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Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.
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Resource facts

  • Independent of the number of students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
    4-7 lecture units
    up to 1 semester
    more than 1 semester
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English

Resource Description

Sustainability Strategy(Resource ID: 67)

The teaching resource outline "Sustainability Strategy" describes the draft of a teaching resource, that can be used to enable students to get familiar with the main elements of a sustainability strategy model and develop a list of important objectives and associated measures in the field of eco-management, as part of a fictive sustainability strategy required for the transformation to a sustainable University. The outline also lists the methods used witin the teaching resources.

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):

  1. Education
  2. Research
  3. Eco-Management
  4. Organisational cultureand social responsibility
  5. Strategicdevelopment
  6. Financialmanagement
  7. 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
  • discussion
  • brainstorming
  • focus group
  • participating observation

 

Type of teaching method
  • Creative method
Preparation
Low
Preparation Efforts Description
Preparation effort for the lecturer: - depending on the lecturer Required time for the work with the students: - Part 1: Introduction to the sustainability strategy: 1 hour - Part 2: Preperation of the focus group interview: 2 hours - Part 3: Additional preparation in two seperate groups: 2 hours - Part 4: Interview with stakeholders: 2 hours - Part 5: Simplified sustainability strategy objectives and measures: 3 hours Suggestion: first day: part 1 + 2 + 3 second day: part 4 + 5
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Necessary documents / materials

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Integration of stakeholders
Stakeholders of the eco-management of a University (green meeting, green energy, green mobility, recycling paper, organic food for canteen, ...) are invited to the University for a focus group interview. The students ask appropriate questions in order to develop a list of the most important objectives and associated measures to achieve these objectives.
Topics of sustainability
Environmental pillar of sustainability (can be modified to ecological and social pillars, depending on the cosen onjectives and actions of the strategy concept)
Situations appropriate for this method
- Interest in development of a sustainability strategy
- Development of change agents
Strengths of the method
- Strong transdisciplinary approach,
- Students learn how to develop a (simplified) sustainability strategy regarding the fields of action education, reserch and eco management,
- Students think about the needs of change on the way to a sustainable university.
- Understanding of the development process of a sustainability strategy
- Understanding the needs of a sustainable University
Weaknesses of the method
- Stakeholders must agree to spend time for a discussion with students,
- Time consuming! Maybe better a set of two teaching resources?
Assessment / evaluation
-
Sources and Links

  1. Kromp-Kolb, H. et al. (2013): Handbuch zur Erstellung von Nachhaltigkeitskonzepten für Universitäten. Arbeitsgruppe Nachhaltigkeitskonzepte der Allianz Nachhaltiger Universitäten in Österreich. Wien: Zentrum für Globalen Wandel und Nachhaltigkeit der Universität für Bodenkultur Wien in Zusammenarbeit mit der Universität Salzburg.

  2. Buchebner, J. & Kromp, R. (2014). Sustainable University – The potential of sustainability projects to foster organizational change towards sustainable universities. Wien: Zentrum für Globalen Wandel und Nachhaltigkeit der Universität für Bodenkultur

  3. Messner, I. (2012b). Untersuchung der Durchdringung exemplarisch ausgewählter Leistungsbereiche eines Großunternehmens aus dem Bildungssektor mit Aspekten der Nachhaltigkeit: Fallbeispiel Universität für Bodenkultur Wien. Endbericht zum Auftrag der Wiener Umweltschutzabteilung – MA 22 , MA 22 – 2345/2011. Wien: Doktoratskolleg Nachhaltige Entwicklung der Universität für Bodenkultur Wien.

Funded by
This teaching resource, realised within the project ConSus, has been funded with the support of the TEMPUS of the European Union. The contents reflect the views of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Contact

Richard Kromp
15031972(at)gmx.at
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Institution:
Center for Global Change and Sustainability
Date:

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