Abstract

The emerging academic field focused on sustainability has been engaged in a rich and converging debate to define what key competencies are considered critical for graduating students to possess. For more than a decade, sustainability courses have been developed and taught in higher education, yet comprehensive academic programs in sustainability, on the undergraduate and graduate level, have emerged only over the last few years. Considering this recent institutional momentum, the time is seemingly right to synthesize the discussion about key competencies in sustainability in order to support these relatively young academic programs in shaping their profiles and achieving their ambitious missions. This article presents the results of a broad literature review. The review identifies the relevant literature on key competencies in sustainability; synthesizes the substantive contributions in a coherent framework of sustainability research and problem-solving competence; and addresses critical gaps in the conceptualization of key competencies in sustainability. Insights from this study lay the groundwork for institutional advancements in designing and revising academic programs; teaching and learning evaluations; as well as hiring and training faculty and staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-218
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability Science
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Fingerprint

Program Development
Program Evaluation
Mental Competency
Teaching
sustainability
Learning
Students
Education
Research
young academics
hiring
higher education
programme
literature review
teaching
momentum
student
learning
graduate
staff

Keywords

  • Curriculum development
  • Education for sustainable development
  • Sustainability expertise
  • Sustainability professional
  • Transformative learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

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title = "Key competencies in sustainability: A reference framework for academic program development",
abstract = "The emerging academic field focused on sustainability has been engaged in a rich and converging debate to define what key competencies are considered critical for graduating students to possess. For more than a decade, sustainability courses have been developed and taught in higher education, yet comprehensive academic programs in sustainability, on the undergraduate and graduate level, have emerged only over the last few years. Considering this recent institutional momentum, the time is seemingly right to synthesize the discussion about key competencies in sustainability in order to support these relatively young academic programs in shaping their profiles and achieving their ambitious missions. This article presents the results of a broad literature review. The review identifies the relevant literature on key competencies in sustainability; synthesizes the substantive contributions in a coherent framework of sustainability research and problem-solving competence; and addresses critical gaps in the conceptualization of key competencies in sustainability. Insights from this study lay the groundwork for institutional advancements in designing and revising academic programs; teaching and learning evaluations; as well as hiring and training faculty and staff.",
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