Teaching Sustainability Competencies: Comparing Interdisciplinary Approaches at NYU and Lingnan

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This paper explores how interdisciplinary pedagogies and curricula can train sustainability competencies by comparing the practices and philosophies of two undergraduate major programs: Global Liberal Studies (GLS) at New York University (USA) and Global Development and Sustainability (GDS) at Lingnan University (Hong Kong). The analysis draws from three sources of information. First, the program structures and coursework of the two programs reveal the strategic alignments and contrasting methods employed to achieve common goals. Second, interviews with GLS' chairs of the Sustainability, Health, and the Environment and the Politics, Rights, and Development concentrations and with other key GLS faculty and adminis-trators show the developmental trajectory, theoretical underpinnings, and practical tensions embedded in GLS' approach to sustainability education. Third, student work and feedback in both programs are mined to investigate student perception, thematic range, and curricular effectiveness vis-a-vis sustainability competencies.

Insights from these three information sources are correlated to a range of pedagogical approaches. These approaches include training in interdiscipli-narity, design thinking, entrepreneurship, global consciousness, and prima-ry research. Critical comparison of the curricular options, study-abroad pathways, and experiential learning opportunities of the two programs inter-rogate the effectiveness of these mechanisms in developing student capa-bilities a range of sustainability domains. These domains in turn serve as the foundation of integration between the academic and the practical, across different skill types and in different subject areas. The efficacy of such integration demonstrates how a foundation in the humanities and social sciences, which play a prominent role in both programs, can foster multi-di-mensional competencies within sustainability education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023
EventConference for Higher Education Research (CHER) – Hong Kong 2023: Education for Sustainability: Navigating the Changing Landscape of Higher Education - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 17 Nov 202318 Nov 2023


ConferenceConference for Higher Education Research (CHER) – Hong Kong 2023: Education for Sustainability: Navigating the Changing Landscape of Higher Education
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
OtherThe impact of ChatGPT is being felt across higher education globally, but it represents just one of the emerging research directions in this field. The landscape of higher education has been evolving constantly, with practitioners encountering a diverse range of challenges and opportunities. In order to establish a sustainable higher education environment that can keep pace with society's advancements, it is crucial to facilitate collaboration between universities and institutional leaders to exchange best practices, develop innovative curricula and pedagogy that accommodate changes in technology, ensure that access to learning is equitable and society's advancements does not exacerbate educational disparities, and address the emotional and social needs of students in response to the evolving landscape of higher education.
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