Article

Students as change agents in a town-wide sustainability transformation: The Oberlin Project at Oberlin College

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Abstract

Free copy available on Science Direct until Sept 30 2015: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1RWc5_ghvFLLCb An increasing number of colleges and universities are playing a crucial role in driving societal transformations and creating the physical and social conditions for accelerating progress towards sustainability. The potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships to enrich sustainability education through experiential learning is well documented. Yet there is less knowledge about the impacts on partnerships that result from student participation and the models that facilitate students to serve as agents of change and research. To address this knowledge gap, we examine the Oberlin Project at Oberlin College, an ambitious community partnership aimed at town-wide climate neutrality and sustainability. Findings show that contributions to stakeholder learning and partnership progress can occur through student participation models such as project-based learning, transacademic research, and internships.

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... Hesselbarth and Schaltegger (2014) also support the idea that a person "on all levels internal or external of an organization" can be a sustainability change agent regardless of their position (p.26). Daneri et al. (2015) note that students can be sustainability change agents while still in the learning process. This approach, according to the authors, can involve students to facilitate addressing sustainability issues and can be achieved through certain learning approaches, including "project-based learning, trans academic research, and internships." ...
Thesis
Humanity is facing environmental, social, and economic challenges, including climate change, inequality, and poverty. Different initiatives, such as the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and the Paris Agreement are introduced to deal with these challenges. Furthermore, several researchers conducted studies to identify sustainability competencies (SCs), i.e., integrated knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to contribute to a more sustainable future. These studies are typically conducted based on Western worldviews. As a result, the existing SC frameworks are not comprehensive enough to include non-Western worldviews, contexts, and related indigenous knowledge (IK). This dissertation argues that sustainability challenges are complex, and that the collaboration of several stakeholders and the use of diverse worldviews are required to address them. For sustainability challenges to be effectively addressed at the global level, integrating non-Western perspectives in the development of SCs is essential. The 2021 UNESCO report ‘Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education’ strongly advocates the inclusion of IK in education worldwide. The dissertation articulated the SCs that are specifically needed in this respect and assessed teaching methods by which they can be developed in higher education. The studies in this dissertation focused on identifying competencies that facilitate efforts toward a more sustainable future and exploring different means of fostering these competencies. Accordingly, the first study identified SCs for the Ethiopian context, as a country with different socioeconomic characteristics than Western contexts. The other studies focus on fostering SCs of higher education students, future sustainability change agents. These studies explored the potential contributions of using IK with modern education in Ethiopia. The studies also proposed education design principles of integrating IK with modern higher education systems. One of the studies on enhancing SCs explored the contributions of multiple learning approaches in a real-world environment to fostering the systems thinking competence of learners. The findings of this dissertation contribute to theoretical discourses on sustainable development, competence, SCs, education for sustainable development, the constructivist learning literature, and IK. The findings also have societal implications related to the SDGs, education and training in sustainable development, the role of stakeholders, including policymakers, teachers, and students. Keywords: sustainable development; sustainability; indigenous knowledge; education for sustainable development; sustainability competencies; education for sustainability; ESD; competencies; Ethiopia; base of the pyramid; sustainability competence; corporate social responsibility; systems thinking; mobile learning; real-world learning; field trips; learning approaches; education design principles; Delphi; exploratory experimental design; focus group.
... The field of sustainability science has identified key roles of students through internships and project-based learning in contributing to transitions to more sustainable systems. Specifically, students are important change agents within transacademic research, which is transdisciplinary and engages academic and non-academic stakeholders in knowledge co-creation (Rosenberg Daneri et al. 2015;Trencher et al. 2016). However, students' roles in facilitating two-way communication of knowledge have been unrecognized and underutilized (Trencher et al. 2014). ...
Article
Collaborations between researchers and stakeholders can facilitate novel and effective approaches to addressing water resource management challenges, such as restoring river systems. Managing the boundary between researchers and stakeholders is key to ensuring the credibility (produced by scientific inquiry), salience (value to stakeholders), and legitimacy (reflecting differing stakeholder perspective) of knowledge produced that informs restoration processes. Boundary organizations provide an institutionalized approach for stabilizing researcher-stakeholder collaborations. Using qualitative methods, we contrasted the science-policy boundary within two watersheds pursuing river restoration, focusing our research on factors contributing to the potential roles and emergence of boundary organizations. We found that perception of restoration state influenced the identified roles of boundary organizations. Stakeholders noted their value in shifting public perception and measuring restoration progress in more impaired systems, while also noting their importance in leveraging restoration gains into community benefits in more restored systems. Our research highlights the importance of flexibility in managing the science-policy boundary. As restoration gains are achieved, the role boundary organizations play may need to be reevaluated to leverage these gains. Researchers and stakeholders described time and resources as key barriers to transitioning informal researcher-stakeholder collaborations into new boundary organizations. Existing collaborative mechanisms can facilitate such transitions. We identified a potential role for students as boundary emissaries in managing the science-policy boundary. Our findings suggest students and student learning are important for fostering collaborations and stabilizing researcher-stakeholder partnerships that contribute to achieving river restoration gains.
... More formal institutional spaces for transformative sustainability science projects on salient and existential issues with key stakeholders are required, formalization is expected to stabilize these as learning environments. Approaches such as those described by Evans et al. [39] and Rosenberg et al. [40] in this volume seem complementary to the approach of building a dedicated study programme to build capacity for engaging scientists and citizens in sustainability science. Possible forms for such institutional spaces can include multi-year research projects. ...
... The current situation in education, revealing the limitations of the "techne" principle, showed the relevance of the transition to the "payday" principle as a desire for philosophical reflection on moral and ethical education and culture (Rosenberg, Trencher & Petersen, 2015). The fact that any weakening of the scientific nature and soundness in education leads to easier public perception of parascientific schemes also adds to the urgency of the problem of fundamentalization of education. ...
