Enabling University Leaders to Serve as Role Models for Sustainable Development

This source preferred by Chris Shiel

Authors: Shiel, C.

Editors: Leal Filho, W.

Pages: 97-108

Publisher: Peter Lang GmbH

Place of Publication: Frankfurt, Germany

In the UK, evidence suggests that the implementation of sustainable development within universities has largely resulted from the work of one or two champions driving change, often bottom-up. While such approaches bring success, culture change and the institutionalisation of SD, requires strategic coordination, the buy in of senior managers and the support of the University Board (HEFCE 2008). Unfortunately, involvement of the broader group of senior managers has often been lacking; SD is frequently seen as ‘low priority’ by governing bodies.

This paper will present the outcomes of a small-scale project (funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England) undertaken to address this perceived gap in SD engagement. The project involved working with Board/Council Members at two distinctly different universities to enable participants to increase their knowledge of SD, explore leadership behaviours to support culture change and secure the commitment of a wider staff base to SD and carbon reduction. Workshops were then cascaded to other institutions. A description of the project approach is provided with analysis and reflection on outcomes; emerging leadership behaviours for SD are presented. The conclusion suggests that the project is raising the profile of SD and is transferable to other institutions. The paper will be of interest to those who are implementing sustainable development within higher education

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