Initiating and Managing a University-wide, Transdisciplinary Commitment to Sustainability at a Large Public Institution
Arizona State University has a university-wide, transdisciplinary commitment to sustainability education, research, and outreach and business operations. All academic, administrative, business and support units are expected to participate in achieving its sustainability goals and are guided by the university’s Global Institute of Sustainability. Achieving these goals at scale in a large public university (2010 enrollment of 71000 students) is challenging, but can be accomplished when visibly supported by the institution’s chief executive officer.
Educational Innovation in Universitary Education. A proposal from the UNESCO Chair in Environmental Education and Sustanaible Development (UNED)
The Unesco Chair in Environmental Education and Sustainable Development of UNED considers that the methodological changes motivated by the Bolonia Process offer an opportunity to intensify the research in the field of teaching innovation. Following this line of work, it is carrying out multiple pilot projects to optimize the use of IT and software applications to reinforce the methodological procedures of its formative model (Novo et al., 2010). Two projects are presented in this work, which are focused on two educational strategies, respectively: a) online groups of collaborative learning, which is a technique that promotes teamwork and enhances participation, discussion and divergent thinking; and b) the construction of conceptual maps, which is a technique that enhances analytical and rational thinking, using the editor Cmap tools.
Grassroots Cross‐boundary Innovation in Higher Education: Lessons from the Process of Designing Transformative
The Initiative for Transformative Sustainability Education (ITSE) at Wageningen University is a grassroots working group of academics, teachers, and students who have developed a framework for cross‐boundary sustainability education that addresses theoretical knowledge and practical skills, but also guides students to question their values, attitudes and behavior, develop leadership skills, learn to empower themselves and others, and learn to facilitate social and collaborative learning among a great diversity of stakeholders.
As higher education worldwide leans towards privatisation and universities focus on increasing their market value through commercialisation, a movement that promotes openness, free access to learning resources, and emphasises the social function of higher education is growing rapidly. Open Educational Resources (OER) are the spearhead of a broader trend towards open access to knowledge that is based on a participative and socially responsible understanding of education. In this paper, we discuss some of the main features of OER, an emerging field of interest, that will have its own little space in the next GUNI Higher Education in the World report.
As the Talloires Declaration states, institutions of higher education “do not exist in isolation from society, nor from the communities in which they are located. Instead, they carry a unique obligation to listen, understand, and contribute to social transformation and development”. In this article, Susan E. Stroud and Elizabeth Babcock explain how the Talloires Network of universities helps to promote the civic roles and social responsibilities of their member institutions as well as to deepen engagement with local and global communities.
Leadership for the public good, a collective achievement: the Research Center for Leadership in ActionLeadership for the public good, a collective achievement: the Research Center for Leadership in Action
The Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) was established as a dynamic center of learning, teaching and research skills with the aim of solving urban and social problems and strengthening public service. It is housed within the New York University (NYU) Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with the core commitment to integrating theory and practice.
In 2001, the project "Universidad Construye País" (University Builds Country) was launched in Chile. Its aim was to carry out coordinated, joint social responsibility activities in the country’s universities. One of the people behind this project is the rector of the Catholic University of Temuco, Mónica Jiménez de la Jara. In this article, she analyses the development of the project and its conceptual roots, and discusses the most important aspects of theories and practices of university social responsibility. The initiative is included in GUNI’s Universities and Social Commitment Observatory.
Universities have often been focal points in the defence of human rights. In this issue, we give examples of universities that have acted in response to or have stood up to denounce human rights abuses during conflicts or dictatorships in their countries.
Higher education institutions have always played an important role in the development of their respective regions. In this article, Francisco Marmolejo, the Executive Director of the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, states that this contribution cannot, nor indeed should not, restrict itself to economic development, but should include social, cultural and environmental considerations. This requires greater cooperation between institutions and with their communities and changes within the institutions, allowing that regional development activities are put on the same level as research and teaching.
Several of the most pressing problems and challenges faced by humankind were identified in 2000 as Millennium Development Goals. World governments made a commitment to meet these goals by 2015. To what extent are these goals a subject of concern for higher education? Should higher education institutions take heed of and participate in the debate surrounding these issues? In what ways can they take an active and participatory role in the face of these challenges? These are some of the questions put forward in the call for submissions to the Second Essay Competition of the International Association of Universities (IAU). In this article, Goolam Mohamedbhai, president of the IAU, presents several ideas on how to respond to those questions and invites international higher education experts and researchers to participate in this Essay Competition.
University cooperation is rapidly changing its identity.
In this article, Yazmín Cruz, GUNI project officer, states that quality cannot be an abstract, unimportant notion: it must be applied to a specific context and in relation to the relevance of an institution and its role in solving the problems faced by a community.
Higher education institutions constitute an apparently privileged space within which society can question, experiment with and even confront itself. In theory, they can be an environment for creative endeavour. However, numerous contradictions encountered in practice hinder or even impede this being the case. In this article, Nanci Lee underlines the potential and creativity that the combination of arts and higher education can offer. Through the use of examples and different voices, the author reveals and interprets the real experiences that show how this combination can be a vehicle for social change. Nanci Lee has collaborated with the Universities and Social Commitment Observatory and forms part of the Scientific Committee of the next GUNI Conference for the thematic line on Higher education, arts and creativity. - Nanci Lee
Although the Bologna process is not without faults, it can be of interest to nations outside Europe. The model on which the European Higher Education Area was based may provide inspiration for other parts of the world. On the African continent, where higher education is a major area of hope for development, the opportunities and difficulties presented by the creation of an African Higher Education Area (AHEA) are being considered. The European model can serve as an example from which to draw lessons and conclusions.
The author presents a framework of intercultural competence, based on a grounded-research approach. This framework, has found resonance in different cultural contexts, and can be used to guide curriculum and assessment as well as to raise questions for further research and discussion.
Participatory processes have been identified as one of the most powerful engines to provoke real transformations in higher education institutions, in order to help them, and those with whom they engage, face the growing demands and challenges of an increasingly globalized and environmentally exhausted world. The forthcoming GUNI report will focus on these processes, among other emerging topics. Peter Taylor, the report’s Guest Editor, has prepared for GUNI, with input from a wider international group, an article that both explains and advocates for the need to start embracing participatory development from Universities.
This article explains the Academic Impact initiative started by the United Nations. Along with the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005—2014, DESD), and the UN Millennium Development goals, Academic Impact assumes an active role of assuring ten universally accepted principles in the areas of literacy, human rights, sustainability and conflict resolution, amongst others.
Higher Education's Commitment to Sustainability: from Understanding to Action
All over the world, those who shape and fund higher education systems are engaged in a dramatic period of reform. Their interests have converted higher education into a priority sector within society, relevant for the productive sector and capable of leading the economic, social and human development of their respective societies. This constant search of identity leads to prospective exercises, which not always create similar scenarios. In this article, John A. Douglass, senior research fellow of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California-Berkeley, and author of the new book, The Conditions for Admission, offers us his own vision about this development, with an enriching and maybe provocative positioning. Identifying elements of a global higher education scenario might allow considering actions, which open up alternative visions of the future. Higher education systems could find other directions into which to evolve. Emphasizing even more the importance to contribute to human and social development, they might well opt for a collaborative approach rather than a competitive one.
In this article Marianne E. Krasny, Cecilia Lundholm and Ryan Plummer present the Special Issue on “Resilience in social-ecological systems: the roles of learning and education”, published in Environmental Education Research, Volume 16 (5, 6), 2010.