Article
The article outlines peculiarities of the paradigm of fundamentalization of education in pedagogical higher educational institutions (HEIs) of Ukraine on the basis of the concept of sustainable development, namely: 1) performance of three interconnected functions of education — training, education, development; development of students’ ability to understand and implement sustainable development strategy in their future professional activity; 2) compliance of the paradigm with modern principles of structuring scientific knowledge, which are based on the internal logic of science, its place and role in the development of civilization in the 21st century; 3) ensuring the integrity of knowledge by integrating it around the core of fundamental scientific concepts; concentrated presentation of the fundamental laws and principles of science from a single methodological position, which allows building bridges between different subjects, without destroying their subject certainty; 4) formation of the theoretical type of scientific thinking of students; creation of intellectual, ethical and cultural foundation for personal self-development; 5) knowledge of modern information and communication technologies; oral and written communication in a foreign language. To acquaint students with the latest scientific achievements of mankind, the teacher must constantly “keep abreast” of socio-economic and environmental achievements of civilization on the basis of sustainable development, transform them into the content of the subject, as well as develop quality teaching and methodological support for its further understanding by future specialists. Given the rapid reduction of time between the invention and its widespread use, the content of subjects quickly becomes obsolete, which causes the inevitable lag of professional training of students behind the needs of modern society. To trace the synergy of humanization and ecologisation in the context of the fundamentalization of education on the basis of sustainable development, we studied the curricula of a number of pedagogical HEIs of Ukraine, namely: National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, Oleksandr Dovzhenko Hlukhiv National Pedagogical University, Volodymyr Vynnychenko Central Ukrainian Pedagogical University, Rivne State Pedagogical Institute, Ternopil Volodymyr Hnatiuk National Pedagogical University.
... • Assessment: In projects or systems with clear boundaries, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Mass Flow Accounting (MFA) provide good guidance. LCA for instance uses the very clear parameters such as climate change, depletion of material resources, land use impacts and water use impacts as well as toxicity and acidification impacts (Curran, 2015). ...
Book
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Universities are enhancing their contribution to a sustainable world by developing sustainable campuses and by stimulating implementation of scientific findings, among other things. However, for university managerial, strategic or support staff responsible for this transformation, there is no appropriate, available material on how to do this. Instead, an abundance of material is available on why it is important and there are several reports in scientific journals on the expertise behind that. This puts great pressure on those staff members, who have scarce time and money and need to reliably generate results but have to learn on the job or gather information through peers in oral or case study form. The goal of this handbook is to help practitioners increase the speed of putting sustainability science and education into practice by maximizing the possibilities of campuses and to speed up sustainability in campuses by maximizing researcher and student input. The book builds on hands-on experience and analyzing operational practice in Living Labs on campuses and in the literature. The booklet takes a pragmatic approach; therefore, we have limited references to those necessary and given a mix of theoretical and scientific papers, workshop reports, websites and more experience-based books to guide interested readers and practitioners. While writing the booklet, we have assumed that your university already has some sustainability program in place. This booklet is the first version. The authors are fully aware of the wealth of experiences generated in universities around the world. Therefore, all remarks, comments and suggestions will be gathered through our website www.campusaslivinglab.org and will be discussed and used by practitioners and co-writers. As experience grows, we envision this handbook becoming part of the standard material for university sustainability coordinators around the world, staying up-to-date through their input and acknowledging the value of that co-creation process. We hope that it helps university sustainability offices as well as all stakeholders involved in sustainability education, innovation and implementation.
... Research projects can provide an active learning-teaching-research environment for engaging 26 and educating students Wiek et al., 2014a). In recent years programs 27 that apply problem-based or project-based learning approaches have increasingly been 28 established (Brundiers and Wiek, 2013;Rosenberg Daneri et al., 2015). These learner-centered 29 approaches change the traditional role of teachers to coaches and facilitators, empowering 30 students to decide themselves what and how to learn (Brundiers and Wiek, 2011;Stauffacher et 31 al., 2006). ...
... Students were targeted for this study because of their perceived awareness of environmental issues and knowledge about environmentally friendly products (Bong Ko & Jin 2017). In addition, they are considered as opinion leaders on many issues in society (Daneri, Trencher & Petersen 2015) and, therefore, their views on environmental concerns are critical in understanding the consumption of green products in the Zimbabwean context. More importantly, college students are on the verge of gainful employment and, therefore, are potential consumers of green products in the future. ...
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Higher education institutions (HEI) have the potential to engage local and global communities in transformative learning for sustainable principles and practices. However, transforming a university campus into a model of sustainable development and best practice is a challenging task. It is only possible by engaging students, faculty, staff, and the campus community, as well as local and global partners. During the last decade Canadian universities have ramped up their efforts in order to support community engagement and partnerships. They aim to connect their research and innovation capacity with the policy and implementation challenges of partner organizations. The University of British Columbia (UBC) has actively pursued sustainability goals and targets for over twenty years. By establishing the University Sustainability Initiative (USI), UBC went a step further than other Canadian universities. The paper presents an overview of the evolution of the university’s sustainability strategy and focuses on sustainability-related developments within the last decade. It discusses five on-campus and off-campus engagement programs that contribute to UBC’s sustainability goals: the SEEDS program, Sustainability Ambassadors, “UBC Reads Sustainability”, Student Sustainability Council, and Sustainability-in-Residence, the Greenest City Scholars at the Point Grey campus in Vancouver, Canada. These programs exemplify joint efforts for promoting sustainable behaviors and practices that contribute to a net-positive campus and promote human and ecological wellbeing. Developments and findings discussed in the paper could be of value for many HEI interested in successful ways to engage students, staff, faculty, and the broader community in the practice of sustainability.
