Academics’ Opinions and Practices of Education for Sustainable Development

Reflections on a nation-wide, mixed-methods, multidisciplinary study

Authored by: Belinda Christie , Kelly Miller

Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415727303
eBook ISBN: 9781315852249
Adobe ISBN: 9781317918110


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To ensure that Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is present in the classroom of every university student, research is required to understand how those responsible for teaching value, understand and practice ESD (Reid and Petocz 2006). Given the relative academic freedom university teachers enjoy, the decision of what and how to teach lies largely with the individual academic (Åkerlind and Kayrooz 2003; Shephard and Furnari 2013). An academic’s own perception of sustainability will influence if and how they teach it, and in turn influence the quality of their own students’ understanding and potential practice of the concept (Cotton et al. 2007; Prosser and Trigwell 1997; Reid and Petocz 2006). Indeed, previous studies have noted that academics’ perceptions of sustainability have been a major inhibitor to ESD curricula inclusion, with many believing that ESD is not relevant to their discipline (Cotton and Winter 2010; Dawe et al. 2005; Velazquez et al. 2005).

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