Workshops | Ateliers

Sustainable University Day 2014
Freitag, 28. März 2014 | Universität Bern

Welche Nachhaltigkeitskonzepte verwenden wir? Wie fliesst Nachhaltigkeit in akademische Curricula ein? Was können wir diesbezüglich von den Business Schools lernen? Forschende, Lehrende und Studierende der Schweizer Universitäten stellen diese und weitere brennende Fragen in fünf Workshops zur Diskussion.

De quels concepts de développement durable nous servons-nous? Comment les cursus académiques tiennent-ils compte de la durabilité? Que pouvons-nous apprendre à ce sujet de la part des Écoles de commerce ? Des chercheurs, enseignants et étudiants des universités suisses débattent de ces questions, ainsi que d'autres thèmes brûlants, dans le cadre de cinq workshops.


Understandings of sustainable development in science and policy: do we have a common ground?

Invited expert: Torsten Meireis, University of Bern

The purpose of the proposed Swiss Sustainability Platform for Research according to its initiators is to promote the diversity of approaches, fields and scales of sustainability research and hence facilitate cooperation between the different and thus complementary research groups through exchanges and a regular scientific dialogue.

To contribute to this purpose, however, a minimal common understanding of sustainable development is needed. Indeed, initial diversity may hamper communication and make debate about sustainable development in science and policy ineffective. Identifying shared perceptions and contentious views is essential to move forward.

In this workshop, we would like to invite participants from all Swiss universities and from specialist networks to present their understandings of sustainable development and their critique of existing concepts. An expert will comment on these understandings of sustainable development among Swiss scientists and underline what it is that makes each of them a potentially powerful tool in making research relevant to society, thus proposing a lively and ad-hoc basis that will help give the debate within Switzerland a constructive turn.

After this workshop the project Swiss Sustainability Platform for Research intends to offer the forum for an ongoing discussion on research concepts, methods and objectives of sustainable development that are recognized and helpful in the fields of science and policy.

Andreas Kläy, Universtiät Bern, CDE
Hannes Weigt, Universität Basel
Olivier Graefe, Université de Fribourg
Hansjörg Lauener, Universität Bern, iLUB

Relevance of concepts of sustainability for interdisciplinary teaching courses

Invited expert (moderation): Antonietta Di Giulio, University of Bern and University of Basel

Questions to be discussed concerning interdisciplinary teaching methods in sustainability courses:
How do different concepts of sustainability shape interdisciplinary teaching? What are successful teaching methods respectively?
What’s the disciplinary benefit of interdisciplinary discussion about sustainability issues and by what means is it achieved?
How do we achieve a fruitful relation between discussions about concepts of sustainability and specific sustainability topics (such as biodiversity, energy systems, urban development, sustainability governance, corporate sustainability etc.)?
How can we prevent that sustainability is instrumentalized and not applied rigorously?

Peter Seele, Università della Svizzera Italiana
Bernard Debarbieux, Université de Genève
Brigitte Schnegg, Universität Bern
Paul Burger, Universität Basel
Marius Christen, Universität Basel

Integrating sustainable development into your academic curriculum: ready to share your experience?

Invited expert: Stephen Sterling, Plymouth University

The University of Bern is committed to sustainable development in its operations, research, and teaching. Among others, it has established a Centre for Development and Environment and a Bachelor Minor curriculum on Sustainable Development; the University would also like to ensure that students from all disciplines are aware of the concept of sustainable development and know what this concept implies for their own discipline and future profession.

For some disciplines, the topic of sustainable development is already explicitly part of their work; for others it is unclear what their link with sustainable development might be. Many disciplines have already included sustainable development in their curricula, in one way or another. Can we learn from one another and systematize this knowledge of how to integrate sustainable development into our disciplines?

To tap this experience we are launching a process of cooperation among those who have already included sustainable development in their curricula at the University of Bern and those who have a strong interest in doing so in future (A2-5 project). The purpose of the proposed workshop is to offer a platform for personal encounters, get to know one another and our understandings of sustainable development in our disciplines, exchange experience, and begin supporting development of a joint strategy to integrate sustainable development into academic teaching within the University of Bern. The Sustainability Day is an opportunity to open up the platform and learn from other universities as well.

Format of the Workshop:

  • Invite an international resource person experienced in Education for sustainable development at tertiary level: keynote speaker (brief input) and discussant
  • Compile experience of Members of the University of Bern and other universities on integrating sustainable development (SD) into their disciplines:
    - Contents (how is SD linked to the subject matter?)
    - Level (Bachelor, Master, PhD)
    - Teaching unit (1 to 2-hour session, whole lecture, seminar, module, etc.?)
    - Teaching and learning approach, learning goals, didactics, methodology (syllabi)
    - Results of an evaluation
    - Organizational constraints and needs
  • Comments by the discussant
Compilation and dissemination of the outputs after the workshop.

Karl Herweg, Universität Bern, Centre for Development and Environment
Anne Zimmermann, Universität Bern, Centre for Development and Environment
Thomas Hammer, Universität Bern, Centre for Development and Environment
Andreas Kläy, Universität Bern, Centre for Development and Environment

How to develop curricula for sustainable development: the case of Business Schools

Invited expert: Katrin Muff, Dean of the Business School Lausanne (BSL)

The goal of our workshop is to discuss possibilities and challenges in the process of integrating Sustainable Development into curricula in higher education. When looking into the development of study programs, we can identify two different aspects which are relevant for the success of such change processes:

  • The process of curriculum development has to involve faculty and students.
  • Sustainable development needs to be integrated with existing content.

The workshop will start out with a short introduction of our project including our current status (10 minutes). We will focus on the challenges that we encountered up to now with implementing Sustainable Development throughout the Bachelor’s programme in Business Administration. Prof. Dr. Katrin Muff, Dean of the Business School Lausanne (BSL), who is an expert for such curriculum development processes, will present how she included Sustainable Development throughout the curriculum at the BSL (20 minutes). Using these inputs, we will ask participants to sketch their own ideas concerning the content and methodology for curricula for sustainable development in their various disciplines (world café). In a final discussion, we will sum up the results and also reflect on the challenges of such curriculum development processes.

Taiga Brahm, Universität St. Gallen
Patrizia Kühner, Universität St. Gallen
Maria Tödtli, Universität St. Gallen

How to put empowerment for sustainable development into practice?

Invited expert: Chantal Calame, euforia and Université de Genève

The present and future costs of global challenges such as climate change, poverty or racism pose serious threats to humanity. There is no more time to be lost, everyone needs to get involved now in order to design innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Born in the era of globalisation, youth, the leaders of tomorrow, have an important role to play in this process. Unfortunately, young people rarely know where to go and how to get involved and often question their ability to generate a real, significant change. This means that an incredible potential for societal development is being wasted at present.

  • In this workshop, participants will figure out in several “gamestorming” activities how they can contribute to empower people for sustainable development in their own organisation.
  • We discuss which structures of support can be put in place and what next steps towards a sustainability movement at universities could look like.
  • Two short inputs on a possible future role of the VSN and on euforia's methods and experiences will be given to inspire the discussions.

Malin Jost & Nadine Mounir, VSN FDD FSS
Schweizer Verband studentischer Organisationen für Nachhaltigkeit;
Fédération Suisse d’Organisations Étudiantes pour le Développement Durable;
Federazione Svizerra delle Organizzazioni Studentesche per lo Sviluppo Sostinibile

Sprachen: deutsch, französisch, englisch
Langues: Allemand, français et anglais


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