Chapter
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This study explores the relationships between environmental attitude, green product knowledge, attitude towards purchasing green products, green product purchasing intention, and green purchasing behaviour. Using a cross-sectional survey approach, a random sample of 284 undergraduate students in a Zimbabwean polytechnic completed a self-administered questionnaire. Structural equation modelling (maximum likelihood estimation) was used to analyse the data. The findings indicate that there are positive associations between the following pairs of variables: environmental attitude and attitude towards green purchasing; green product knowledge and green purchasing intention; green product knowledge and green purchasing behaviour; attitude towards green purchasing and green purchasing intention; green purchasing intention and green purchasing behaviour; as well as a non-significant relationship between green product knowledge and attitude towards green. The findings reported that the Theory of Reasoned Action fully supported the students’ intention to buy green products, which then affects their green purchase behaviour. The inclusion of additional constructs to the proposed model was partially supported. The study results highlight the importance of considering product knowledge and other attitudinal factors—specifically environmental attitude and attitude towards green purchasing—when marketing environmentally-friendly products to college-level students. Keywords: attitude; green purchasing intention; green purchasing behaviour; theory of reasoned action; Zimbabwe
Thesis
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Pressure to change the design of the doctorate is increasing, causing a tension between a politically driven emphasis to prepare PhD researchers for mobility beyond academia and current, scholarship-oriented, practices of traditional doctoral education. Research typically advocates that doctoral students need support to mobilise their expertise across boundaries, but there is a paucity of empirical studies investigating how such support could be provided and how different aspects of the required expertise might be developed. In this thesis, I therefore seek to understand and intervene in the development of boundary crossing collaborations, focusing on developing the forms of expertise required to prepare students for a relational future. My analysis draws on data from an 8-month long Change Laboratory research-intervention, which brought humanities doctoral students from a university together with non-academic professionals working for a UK charity. Applying relational working as an analytical framework, I trace the extent to which common knowledge, relational expertise and relational agency developed over the course of the intervention and highlight aspects of the intervention design that were most influential on that development. The findings suggest that incorporating additional practitioners, external but connected to the host organisation’s activity system, stimulated the development of common knowledge. Additionally, introducing the mediating stimulus of an activity system model, which participants perceived to be a ‘neutral’ focus for discussion, supported relational applications of individual expertise. Furthermore, the shared responsibility for producing data encouraged throughout the intervention seemingly fostered the internal and external verification of researcher expertise. Overall, I propose that interventions of this kind have the potential to become a new pedagogic medium, the Relational Change Laboratory (RCL), whose aim is to stimulate accelerated reciprocal learning within humanities doctoral education. Such an intervention, I argue, can alter the boundary crossing practices and outcomes for both students and host organisations.
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Purpose Universities can do more to deliver against the sustainable development goals (SDGs), working with faculty, staff and students, as well as their wider stakeholder community and alumni body. They play a critical role in helping shape new ways for the world, educating global citizens and delivering knowledge and innovation into society. Universities can be engines of societal transformation. Using a multiple case study approach, this study aims to explore different ways of strategizing sustainability toward delivering the SDGs are explored in a university setting with an example from the UK, Bulgaria (Europe) and USA. Design/methodology/approach The first case is a public UK university that adopted enterprise and sustainability as its academic mission to secure differentiation in a disrupted and increasingly marketized global higher education sector; this became a source of inspiration for change in regional businesses and the local community. The second case is a business sector-led sustainability-driven transformation working with a private university in Bulgaria to catalyze economic regeneration and social innovation. Finally, a case from the office for sustainability in a major US research university is given to show how its engagement program connected faculty and students in sustainability projects within the institution and with external partners. Findings Each case is in effect a “living lab,” positioning sustainability as an intentional and aspirational strategy with sustainable development and the SDG framework a means to that end. Leadership at all levels, and by students, was key to success in acting with a shared purpose. Partnerships within and with universities can help accelerate delivery of the SDGs, enabling higher education to make a fuller contribution to sustaining the economic, environmental, cultural and intellectual well-being of our global communities. Originality/value The role of universities as the engine of transformational sustainability toward delivering the SDGs has been explored by way of three case studies that highlight different means toward that end. The collegiate nature of the higher education sector, with its shared governance models and different constituencies and performance drivers, means that sustainability at a strategic level must be led with leaders at all levels acting with purpose. The “living lab” model can become a part of transformative institutional change that draws on both top-down and bottom-up strategies in pursuit of sustainable development.
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Higher education institutions are increasingly engaged with society but contemporary higher education teacher competence profiles do not include university-society oriented responsibilities of teachers. Consequently, comprehensive insights in university-society collaborative performance of higher education teachers are not available. This study empirically develops a teacher profile for an exemplary university-society oriented, multi-stakeholder learning environment and builds an argument for university-society collaborative additions to existing higher education teacher profiles. A showcase example of a new university-society collaborative, multi-stakeholder learning environment, the Regional Learning Environment (RLE), provides the context of analysis. Thirteen RLE establishments were included in the study. The study uses a descriptive qualitative design, triangulating data from RLE documents, teacher interviews and focus groups with teachers and managers on RLE teacher roles, tasks and competencies. The resulting RLE teacher profile comprises nine roles, nineteen tasks and 21 competencies. The new profile echoes scattered indications for teacher responsibilities as identified in previous studies on teaching and learning in university-society collaborative learning settings. The study argues that the role of broker, including boundary crossing competence, and the competency ‘stimulating a collaborative learning attitude’, might be added to existing higher education teacher competence profiles. Adding this university-society engaged perspective to existing teacher competence profiles will support higher education institutions in developing their university-society collaborative responsibilities and subsequent teacher professionalisation trajectories.
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We developed a case study for estimating carbon stock (stored and annually sequestered) in aboveground and belowground portions of all the live trees located on the main campus of the University of Georgia. We recorded species, diameter at breast height, and height of trees located between East Broad Street and Carlton Street (north–south direction) and East Campus Road and Lumpkin Street (east–west direction) covering an area of 94.1 hectares. We used i-Tree Eco V6 for estimating carbon stock. There are 6,915 trees in the study area, out of which 73.0 percent (5,049 trees), 32.3 percent (2,236 trees), and 0.7 percent (50 trees) are native, understory, and invasive, respectively. The total carbon stored in trees is 3,450.4 t (SD = 65), and the annual sequestration rate is about 65 t. The University of Georgia should adopt a multifaceted approach for offsetting or reducing the overall carbon emissions, as annual sequestered carbon in measured trees is only 0.11 percent of the total carbon emitted by the university in 2018. This study highlights the role of trees in meeting the carbon reduction challenges faced by colleges and universities across the United States and beyond, and contextualizes the role of green spaces in general, and trees, in particular toward the ongoing movement of sustainable universities and campuses worldwide. Study Implications: Across the United States and beyond, universities and colleges are actively exploring ways to reduce their overall environmental footprint for achieving sustainable development goals. Trees located on the campuses of universities and colleges provide various ecosystem services, including carbon storage and annual sequestration. We advise that universities and colleges should explore other options to reduce or offset their annual carbon emissions, as the quantity of carbon annually sequestered in trees located on the main campuses could be small relative to their overall annual carbon emissions.
