Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) : the role of the Science Unit in sustainability education at a liberal arts university (Lingnan University)

Mark A. McGINLEY (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Former Cornell University President, Frank Rhodes, claimed that sustainability, “the ultimate liberal art,…could provide a new foundation for the liberal arts and sciences”. Lingnan University, a liberal arts university in Hong Kong, currently offers undergraduate degrees in three faculties (Business, Social Sciences, and Arts) but no undergraduate degrees in any traditional science field. The Science Unit, established in 2015 to provide some on-campus science expertise, attempts to add value to students’ liberal arts education by using sustainability as a framework for introducing non-science students to the factual knowledge and appreciation of the process of science required for students to make informed decisions. Here I report on the Science Unit’s efforts to (i) introduce all students to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and allow students to explore how science informs achievement of SDGs through a commoncore course “The Process of Science” required for all undergraduate students, (ii) allow students to explore a number of SDGs through “cluster courses” offered as part of the university’s general education programme, (iii) increase the scientific literacy of students so they can address SDGs in the future through the common core course and the establishment of an undergraduate minor in Environmental and Scientific Literacy, and (iv) contribute to the new undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Global Development and Sustainability. In addition, the unit has developed externally funded research and knowledge transfer programmes focusing on sustainability issues related to conservation biology and environment and human health.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021
EventChina and Higher Education 2021 Conference - Hong Kong Session: Education and SDGs: Promoting Quality Education for All - Lingnan University , Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Duration: 6 Dec 20216 Dec 2021


ConferenceChina and Higher Education 2021 Conference - Hong Kong Session
Abbreviated title#ChinaHE21
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityTuen Mun
Internet address


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