CIE Spotlight: Environmental sustainability in higher education: What do academics think?

Kelly M., Raylene C. and John W.

Kelly M., Raylene C. and John W.

Title: Environmental sustainability in higher education: What do academics think?

Authors: Christie, Belinda A.; Miller, Kelly K.; Cooke, Raylene; White, John G.

Source: ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESEARCH, 21 (5):655-686, JUL 4 2015

Brief summary of the paper: The slow uptake of Education for Sustainability (EfS) curricula in universities has, partly, been attributed to academics’ perceptions that EfS has little relevance within some disciplines. Understanding teaching academics’ attitudes, values and experiences of EfS across disciplines can inform future EfS efforts in higher education.

This paper presents one part of a larger study that sought the views of ≈6% of the entire university teaching workforce of Australia. One quarter of the teaching academics in every discipline of every Australian university (except one) (n = 38) was sent an online questionnaire asking for their opinions of EfS. Precisely, 1819 academics participated (26% response rate) and data was analysed with descriptive and inferential statistics.

The findings suggest that academics are supportive of EfS for all university students. Support, perceived relevance and reported difficulties with EfS are discipline specific; academics would respond positively to EfS framed within their disciplinary worldviews.