Investigating Our Practices (IOP)

A qualitative evaluation of sustainability-related courses at UBC Hunter, Kshamta B.


[Conference Program Abstract] Climate and environmental changes are the most serious threat faced by our human society today. Teaching and learning about these issues are the most essential and crucial ways to not only investigate and solve these 21 problems but also increase awareness, monitor, and evaluate these ongoing challenges and propose alternative modes. Universities are looked upon as change agents, where both knowledge creation and knowledge exchange occurs. With the underlying theme of globalization and encouraging students to be global citizens, UBC adopted a sustainable development policy in 1997 and revised it in the most recent UBC Sustainability Academic Strategy (SAS) 2009. The new UBC SAS focuses on promoting sustainable practices through teaching, learning and research. UBC offers over 350 courses related to sustainability and has several research projects aimed at this issue as well. However, no research has been conducted to evaluate how and whether these courses are promoting sustainability, literacy about climate change, and citizen action among the students who take them. This study seeks to evaluate the impact of teaching and learning initiatives involving sustainability and sustainability-related courses through a qualitative approach, using focus groups and in-depth individual interviews. Further, the study is aimed to investigate students‘ understanding of these concepts and how they implement the strategies for environmental stewardship developed through these courses. Hence the question: How do the courses translate sustainability into sustainable actions or awareness?

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