Responsibility in higher education - a course to strengthen sustainability in the teaching programs

Project A3-31

The drivers behind this project were the idea that universities have a unique opportunity to train and inspire students to be leaders in society’s transition to sustainability and the question, “Why isn’t sustainable development more prevalent in university curricula?” This project focused on the development and delivery of a professional development course in which university teachers could develop authentic and meaningful ways to integrate themes and topics of sustainability into their teaching.

Course outcomes
Through 3 workshops, a professional development day for teacher trainers, and a public finale event, this project reached over 200 people from around 40 different departments within Swiss and German universities and also from non-profit organizations. Participants advanced their understanding of and readiness to use innovative pedagogies for meaningfully incorporating issues of sustainable development into their teaching. This project also energized a core network of people passionate about education for sustainable development. Participants shared ideas and resources as they worked to improve their teaching in order to better prepare students for the pressing, real-world challenges they are bound to encounter in a changing world.

Course methodologies
The workshop format evolved over the course of the project period as we worked to find the best model for university staff in the unique climate of our university. The first workshop balanced presentations by content experts who presented sustainable development from their subject-specific points of view and experienced teachers sharing tips and tricks for integrating sustainability into one’s teaching. By the second workshop, there was a much greater focus on pedagogical tools and time for participants to present and develop their own teaching ideas. The third workshop followed a different model again, one in which experts from economics and education were invited to convene on the subject of the role of post growth society in education for sustainable development. Throughout the whole grant period, the workshops prioritized networking and perspective sharing from their diverse participant groups. The presentations, discussions, and course materials of this project have helped participants deepen and broaden their personal understanding of sustainable development. The project has given participants practical tools and support to innovate their teaching, infusing it with sustainability-based concepts and skills.

Das Foto wurde vom Projekt zur Verfügung gestellt.

Project leader
Ms. Sara Petchey
University of Zurich
Institute for Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Involved universities

University of Zurich

Project duration

1.6.2015 - 31.12.2016


Summary of grant activities

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