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There is an increasing need for urban sustainability transitions, though empirical cases that focus on the governance of these processes over time are not plentiful. This study addresses that gap by examining the governance of an urban transition in an eco-neighbourhood in Helsinki, using the framework of a multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions and modes of governance. This study shows how the modes of governance have changed from the start of the planning in 1994–2018 and how the different dimensions of the urban planning regime have enabled or constrained a sustainability transition, based on a document analysis and semi-structured expert interviews. As for the modes of governance, hierarchical and network were most widely used. The plot assignment stipulations that contained sustainability requirements, as well as the collaborative area working group method, have been scaled up city-wide since. This study concludes that more process-focussed policy instruments are needed.
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Non-technical summary There is a call to change societies to become more sustainable. We examine how the concept of sustainability transformation has been used and find that it has been defined in many ways. The concept is still used without many real-world examples – we found only four studies that had assessed whether a multi-sectoral sustainability transformation had taken place. There is a need to further clarify what sustainability transformation means and how it can be assessed.
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ამ სახელმძღვანელოს მიზანია უნივერსიტეტების დაინტერესებულ ლექტორებსა და აკადემიურ პერსონალს მისცეს შესაძლებლობა, განახორციელოს შემთხვევის შესწავლის ტრანსდისციპლინური საველე კურსი, რომელიც უკვე შემუშავებულია, აპრობირებულია და ინტეგრირებულია სსპუ და თსუ კურუკულუმებში. სახელმძღვანელოს პირველ თავში მოკლედ არის განხილული ფუნდამენტური კონცეფციები, რომლებიც აუცილებელია ტრანსდისციპლინური მიდგომების საფუძვლიანად გაგებისათვის. სახელმძღვანელო მოიცავს მოსაზრებებს და მაგალითებს სასწავლო დავალებებისათვის, ასევე ლიტერატურულ წყაროებს და სარეკომენდაციო მასალებს, რომლებშიც დეტალურად არის გაანალიზებული აქ მოცემული კონცეფციები. სახელმძღვანელოს მეორე თავში წარმოდგენილია კონკრეტული წინადადებები, თუ როგორ არის შესაძლებელი შემთხვევის შესწავლის აკადემიური კურსის განხორციელება. ამ ნაწილში მოცემულია თსუ და სსპუ ლექტორების რჩევები, რომლებმაც CaucaSusT პროექტის ფარგლებში პირველად განახორციელეს ასეთი ფორმატის სასწავლო კურსები. მრავალი მაგალითი, რომელთაც ჩვენ გთავაზობთ სახელმძღვანელოში, არის დაკავშირებული ტურიზმთან. ეს განპირობებულია CaucaSusT პროექტის შინაარსით და იმ ფაქტით, რომ ტურიზმის მდგრადი განვითარება წარმოადგენს რეალურ კომპლექსურ გამოწვევას. ის განსაკუთრებით აქტუალურია მთიანი ადგილების, სასოფლო თემების გამოცოცხლებისათვის. ასევე, ადგილობრივი მოსახლეობის საარსებო პირობების გაუმჯობესებასა და კულტურული და ბუნებრივი მემკვიდრეობის დაცვას შორის სათანადო ბალანსის მოძებნის თვალსაზრისით. ამავე დროს, შემთხვევის შესწავლის ტრანსდისციპლინური კურსის ფორმატი შეიძლება გამოყენებულ იქნეს სხვა საზოგადოებრივი გამოწვევების გადაჭრისათვის როგორც სასოფლო, ასევე ურბანული განვითარების კონტექსტში. ის შეიძლება დადებითად აისახოს ამ კურსის განმახორციელებელი ლექტორების, კურსში ჩართული სტუდენტებისა და მონაწილე თემების მოსახლეობის შესაძლებლობებსა და ინტერესებზე.
Chapter
This chapter discusses Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU’s) experience using our own built environment as a “living lab.” Using the campus in this way has enabled FGCU to expand the classroom, to engage students in measuring and monitoring sustainability initiatives and sustainable practices, and to demonstrate how innovation and change can be proposed and tested, and occasionally implemented. The FGCU example is informative, showing how the built environment provides an excellent test bed for students to examine alternatives to improve sustainability. The opportunity to work on and possibly change real things in their own world gives students ownership and responsibility. The difficulty students and faculty encounter in implementing ideas also highlights the complexity of actually getting things done and highlights the disparities between talk and action, which can lead to student and faculty empowerment to identify and expunge hypocrisy. The inherent resistance of Higher Education Institutions to convert the experimental test beds of their campus infrastructure into actual action and change is a recurrent theme.
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South Africa’s interventions to address complex social challenges rely on coordination across several sectors and between different levels of government and society. Improved alignment, planning and coordination are needed when addressing the causal factors of these social challenges. These causal factors include the environments in which people live and their behaviours. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the recurring engagement of civil society, especially of marginalized stakeholders, as participants in the efforts to address the challenges. The study draws from the promise shown by stakeholder networks, termed Innovation Platforms, in other Sub-Saharan Africa countries to address such complex social challenges. The study aimed to improve the understanding of how a stakeholder network’s engagement practices impact the effectiveness of the network. To this end, a conceptual framework and management tool for stakeholder engagement in IPs is proposed. The study followed the conceptual framework analysis procedure to develop, evaluate and refine the conceptual framework. The article describes the core research outcomes of the framework development approach, starting with a systematized literature review to identify core concepts, followed by interviews with experts and a case study to refine the framework content. The case study applied the framework to develop recommendations for improved engagement in a stakeholder network which has been established around the challenge of vagrancy in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The result of the approach is a multidimensional framework for conceptualizing stakeholder engagement practices in a variety of contexts. The focus of the framework content remains on the practices of engagement which enable effective and fruitful stakeholder interactions within and around a network. The study delivered valuable insights into the nature of some development initiatives in South Africa and the impact of stakeholder engagement on them.
