The University as a Site for Transformation around Sustainability
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Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has emerged in response to the negative consequences of economic and industrial processes. These issues are highly complex and their mitigation suggests social and economic transformation underpinned by a paradigm shift in favour of sustainability. Higher Education (HE) plays a crucial role in ESD; however there is little research which has investigated the links between transformative learning theories and ESD. This paper reports on research which explored academic and student perceptions of opportunities for transformation around sustainability in two UK universities. The findings suggest that, despite shared understanding about the nature of pedagogic approaches that promote deep learning, academics are wary about promoting transformation beyond the professional sphere and students are more likely to have transformative experiences outside the formal curriculum. There are indications that universities have potential as sites for transformation around sustainability but, at present, this potential is not achieved.
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