Planning and implementing effective sustainability within a globalised higher education sector

Glover, Alison (2010). Planning and implementing effective sustainability within a globalised higher education sector. In: Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Society for Research into Higher Education Conference, 13-14 Dec 2010, Celtic Manor, Newport, South Wales.



The purpose of this presentation is to present and discuss the findings of research which is seeking to conceptualise and develop a sustainability maturity model for higher education with institutional strategic plans providing the foundation.

Nature of research
A literature review and pilot study have been completed. Currently data analysis is in progress, which involves qualitative analysis of government strategies and policies, institutional strategic plans and other related documents. All Welsh higher education institutions provide the sample for
the project, which is investigating changes emerging over time to determine the processes, goals and actions which should prove the most effective for future planning.

Key arguments
The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) advocates the crucial role of higher education globally in engaging with sustainability and globalisation issues (UNESCO, 2010). Such emphasis on sustainability is reiterated by the Welsh Assembly Government; with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales aiming to fulfil requirements to direct change within the sector in accordance with Welsh Assembly priorities for sustainability and global citizenship. One such priority proposes all organisations in Wales incorporate sustainability within their principles to inform policy and strategy (Welsh Assembly Government, 2009). Strategic planning in higher education provides the general direction of travel for an institution.

However, detail does vary from specific aspirations to much broader flexible aims. A recent report drew attention to the fact that there are gaps in the appraisal of the mechanism of corporate planning and incorporating sustainable development into mission statements, strategic plans and
policies (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, 2009, p.17). Strategic plans are a tool with which to implement change and by examining the common ground among several institutions it is proposed that effective processes, goals and actions can be identified and consequently the
shaping of a higher education sector which demonstrates effective sustainability actions and a globalised dynamic. This research will reflect the transforming identity of institutions as they endeavour to determine effective change in order to comply with priorities from local, national and global agendas; placing institutions in a global context as well as teaching about globalisation.

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. 2009. Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC): Analysis of good practice in Welsh Higher Education Institutions. SQW Consulting.

UNESCO, 2010. Strategy for the Second Half of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. France: UNESCO Education Sector.

Welsh Assembly Government, 2009. One Wales: One Planet. The Sustainable Development Scheme of the Welsh Assembly Government.

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