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Higher education as a change agent for sustainability in different cultures and contexts

Higher education as a change agent for sustainability in different cultures and contexts Purpose – The goal of this paper is to enhance consideration for the potential for institutions of higher education throughout the world, in different cultures and contexts, to be change agents for sustainability. As society faces unprecedented and increasingly urgent challenges associated with accelerating environmental change, resource scarcity, increasing inequality and injustice, as well as rapid technological change, new opportunities for higher education are emerging. Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on the emerging literature on transition management and identifies five critical issues to be considered in assessing the potential for higher education as a change agent in any particular region or place. To demonstrate the value of these critical issues, exemplary challenges and opportunities in different contexts are provided. Findings – The five critical issues include regional‐specific dominant sustainability challenges, financing structure and independence, institutional organization, the extent of democratic processes, and communication and interaction with society. Originality/value – Given that the challenges and opportunities for higher education as a change agent are context‐specific, identifying, synthesizing, and integrating common themes is a valuable and unique contribution. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Higher education as a change agent for sustainability in different cultures and contexts

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1467-6370
DOI
10.1108/14676370810885916
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The goal of this paper is to enhance consideration for the potential for institutions of higher education throughout the world, in different cultures and contexts, to be change agents for sustainability. As society faces unprecedented and increasingly urgent challenges associated with accelerating environmental change, resource scarcity, increasing inequality and injustice, as well as rapid technological change, new opportunities for higher education are emerging. Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on the emerging literature on transition management and identifies five critical issues to be considered in assessing the potential for higher education as a change agent in any particular region or place. To demonstrate the value of these critical issues, exemplary challenges and opportunities in different contexts are provided. Findings – The five critical issues include regional‐specific dominant sustainability challenges, financing structure and independence, institutional organization, the extent of democratic processes, and communication and interaction with society. Originality/value – Given that the challenges and opportunities for higher education as a change agent are context‐specific, identifying, synthesizing, and integrating common themes is a valuable and unique contribution.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 11, 2008

Keywords: Higher education; Change management; Sustainable development; Transition management

References