomenons from a perspective of complexity.
I would also rule out all those competencies related, along with creativity, and as much in teaching as in research, that often have much to do with our innovative capacity.
Finally, the capacity to envision alternative future scenarios to promote the comprehension and the research of more sustainable and desirable future scenarios.
3.What would have to change in the initial and continuing training of professionals that work in HE? Towards what would we have to guide this training?
On one hand professionals need, being in whichever area, to be conscience of the importance of integration of the work from a perspective of sustainability and notice that this focus gives a quality added value to their educative and research action. This idea would also be the key to assume it at the level of university institutions, and it would be encouraged.