(List #85) Faculty Collaborations around Sustainability

Faculty collaborating within their institutions and across borders around sustainability and the SDGs

(List #85) Faculty Collaborations around Sustainability
Photo by CoWomen / Unsplash

It seems that you are all enjoying this month’s focus on faculty engagement so let’s keep going with it! This week we are exploring faculty collaboration around the SDGs and sustainability more broadly.


The International Sustainability Group (TISG) is comprised of faculty from Conestoga College in Canada, Durham University and Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom and Rowan University in the United States. This group of four educational institutions was created to collaborate on learning opportunities for students and teaching best practices. When classes switched to a virtual environment during COVID-19, this offered TISG an opportunity to host virtual events and bring students and faculty together. TISG hosted two virtual events with an international audience – one on the circular economy and a second on circular fashion.


Queensland University of Technology in Australia has a transdisciplinary research group comprised of faculty from Creative Industries that is focused on leading a proactive, creative response to the unfolding planetary ecocide. The research group seeks to question and catalyse urgent social changes requires to mitigate and reverse collapsing ecological systems and assure justice for all species.  It brings together senior to early academics to engage in research focused on the exploration of Indigenous concepts such as care for and stewardship of Country, designing new approaches to engage young people in caring for non-human species (amongst other fascinating projects).


Bournemouth University Business School in the United Kingdom set a target for all programmes to incorporate climate and ecological crisis awareness and to meaningfully address at least one SDG this year. All course teams must consider sustainable development at the Course Validation and Review stage. Course teams have been supported in this through provision of workshops, resources, and support in developing appropriate Learning Outcomes. An Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Community of Practice coordinates some of these workshops and the Sustainability Academic Network leads strategic action, including the development of a measurement process to track university progress, programme by programme, against these targets.


At FH Wien University of Applied Sciences in Germany, the SDG@FHWien project develops innovative teaching concepts, materials, processes and interactive environments that enable effective learning experiences in responsible management. This approach started in 2019 when the school organised an event with staff who jointly developed projects to improve sustainability with the organisation, some of which are presently being implemented.  The aim was not just to address sustainability in teaching but also to set an example through best practices within the organisation. Today all faculty are provided with SDG focused workshops and the school launched an annual SDG Day to help raise further awareness. They provide annual innovative teaching awards in two categories: innovative teaching methods and implementation of SDGS in teaching.


San Francisco State University Lam Family College of Business in the US offers recognition and financial rewards for faculty who include ethical, social and environmental issues in their courses. The hope is that this will help further incentivize others to also engage in these topics. An inaugural $1000 annual Teaching Award has been set up for faculty who show how they have embedded ethics and sustainability into courses not already obviously centred on such topics. A similar award has also been put in place for research that “will make an impact in addressing an ethical, environmental or social justice problem”. Additionally, 9 mini-grants have been awarded, worth up to $2000 apiece, for faculty’s proposed projects that have an active outreach component.