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Purpose – The article aims to describe the problem- and project-based learning (PPBL) program and the institutional context at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (SOS), with the goal of offering experience-based guidance for similar initiatives in sustainability programs around the world. Design/methodology/approach – This case study presents the diverse PPBL activities that SOS offers on the undergraduate and the graduate levels and examines the institutional structures in place that support these activities. Data were collected through literature and document reviews, observations, interviews, student evaluations and faculty surveys. Findings – The review of the PPBL program at SOS illustrates a case of successfully inaugurating a PPBL program in sustainability at a major university in the USA. Yet, a key challenge for this program and similar programs around the world is how to maintain the institutional momentum and make advances after the initial takeoff. SOS is attempting to address this issue by developing greater program cohesion and coordination, synthesizing past products and learning, monitoring and evaluating impacts, and developing PPBL training programs for faculty and graduate students. Practical implications – The experiences and findings presented can help other programs to articulate the benefits of a PPBL initiative, anticipate implementation challenges and successfully support their own PPBL initiatives through adequate institutional structures. The review points to the fact that the major impact on both student learning and outcomes for partner organizations is achieved through a concerted effort by the organization as a whole. Successful PPBL programs require both top-down commitments from the administration and bottom-up drive from interested faculty and students. Originality/value – This case study discusses the PPBL program at SOS. The findings can inform and support the ongoing transformation in sustainability education with the ultimate objective to build students’ capacities to address and solve wicked sustainability problems in the real world, competently collaborating with partners from government, business and civil society.
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Working towards sustainable solutions requires involving professionals and stakeholders from all sectors of society into research and teaching. This often presents a challenge to scholars at universities, as they lack capacity and time needed for negotiating different agendas, languages, competencies, and cultures among faculty, students, and stakeholders. Management approaches and quality criteria have been developed to cope with this challenge, including concepts of boundary organizations, transdisciplinary research, transition management, and interface management. However, few of these concepts present comprehensive proposals how to facilitate research with stakeholder participation while creating educational opportunities along the lifecycle of a project. The article focuses on the position of a transacademic interface manager (TIM) supporting participatory sustainability research and education efforts. We conceptualize the task portfolio of a TIM; outline the capacities a TIM needs to possess in order to successfully operate; and propose an educational approach for how to train students in becoming a TIM. For this, we review the existing literature on TIMs and present insights from empirical sustainability research and educational projects that involved TIMs in different functions. The article provides practical guidance to universities on how to organize these critical endeavors more effectively and to offer students an additional career perspective.
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The increasing threat of climate change has created a pressing need for cities to lower their carbon footprints. Urban laboratories are emerging in numerous cities around the world as a strategy for local governments to partner with public and private property owners to reduce carbon emissions, while simultaneously stimulating economic growth. In this article, we use insights from laboratory studies to analyse the notion of urban laboratories as they relate to experimental governance, the carbonization agenda and the transition to low-carbon economies. We present a case study of the Oxford Road corridor in Manchester in the UK that is emerging as a low-carbon urban laboratory, with important policy implications for the city's future. The corridor is a bounded space where a public-private partnership comprised of the City Council, two universities and other large property owners is redeveloping the physical infrastructure and installing monitoring equipment to create a recursive feedback loop intended to facilitate adaptive learning. This low-carbon urban laboratory represents a classic sustainable development formula for coupling environmental protection with economic growth, using innovation and partnership as principal drivers. However, it also has significant implications in reworking the interplay of knowledge production and local governance, while reinforcing spatial differentiation and uneven participation in urban development.
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The field of sustainability science aims to understand the complex and dynamic interactions between natural and human systems in order to transform and develop these in a sustainable manner. As sustainability problems cut across diverse academic disciplines, ranging from the natural sciences to the social sciences and humanities, interdisciplinarity has become a central idea to the realm of sustainability science. Yet, for addressing complicated, real-world sustainability problems, interdisciplinarity per se does not suffice. Active collaboration with various stakeholders throughout society—transdisciplinarity—must form another critical component of sustainability science. In addition to implementing interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in practice, higher education institutions also need to deal with the challenges of institutionalization. In this article, drawing on the experiences of selected higher education academic programs on sustainability, we discuss academic, institutional, and societal challenges in sustainability science and explore the potential of uniting education, research and societal contributions to form a systematic and integrated response to the sustainability crisis.
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Sustainability initiatives at the regional level play an increasingly important role in the implementation of the principles of Sustainable Development (SD) around the world. These activities successfully combine a wider ‘systems’ perspective with the benefits of the more ‘humane approach of the sub-national scale.’ The potential for academic institutions to play an important role in the success of these initiatives is significant, yet institutions of higher education need encouragement. This article outlines the most important factors which determine the roles of academic institutions in RSIs based on both a review of the literature and research findings from two questionnaires directed to people active in RSIs and higher educational institutions (HEIs). Results confirm the existence of widespread faculty interest in engaging in work within RSIs and also highlight the most important barriers to engagement.
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The challenges formulated within the Future Earth framework set the orientation for research programmes in sustainability science for the next ten years. Scientific disciplines from natural and social science will collaborate both among each other and with relevant societal groups in order to define the important integrated research questions, and to explore together successful pathways towards global sustainability. Such collaboration will be based on transdisciplinarity and integrated research concepts. This paper analyses the relationship between scientific integration and transdisciplinarity, discusses the dimensions of integration of different knowledge and proposes a platform and a paradigm for research towards global sustainability that will be both designed and conducted in partnership between science and society. We argue that integration is an iterative process that involves reflection among all stakeholders. It consists of three stages: co-design, coproduction and co-dissemination.
