Committed to an “Every Graduate” approach to Education for Sustainability

Posted on August 23, 2007


In April this year Otago Polytechnic Academic Board approved the development of core capabilities. “Sustainability” is one of these capabilities (along with literacy, numeracy etc). Yesterday, Academic Board agreed to an implementation plan to ensure that every graduate may think and act as a “sustainable practitioner” (both thinking and acting highlighting the balance between cognitive and action capability).

The implementation plan takes two forms. First a strategy statement, and second, a set of targets for each programme area.

The following statement is to be included in the Teaching and Learning Strategy document that is being prepared as part of the institution-wide Strategy 2008-2012 document.

The skills and values of Otago Polytechnic graduates contribute to every sector of society. Our curriculum, teaching and learning therefore is pervasive and influential with global impact. The Otago Polytechnic sustainability vision is that our graduates, our practitioners and our academics understand the concepts of social, environmental and economic sustainability in order for them to evaluate, question and discuss their role in the world and to enable them to make changes where and when appropriate. Our goal is that that every graduate may think and act as a “sustainable practitioner”.

Moreover, educators must take a lead in sustainability so that our graduates can be encouraged and supported to promote sustainable practices in their chosen career. This can primarily be achieved by fostering education for sustainability in all our qualifications and by re-visioning and changing our approach to teaching and learning to model a transformative context for all learners.

As a consequence sustainable practice becomes a context and a process for learning and recognised as a core capability within each discipline.

Creating a philosophy of Education for Sustainability will be enhanced if undertaken within a context of institutional operational practice. We will then be seen to be modelling good practice.

So that this is not just words, every department will have an EfS development plan as part of their 2008 business plans.  There will be a template written (as soon as I press publish on this…).