Sustainability Subjects in University Education - Development of a Comprehensive Indicator System and Quantitative Analysis of Degree Programs at German Universities

Eckard Helmers 1 * , Fabienne Ilchmann 1

EUROPEAN J SUSTAINAB DEV, Volume 3, Issue 4, Article No: em0092.

https://doi.org/10.29333/ejosdr/5771

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Abstract

A new comprehensive evaluation system presented here allows to compare and to quantify education for a sustainable development (ESD) in degree programs. The evaluation is based on a criteria system working with three hierarchic levels. The highest level considers a list of 35 indicator terms. Primarily, the two most popular undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree programs in Germany (mechanical engineering, ME, and business administration, BA) have been reviewed for ESD contents based on the new evaluation scheme. Additionally we reviewed and quantified ESD subjects and their temporal changes in the entire bandwidth of degree programs of a university (Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld, University of Applied Sciences Trier), back to 1999. Moreover, a spot check on international ME and BA bachelor’s degree programs was performed. Through our reviews, we found a high number of elective classes dedicated to ESD particularly in BA bachelor programs. However, the percentage of compulsory classes related to ESD is relatively low with 5-6 % in both ME and BA programs, respectively. The spot check on degree programs outside Germany revealed similar results. Analysing the time trend at Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld, a considerable share of ESD that was part of the original diploma degrees was moved to what are now master’s degrees.

Keywords

higher education for a sustainable development, ESD, sustainability education, indicator system, time trend, Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld, bachelor degree programs in business administration and mechanical engineering

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Helmers, E., and Ilchmann, F. (2019). Sustainability Subjects in University Education - Development of a Comprehensive Indicator System and Quantitative Analysis of Degree Programs at German Universities. European Journal of Sustainable Development Research, 3(4), em0092. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejosdr/5771

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