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This paper explores a global trend where universities are collaborating with government, industry and civil society to advance the sustainable transformation of a specific geographical area or societal sub-system. With empirical evidence, we argue that this function of 'co-creation for sustainability' could be interpreted as the seeds of an emerging, new mission for the university. We demonstrate that this still evolving mission differs significantly from the economic focus of the third mission and conventional technology transfer practices, which we argue, should be critically examined. After defining five channels through which a university can fulfil the emerging mission, we analyse two frontrunner 'transformative institutions' engaged in co-creating social, technical and environmental transformations in pursuit of materialising sustainable development in a specific city. This study seeks to add to the debate on the third mission and triple-helix partnerships. It does so by incorporating sustainable development and place-based co-creation with government, industry and civil society.
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Within the United States, public discourse on climate science and society's response to climate change are changing rapidly [Nisbet and Myers, 2007]. Awareness of the seriousness and urgency of the problem has been increasing, as has understanding of the complexity and scale of change in human behaviors and technologies that will be required to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change (see a Yale University/Gallup/ClearVision Institute poll at http://environment.yale.edu/news/Research/5310/american-opinions-on-global-warming-summary/). A tremendous opportunity exists to build upon this nascent awareness and enhance the degree to which U.S. citizens are informed about, and are ready to take action on, this defining challenge of the 21st century.
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Problem-and project-based learning (PPBL) courses in sustainability address real-world sustainability problems. They are considered powerful educational settings for building students' sustainability expertise. In practice, however, these courses often fail to fully incorporate sustainability competencies, participatory research education, and experiential learning. Only few studies exist that compare and appraise PPBL courses internationally against a synthesized body of the literature to create an evidence base for designing PPBL courses. This article introduces a framework for PPBL courses in sustainability and reviews PPBL practice in six programs around the world (Europe, North America, Australia). Data was collected through semi-structured qualitative interviews with course instructors and program officers, as well as document analysis. Findings indicate that the reviewed PPBL courses are of high quality and carefully designed. Each PPBL course features innovative approaches to partnerships between the university and private organizations, extended peer-review, and the role of knowledge brokers. Yet, the findings also indicate weaknesses including paucity of critical learning objectives, solution-oriented research methodology, and follow-up research on implementation. Through the comparative design, the study reveals improvement strategies for the identified challenges and provides guidance for design and redesign of PPBL courses.
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Support for these activities was provided by two grants from the NSF Grants: NSF CCLI No. 0817589: Renewable Energy and Engaged Interdisciplinary Learning for Sustainability (REELS) PI‐Shakouri; NSF CCLI 0837151: SEED‐LP. PI Lipshutz. Bacon thanks the S.V. Ciriacy‐Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellowship for support. Tim Galarneau, James Proctor, and Max Boykoff shared insightful comments during panel at the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences annual meeting in Wisconsin. The authors are also grateful for the ongoing curiosity, creativity and commitments of the many students involved in these courses and projects.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to summarize and discuss the results from the LIVING LAB design study, a project within the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union. The aim of this project was to develop the conceptual design of the LIVING LAB Research Infrastructure that will be used to research human interaction with, and stimulate the adoption of, sustainable, smart and healthy innovations around the home. Design/methodology/approach – A LIVING LAB is a combined lab-/household system, analysing existing product-service-systems as well as technical and socioeconomic influences focused on the social needs of people, aiming at the development of integrated technical and social innovations and simultaneously promoting the conditions of sustainable development (highest resource efficiency, highest user orientation, etc.). This approach allows the development and testing of sustainable domestic technologies, while putting the user on centre stage. Findings – As this paper discusses the design study, no actual findings can be presented here but the focus is on presenting the research approach. Originality/value – The two elements (real homes and living laboratories) of this approach are what make the LIVING LAB research infrastructure unique. The research conducted in LIVING LAB will be innovative in several respects. First, it will contribute to market innovation by producing breakthroughs in sustainable domestic technologies that will be easy to install, user friendly and that meet environmental performance standards in real life. Second, research from LIVING LAB will contribute to innovation in practice by pioneering new forms of in-context, user-centred research, including long-term and cross-cultural research.
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Purpose – Academic sustainability programs aim to develop key competencies in sustainability, including problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate successfully with experts and stakeholders. These key competencies may be most fully developed in new teaching and learning situations. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the kind of, and extent to which, these key competencies can be acquired in real-world learning opportunities. Design/methodology/approach – The paper summarizes key competencies in sustainability, identifies criteria for real-world learning opportunities in sustainability programs, and draws on dominant real-world learning models including project- and problem-based learning, service learning, and internships in communities, businesses, and governments. These components are integrated into a framework to design real-world learning opportunities. Findings – A “functional and progressive” model of real-world learning opportunities seems most conducive to introduce students (as well as faculty and community partners) to collaborative research between academic researchers and practitioners. The stepwise process combined with additional principles allows building competencies such as problem solving, linking knowledge to action, and collaborative work, while applying concepts and methods from the field of sustainability. Practical implications – The paper offers examples of real-world learning opportunities at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, discusses general challenges of implementation and organizational learning, and draws attention to critical success factors such as collaborative design, coordination, and integration in general introductory courses for undergraduate students. Originality/value – The paper contributes to sustainability education by clarifying how real-world learning opportunities contribute to the acquisition of key competencies in sustainability. It proposes a functional and progressive model to be integrated into the (undergraduate) curriculum and suggests strategies for its implementation.
