Course and Program Development for Sustainability

For the past few months, I have been working with a group of lecturers in the Baltic region to develop a PhD candidate course in sustainability. The initiative is part of the PRME vision to improve education for sustainability in business schools. The aim of the project is to improve the education for sustainability at a PhD candidate level and foster future research in sustainability. The candidates will be tasked with producing work inspired by the course over a year and contribute to a book about current research in sustainability from a Nordic perspective.

The universities involved include Hanken University and OULU in Finland, Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, and Stockholm School of Economics, Jönköping International Business School, and Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics in Sweden. The experience of being a part of this course development has shown that there is encouraging engagement between universities across the Baltic region. I am really looking forward to meeting the candidates and learning from our discussions about critical perspectives in sustainability.

We are also developing two new undergraduate programs at USBE. Since students show a great interest in learning more about sustainability, we are working to provide a learning progression approach to sustainability in business. We have proposed a need to map the modules’ inputs on sustainability from a business perspective within each program and have received positive feedback. This work will ensure that our new programs will include the competencies that students need to build in their discipline, their general competencies and their competencies for sustainability.

Also, this week we had a workshop with UKÄ, the Swedish higher education council authority that works to assure quality in higher education. The discussion was about how higher education is changing and what we expect for the future, as well as what competencies are needed. There was much talk about including general competencies with discipline competencies when we teach in higher education. However, not a mention of sustainability competency.

UKÄ have worked to increase the capacity of our education for sustainability in Sweden for several years. However, this presentation led me to think about how we can work with building sustainability competencies if they are integrated into the discipline and general competencies that have already been ascribed. Is it better to include sustainability competencies so that they are integrated into the mainstream of academic competence criteria, or is it better to emphasise that sustainability competencies differ from discipline and general competencies.

Great news! Two new master programs within accounting and finance will take part in our learning progression approach to sustainability. This means that we now have at least five master programs with different characteristics that we can support in efforts to advance education for sustainability. We can also compare the needs of students across different disciplines and learn from a longitudinal approach.

Thank you everybody for a super sunny week.

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