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Teaching sustainability competences in European Higher Education Institutions
There has been considerable progress in the incorporation of SD into the curricula of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), where European HEIs have been leaders. This has included research on competences for sustainable development, and how to deliver such competences through pedagogical approaches; however, there has been limited research on the connection between how courses are delivered (pedagogical approaches) and how they may affect sustainability competences. A survey was developed to investigate sustainability being taught, sustainability competences delivered, and pedagogical approaches used in European Higher Education Institutions. The survey was sent to a database of more than 4,000 contacts of teachers and professors in Europe from which 390 complete responses (9.80%) were obtained. The social dimension of sustainability was the least addressed at 18%, while the other dimensions (economic, environmental, and cross-cutting) were addressed almost equally at between 27% and 28%. A correlation analysis was done between a) the Contribution to sustainability, b) Strength of competences, and c) Strength of pedagogical approaches, which show a stronger correlation between Strength of competences to Contribution and Strength of pedagogical approaches to Strength of competences than between the Strength of pedagogical approaches and Contribution was lower. A correlation analysis was then carried out between the sustainability STAUNCH® dimensions (economic, environmental, social, and cross-cutting themes) and the competences. The analysis showed that the correlations are stronger in the cross-cutting themes, followed by the social, the environmental, and the economic ones. Finally, a correlation analysis was carried out between the competences and the pedagogical approaches. The results obtained were between 0.0426 and 0.5555. A comparison of the survey results and the theoretical framework (see Lozano et al., 2017) was carried out to detect the differences. Three pedagogical approaches deliver the most competences (Eco-justice and community, Project and/or problem-based learning, and Community service learning). The updated framework shows that there is a general perception that the pedagogical approaches may deliver the sustainability competences, with some particular exceptions, such as Case studies, Supply chain/Life cycle analysis, and Lecturing. The updated framework provides a more precise perspective on how sustainability competences can be better delivered in class, and how to better deliver the ‘Full Monty’ of sustainability competences.