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The benefits of a compulsory internship in environmental science education were investigated with respect to the three institutional goals of university education: (a) training for research, (b) professional education, and (c) general natural science education. A survey examined which student qualifications are improved by an internship complementary to traditional university education. The survey assessed 14 qualifications of students participating in a compulsory 15-week internship in the 5-year diploma program at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich). Pre- and postinternship questionnaires of 478 students and 293 supervisors are included. Results indicated that internships enhance general abilities and key qualifications, such as communication skills, report writing, organization of work, information acquisition, and the ability to operate independently. This suggests that internships are of high value to professional education. However, internships also seem to promote salient qualifications of complex environmental problem solving which are relevant for the development of research capabilities in environmental sciences. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 24–46, 2004
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Purpose – This paper describes a set of recommendations that will aid universities planning to create sustainability education programs. These recommendations are not specific to curriculum or programs but are instead recommendations for academic institutions considering a shift towards “sustainability education” in the broadest sense. The purpose of this research was to consider the possible directions for the future of sustainability education at the university level. Design/methodology/approach – Through a series of workshops using a “value focused thinking” framework, a small team of researchers engaged a large number of stakeholders in a dialogue about sustainability education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada. Recommendations were compiled from workshop data as well as data from 30 interviews of participants connected with decision‐making and sustainability at UBC. Findings – The recommendations include infusing sustainability into all university decisions, promoting and practicing collaboration and transdisciplinarity and focusing on personal and social sustainability. Other recommendations included an integration of university plans, decision‐making structures and evaluative measures and the integration of the research, service and teaching components of the university. There is a need for members of the university community to create space for reflection and pedagogical transformation. Originality/value – The intention of the paper is to outline the details of a participatory workshop that uses value‐focused thinking in order to engage university faculty and administration in a dialogue about sustainability education. Students, faculty and staff working towards sustainability education will be able to adapt the workshop to their own institutions.
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This paper reviews recent achievements in sustainability science and discusses the research core and framework of sustainability science. We analyze and organize papers published in three selected core journals of sustainability science: Sustainability Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, and Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy. Papers are organized into three categories: sustainability and its definition, domain-oriented research, and a research framework for sustainability science. First, we provide a short history and define the basic characteristics of sustainability; then we review current efforts in the following research domains: climate, biodiversity, agriculture, fishery, forestry, energy and resources, water, economic development, health, and lifestyle. Finally, we propose a research framework for sustainability science that includes the following components: goal setting, indicator setting, indicator measurement, causal chain analysis, forecasting, backcasting, and problem-solution chain analysis. We emphasize the importance of this last component for improving situations and attaining goals.
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2010 Sustainability Conference, Kansans Advancing Sustainability in Higher Education, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, January 29-30, 2010
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Meeting fundamental human needs while preserving Earth's life support systems will require an accelerated transition toward sustainability. A new field of sustainability science is emerging that seeks to understand the fundamental character of interactions between nature and society and to encourage those interactions along more sustainable trajectories. Such an integrated, place-based science will require new research strategies and institutional innovations to enable them especially in developing countries still separated by deepening divides from mainstream science. Sustainability science needs to be widely discussed in the scientific community, reconnected to the political agenda for sustainable development, and become a major focus for research.
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Sustainability is being integrated into higher-education institutions' mission and planning, curricula, research, student life, and operations.
Book
Now that the Earth has reached the limits of its biophysical carrying capacity, we have to change technologies, social practices and social norms relating to material production and consumption to ensure that we do not further jeopardize the functioning of our planet's life support systems. Through research, education and civic engagement, universities have a pivotal role to play in this transition. This timely book explores how universities are establishing living laboratories for sustainable development, and examines the communication networks and knowledge infrastructures that underpin impact both on and beyond the campus.
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The first evidence linking climate change and human emissions of carbon dioxide was painstakingly assembled in 1897 by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius. What began as an interesting but seemingly unimportant conjecture about the effect of rising carbon dioxide on temperature has turned into a flood of increasingly urgent and rigorous warnings about the rapid warming of Earth and the dire consequences of inaction. Nonetheless, the global dialogue on climate is floundering while the scientific and anecdotal evidence of rapid climate destabilization grows by the day.
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There is considerable debate regarding the contribution to be made by higher education institutions and the researchers they employ in realising environmentally sustainable urban spaces, and the relationship between academic research and lay knowledge. Drawing on previous work, the paper identifies roles that may be played by academic researchers in building sustainable urban locations. Adopting a focus on sub-city scale phenomena the paper illustrates how the roles played are affected by structural and non-structural factors which also shape the nature of collaboration among university researchers and other participants in urban sustainability projects. The paper does this on the basis of analysis and reflection upon research and related activities taking place over the period 2007–2011 in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England, focussing on a project called Newcastle Low Carbon Neighbourhoods. The paper finds that academic researchers play multiple, sometimes conflicting roles in such initiatives, and that national structural and locally contingent factors affect the manner of collaboration with non-specialists and the durability of urban sustainability projects. It concludes that more conventional project arrangements may avoid some difficulties associated with such complex projects but potentially denude them of their richness and originality.
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This paper provides and illustrates a generic framework for deep learning in a Sustainability-based course for higher education instruction. The use of Sustainability Consulting Projects is detailed with potential application to similar programs as part of their Sustainable Education curriculum. Using four disparate institutions of higher learning across the eastern coast of the United States we can complete an exploratory analysis of the framework. This analysis will provide us opportunity to identify and characterize community sustainability projects and their contribution to higher order, integrative and reflective learning. This deep learning framework and model will be helpful to curriculum developers and instructors who wish to introduce these types of projects into their courses and curriculum. These processes and tools may be integrated into current Sustainability Management courses or used as the basis for development of specific courses focused specifically on this topic; e.g., Sustainability Consulting or as a capstone course. Lessons learned and framework design and implementation provide opportunities for further research and development of these courses.
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In universities, the need for education associated with sustainability is widely accepted and it is increasingly being introduced. However, the associated concepts and terms are contested—education for sustainable development and education for sustainability represent increasing levels of change required in curricula, while achieving sustainable education will require even greater change. A transformative pedagogy underlies and contributes to the extent of the change, as more argue for a range of analytical and context-related skills to be developed in students. To operationalize education associated with sustainability, teaching approaches must focus on elements relating to the processes of learning, rather than the accumulation of knowledge—to develop graduates with capabilities to improvise, adapt, innovate, and be creative. Skills such as interdisciplinary thinking, problem solving, team working, and holistic thinking are often mentioned. These skills are encompassed by the pedagogy of problem-based learning (PBL), which provides students with opportunities to learn to think, specifically ‘‘how to think’’ rather than ‘‘what to think,’’ and potentially within the framework of sustainability. Consequently, it is important to identify the commonalities of transformative learning, sustainable education and PBL. A key link here is critical thinking, and the challenge is to transform our pedagogy across all disciplines to have academics and students thinking critically. This article elaborates on these points and argues that the development of thinking is the critical element in education related to sustainability.
