Statussymposium: Science for Sustainable Development

On January 23 and 24th in snowy Hannover, principal investigator Dr. Matthias Barth and post-doctoral researcher Aaron Redman joined researchers, students and members of the public to share results and experiences of sustainability research projects supported by the Volkswagen Foundation and the state government of Lower Saxony. More information about the symposium; including the full program can be found here. The ”Science for sustainable development” fund is supporting fifteen different research projects covering a wide range of topics and diverse methodological approaches. Along with other principal investigators Dr. Barth gave a talk laying out Educating Future Change Agents project as it is planned and so far implemented (see here for a project overview).

The project also shared a poster, “Generalizing from single case studies: Insights in higher education for sustainable development” which focused on the methodological challenges of this project and our strategies for overcoming them (see the graphics below). The poster is available here for download.

All in all it was exciting to be joining such an ambitious group of scientists and important sustainability research projects.

Introducing the Educating Future Change Agents Blog

Welcome to the Educating Future Change Agents (EFCA) Blog!!! The EFCA is an exciting new research project into the question of how students can be best educated to become impactful change agents who drive forward the necessary sustainability transition. Research will be conducted jointly at two of the leading universities in sustainability education, Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany and Arizona State University in the United States.

The project addresses how competence acquisition can best be fostered through novel teaching and learning approaches in individual sustainability courses as well as through an entire sustainability curriculum. Research will focus on the acquisition of sustainability competencies in sustainability programs, teacher education programs, and extra-curricular programs on social entrepreneurship at both universities using a multi-methodological approach, combining in-depth qualitative case studies with a quantitative sample study to generate both detailed as well as generalizable insights.

For more details about the research design and overall project check out the Project Overview webpage.

So we begin

This October 2016 the EFCA project launched with a team of four PhD and two Post-Doctoral researchers joining the existing team of Principal Investigators. For more information about the team see their brief bios here and stay tuned to the blog for more extensive introductions over the next few months.

Focus group discussion with sustainability professionals at ASU. December 2, 2016
Work package 1 is already underway as we seek to validate the key sustainability competencies via interviews and focus groups with sustainability professionals and alumni of both the ASU and Leuphana sustainability degree programs. In November the whole team traveled to ASU for a three week, whirlwind introduction of the university, its sustainability initiatives and the courses and curriculum to be studied in the project and the carried out the first focus group with sustainability professionals on December 2nd (stay tuned here for more details).

Here we blog

We are very excited to be launching this blog along with the EFCA research project. We don´t know what exactly this space will evolve into but we hope to create a space which ultimately fosters conversations around educating for sustainability in higher education and drives forward implementation of evidence based curricular change towards creating future change agents. Specifically we expect to share regularly about progress on our research, describe the methodological approaches we are taking and elaborate early results as they come in.

We welcome your participation and encourage you to reply in the comments or to submit a guest post if interested. Don´t forget to follow the blog in order to not miss any updates.