This teaching resource outline describes a possible teaching resource, which would enable students getting familiar with the main elements of a sustainability strategy model. Since the process of the development of a complete sustainability strategy is very complex, this teaching resource is based on a simplified model, which was developed on basis of the "Handbuch zur Erstellung von Nachhaltigkeitskonzepten für Universitäten" (1). The teaching resource aims both to provide informations about sustainability strategies and the required structure of central fields of activity of a higher education institution (HEI), as well as to foster science-society collaboration between stakeholders and students.
The integration of sustainability in the key areas of a University is a great challenge. Individual scientific disciplines have different values and interests in the context of sustainable development and their treatment in science and education. The management is an important field of action for universities, it includes measures in the field of waste management, procurement, (energy) supply and mobility. Interactions with the local environment complete the "fields of action" of Universities, which are defined as the center of social development (2, 3).
Experts of the "Alliance Sustainable Universities in Austria" published a catalogue of proposed objectives and actions for a University sustainability strategy concept. The following seven fields of action are seen as relevant for the transition to a sustainable university (2, 1):
- Organisational cultureand social responsibility
- Public relations andsocialimpact
These fields of action are the basis for the on hand teaching resource outline. Since the development of a complete sustainability strategy is far beyond the time frame, the on hand teaching resource outline focusses on the third field of action, "eco-management". If required, this method outline can easily be extended to the other fields. However, it must be underlined, that a more complex resource can not be easily embedded into an existing University lecture.
The teaching resource consists of 5 main steps:
1. Introduction to the sustainability strategy: (1 hour, powerpoint):
In the first step the lecturer provides both a short overview of seven main fields of action of a University as well as an introduction to sustainability strategies for Universities.
2. Preperation of the focus group interview: (2 hours, world cafe, discussion, brainstorming, groupwork):
Students prepare a focus group interview with 3 university extern stakeholders. All students get a short introduction to the focus group method and the participating observation method (please refer to the CONSUS method descriptions). Then the students have to discuss following questions:
Who? --> The students will brainstorm on suitable stakeholders as interview partner, which are involved in "eco-management". The goal is to find 3 stakeholders witin the topics "green meeting", "green energy", "green mobility", "recycling paper", "organic food for canteen"
When and where? --> Fixing the date and location of the interview
How can we describe our project? --> Writing and sending the invitation to the stakeholders
Who will play the host role? --> selection of the discussion leader.
Who will write the minutes (more students will work together on the minutes)
3. Additional preparation in two seperate groups: (2 hour, discussion)
All students are devided in two groups: One group will go for the focus group interview (1 host, 3 minutes writer, 2 in charge of a coffee & tea). The rest of the students will act as observer.
The lecturer informs about the different missions of the two groups. The "focus group students" will have the responsibility for the interview. The "observer students" will observe the interview.
All students together prepare the interview guidelines (--> the teaching resource should provide a catalogue of exemplar questions).
4. Interview with stakeholders: (2 hours, focus group, participating observation)
task of focus group students: host, minutes, catering
task of observer students: observation of the interview
5. Simplified sustainability strategy objectives and measures: (3 hours, discussion, groupwork)
On basis of the minutes, the students start a discussion in order to identify 5 to 10 important objectives and associated measures in the field of eco-management required for the transformation to a sustainable University.
The method set used within "Sustainability Strategy":
- case study
- world cafe
- focus group
- participating observation