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Despite a growing recognition that the solutions to current environmental problems will be developed through collaborations between scientists and stakeholders, substantial challenges stifle such cooperation and slow the transfer of knowledge. Challenges occur at several levels, including individual, disciplinary, and institutional. All of these have implications for scholars working at academic and research institutions. Fortunately, creative ideas and tested models exist that provide opportunities for conversation and serious consideration about how such institutions can facilitate the dialogue between scientists and society.
Purpose – The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a concrete example of how experiential learning approaches (from internships in global policy institutes to visiting communities in rural Amazonia to meeting with officials from inter-governmental organizations) can be implemented in order to most effectively meet specific educational goals in international sustainability studies. Design/methodology/approach – Using four key educational goals as the framework for discussion, the author presents a multi-dimensional international experiential program at American University as an example of how non-traditional educational approaches can be used to supplement the traditional lecture-based format. Findings – The case illustrates how experiential learning offers an educational experience that most effectively: connects the academic with the practice, fosters an effective interdisciplinary curriculum, links students to work experience and job opportunities, and engages and empowers students. Research limitations/implications – This paper contributes to the literature on experiential learning and sustainability studies and argues that experiential learning approaches deserve greater attention in theory and practice. Practical implications – The unique institutional and course structure presented in this case is unlikely to be replicated in most higher education settings, but select elements of this model can be incorporated into traditional institutional settings to enhance lecture-centric curricula. Originality/value – The paper takes on the difficult task of simultaneously addressing traditional goals (e.g. connecting theory with practice; preparing students for the job market) with less traditional goals (e.g. engaging and empowering students) in higher education. This paper illustrates how these goals are often mutually reinforcing.
Book
Experience and Educationis the best concise statement on education ever published by John Dewey, the man acknowledged to be the pre-eminent educational theorist of the twentieth century. Written more than two decades after Democracy and Education(Dewey's most comprehensive statement of his position in educational philosophy), this book demonstrates how Dewey reformulated his ideas as a result of his intervening experience with the progressive schools and in the light of the criticisms his theories had received. Analysing both "traditional" and "progressive" education, Dr. Dewey here insists that neither the old nor the new education is adequate and that each is miseducative because neither of them applies the principles of a carefully developed philosophy of experience. Many pages of this volume illustrate Dr. Dewey's ideas for a philosophy of experience and its relation to education. He particularly urges that all teachers and educators looking for a new movement in education should think in terms of the deeped and larger issues of education rather than in terms of some divisive "ism" about education, even such an "ism" as "progressivism." His philosophy, here expressed in its most essential, most readable form, predicates an American educational system that respects all sources of experience, on that offers a true learning situation that is both historical and social, both orderly and dynamic.
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Obra en la que se trata de repensar la educación para encaminar al individuo a entender que el medio ambiente tiene un propósito ligado a su existencia. No se insiste en enseñar únicamente los cuidados ambientales sino incluirlos como una práctica educativa de valor dentro del hombre y dentro de la supervivencia del mismo.
This paper presents findings of a global survey of 70 university partnerships for urban sustainability. Key trends are highlighted such as commonly targeted sectors, mechanisms for co-creating knowledge and societal transformations
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Trencher G, Bai X, Evans J, Yarime M, McCormick K: University partnerships for co-designing and co-producing urban sustainability. Glob Environ Change 2014, 28:153-165. This paper presents findings of a global survey of 70 university partnerships for urban sustainability. Key trends are highlighted such as commonly targeted sectors, mechanisms for co-creating knowledge and societal transformations, common drivers, barriers and potential impacts.
Integrating problem-and projectbased learning into sustainability programs: A case study on the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University
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! Wiek A, Xiong A, Brunders K, van de Leeuw S: Integrating problem-and projectbased learning into sustainability programs: A case study on the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Int J Sustain High Educ 2014, 15:431-449.
The Oberlin project: what do we stand for now
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! Orr D: The Oberlin project: what do we stand for now? In Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Fall 2011. Oberlin College; 2011:19-28.
Inside and Out: Universities and Education for Sustainable Development
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Silka L, Forrant R (Eds): Inside and Out: Universities and Education for Sustainable Development. Baywood Publishing; 2006.
The Oberlin Project: A Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive Project
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! Orr D: The Oberlin Project: A Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive Project. [Internet]. 2011.
Governance in the Long Emergency In In State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?. Edited by the World Watch Institute
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Orr D: Governance in the Long Emergency. In In State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?. Edited by the World Watch Institute. Island Press; 2013:279-291.
Campus partners and the Ohio State University: a case study in enlightened self-interest. In The University as Urban Developer: Case Studies and Analysis
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Dixen D, Roche P: Campus partners and the Ohio State University: a case study in enlightened self-interest. In The University as Urban Developer: Case Studies and Analysis. Edited by Perry D, Wiewel W, Sharpe ME. 2005:268-284.
Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World
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! Stone MK, Barlow Z (Eds): Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World. Sierra Club Books; 2005.
A Baseline Greenhouse Gas Inventory for Oberlin: Stepping Up to the Challenge of Climate Neutrality
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! Meyer NF: A Baseline Greenhouse Gas Inventory for Oberlin: Stepping Up to the Challenge of Climate Neutrality. 2009, [no volume].
Activating Community to Enable Residential Energy Efficiency
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! Roswell D: Activating Community to Enable Residential Energy Efficiency. 2015, [no volume].
Education for sustainable development: An expert review of processes and learning
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! Tilbury D: Education for sustainable development: An expert review of processes and learning [Internet].
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! Kates RW, Hall JM, Jaeger CC, Lowe I, James J, Schellnhuber HJ, Bolin B, Nancy M, Faucheux S, Gallopin GC, et al.: Research Strategies. Sci. Mag. 2001, 292:641-642.