Research and Publication
Sustainability and higher education design curricula
The necessity of implementing sustainability to higher education, and more specifically to the design curriculum has been widely recognised. While a number of universities and institutions worldwide have been, and are attempting to implement sustainability as a central component of the curricula, a number of issues remain.
Effective and cohesive implementation of sustainability to the higher education design curricula is indivisible from research and investigation of existing curricula on an international scale. This is the focus of Charlotte’s research and PhD project.
Re-connecting design, education and sustainability: the essential role of research in higher education curriculum development”
The twenty-first century brought new challenges that demand major shifts both in the way we see the world and how we live. Sustainability (as a complex combination of ecological, cultural, economic, and political factors that must be considered together) needs to become a central component of higher education.
The importance of sustainability as a curricular component has been recognized by most educational structures and has started to be implemented to varying degrees and effects across a number of universities worldwide. Yet, it is clear that there is space for research and improvement since a number of issues remain. These include a lack of consistent and cohesive educational framework, a lack of research and comparative studies to measure the success of existing attempts, institutional barriers, as well as staff and stakeholders lack of expertise and interest.
Previous research highlighted strategies and methods for a better implementation of sustainability as a curricular component such as prioritizing place based learning, active learning, critical reflection, interdisciplinary approaches, as well as the necessity of engaging with the students in the process of developing learning strategies. While this research constitutes considerable progress in the field, it is of limited scope as the effect of the proposed strategies and methods has not been clearly investigated.
With a focus on design, this paper highlights the crucial importance of research in successfully implementing sustainability to higher education curricula. It emphasizes what needs to be researched and identifies methods to address the gap between current research and curriculum design.