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Education for sustainability: Developing a postgraduate-level subject with an international perspective

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Purpose ‐ To describe the development and structure of a new Master's-level subject entitled "Aspects of sustainability: an international perspective" as a potential model, adoptable by other tertiary-level educators. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper describes the evolution and re-shaping of a subject designed for postgraduate students from diverse programmes (from science-based to sociology-based). It was re-designed in 2004, in part to support the co-introduction by Lincoln University of two new, globally innovative Masters degrees, but also as a contribution to the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014). The two new degrees are taught and awarded jointly by Lincoln University and a partner European University, and thus are based on unique Northern-Southern hemisphere linkages. We describe the subject content (including its major assignment), and its evaluations by students. Findings ‐ A successful subject has been developed, but it required a step change in its structure in order to (a) retain connectedness and common themes across its wide-ranging topics, and (b) meet the expectations and aspirations of multi-disciplinary, multi-national classes. Practical implications ‐ This paper details the key ingredients of a subject designed to prepare postgraduate students for careers involving sustainability at international or regional level. The subject's structure is a potential model for adoption in other tertiary programmes. Originality/value ‐ The subject's structure is highly appropriate for a multi-disciplinary, multi-national student group, and demonstrates one university's efforts to contribute to DESD. The format of the main assignment is offered as a model for adoption by others engaged in education for sustainability.

Keywords: Curriculum development; Masters degrees; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 16, 2007


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