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Education for Sustainability across the curriculum: engaging the disciplines at UTAS


Davison, AG, Education for Sustainability across the curriculum: engaging the disciplines at UTAS, Higher Education Research and Development Society Conference, 2-5 July, Hobart (2012) [Conference Extract]

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This showcase reports on a process of campus-wide consultation on opportunities and constraints for embedding education for sustainability (EfS) in the UTas curriculum. During twenty five years of discussion, EfS has been enshrined as a core responsibility of higher education in many international, national and institutional declarations of intent. In Australia, advances in implementing EfS have been made in two areas» the greening of university operations and specialist sustainability curriculum»although much remains to be done. Relatively little progress has been made, however, in embedding EfS across the curriculum so as to realise the ambition of establishing sustainability as an interdisciplinary competence, a generic attribute, of all graduates. This presentation addresses reasons for this lack of progress through drawing on discussions with teaching staff in a wide variety of disciplines. The success of campus greening and specialist curriculum is linked to the influence of an instrumental approach to EfS that understands sustainability as a discrete body of objective knowledge with normative implications. Education is here viewed as an instrument to ensure dissemination of knowledge, which, it is assumed, will precipitate ethical action. This approach is resisted by many across the disciplines unconvinced of the relevance of EfS or concerned that it resembles politically-motivated indoctrination. It is argued that an intrinsic approach to EfS, which understands sustainability as a learning process, offers presently underdeveloped strategies for embedding EfS across the curriculum. This approach locates the normative impetus for EfS in higher education with critical inquiry rather than with specific knowledge claims.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Davison, AG (Associate Professor Aidan Davison)
ID Code:82206
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2013-01-22
Last Modified:2013-01-22

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