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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences

For a Special Issue on
Integrative sustainability education: emerging concepts and approaches

Manuscript deadline
15 December 2021

Cover image - Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences

Special Issue Editor(s)

Birka Wicke, Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development
[email protected]

Karin Rebel, Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development
[email protected]

John Robinson, University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and School of the Environment
[email protected]

Henri C. Moll, University of Groningen; Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society
[email protected]

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Integrative sustainability education: emerging concepts and approaches

Sustainability challenges are complex and entail closely interlinked elements that span across disciplines, actors from all parts of society (citizens, NGOs, companies, local to national governments, intergovernmental initiatives,...), scales (local to global), etc. Higher education institutions play a critical role in tackling these challenges. This happens through three main avenues: i) research, ii) operational management of the institution and iii) education of students. Research on sustainability challenges and solutions as well as the management of higher education institutions for more sustainable operations have already received a lot of attention in the scientific arena. Education of students has so far received less attention. Although sustainability pedagogy and specific skills and learning outcomes for individual courses are increasingly being represented, the scientific literature still lacks depth in analyzing how to teach integrative skills. Also, relatively little attention has been paid to the implementation of innovative (and integrative) programs of sustainability science. However, to prepare students and re-educate leaders (e.g. managers of companies, NGOs and government, teachers) for addressing the complexity of sustainability challenges and becoming agents of change, higher education and lifelong learning programs are especially important and need to target integration skills. Integration for sustainability education can take different forms. For this special issue, we encourage authors to consider the following dimensions of integration:

Sustainability in educational programming: This dimension of integration focuses on how sustainability content and skills relevant for addressing sustainability challenges are integrated in education. Various options exist, for example, voluntary sustainability science courses for interested students from any program, sustainability modules/elements in disciplinary courses, graduate attributes related to sustainability for all students in higher education settings, curricular pathways, degree minors or majors in sustainability

Student population: The student population refers to the audience targeted by the sustainability education program: Are programs aimed at students specializing in sustainability topics, at the general population of students who want to add sustainability content to their programs, or perhaps at life-long learning students who are not registered as full-time students?

Co-curricular activities: Do programs include co-curricular activities? Are such activities integrated with curricular offerings on sustainability? How is such integration fostered?

Institutional level: The institutional level refers to at what level of integration is considered: within a department, across the university, between universities

Disciplines/Stakeholder engagement: The complexity and interlinkages between and within sustainability challenges entail also different disciplinary perspectives. A key task for future agents of change is the integration across disciplines, knowledge sources, and non-academic stakeholders. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches and skills are therefore important elements for integration.

Sustainability issues/challenges: Sustainability issues are very diverse and are often defined according to the three sustainability dimensions of economics, environment and society. More recently there has been considerable interest in using the UN SDGs as a framework for sustainability curricula and programming. Integration along the dimension of sustainability issues goes beyond a single dimension of sustainability to specifically address multiple dimensions and/or integrated models of sustainability.

We invite interested authors to consider these dimensions as starting points for defining integration in their articles. Submission is, however, not bound to only these dimensions; other dimensions can also be addressed as long as the integrative character of the study focus is clearly demarcated.

Submission Instructions

Focus and research topics: This special issue focuses on academic and lifelong education because integrative thinking requires some intellectual and/or practical experience. Academic education has also high-level ambitions to educate leaders and to serve society. We invite papers on the following research areas: 1) practical or content focused analyses of implementing integrative sustainability education, 2) formal institutional aspects of integrating sustainability education and 3) the role of university teaching and lifelong learning in integrative sustainability education.

Types of studies: This special issue welcomes research papers (incl. quantitative and qualitative empirical studies; (comparative) case studies), comprehensive & integrative literature reviews, and a limited number of perspective papers.

Please select special issue title "Integrative sustainability education: emerging concepts and approaches" when submitting your paper to ScholarOne

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article