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Leadership Insights Library

March - Sustainability for everyone: here and now

Looking at the need for sustainability, both in higher education and beyond.

For March, our Connect Benefit Series theme “Sustainability for Everyone: Here and Now” will be based on the premise (and need) that sustainability is for everyone, both in higher education and beyond. We will address key challenges including Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and climate change, and consider how sustainability can be prioritised.

Outputs for this month include a live event "Leading Sustainability in Higher Education: Leading for a Lost Cause?’”, a compendium of blogs and a publication addressing the under-researched area of sustainability leadership. More details on these outputs can be found below. 

An Advance HE member benefit

The Connect Benefit Series is an Advance HE member benefit and is open to colleagues at Advance HE member institutions. 

Find out more about Advance HE Membership

The theme will consider sustainability in higher education specifically, where the word ‘everyone’ has three applications:

First, INCLUSION – ‘everyone’ is intended to be inclusive.

No matter who you are, what your background, or what your role in higher education, sustainability needs and welcomes you both as an advocate and an actor, to promote and practise sustainability. 

Second, URGENCY – ‘everyone’ is intended as a call for action.

Sustainability and its constituent parts represent urgent issues and, in the higher education sector, we all have responsibilities for progressing sustainable development. 

Third, ACTION - ‘everyone’ means everyone needs to act.

Sustainability isn't just for future generations. We need to play our part, as a sector, in progressing sustainability, right now. It has long been recognised that universities have a major role in supporting sustainability. 

Following completion of the theme events and activities, participants will have had the opportunity to:

  • Understand the current challenges and expectations facing higher education in connection with sustainability, and in key issues such as ESD, climate change, resource use and waste.
  • Consider how sustainability can be prioritised as an opportunity and a responsibility for everyone involved in higher education, no matter how large or small their involvement, and no matter what their role or position: sustainability with and for everybody!
  • Consider approaches for applying ideas and advice about sustainability, in relation to higher education teaching and learning, and draw attention to the forthcoming ESD Guidance document, to be published in late March 2021 by QAA and Advance HE.
  • Appreciate the role of students as drivers for change in sustainability, and a central ‘voice’ to be considered in developing sustainability policy and teaching.
  • Explore, critique and review leadership and governance in higher education, in relation to sustainability.
  • And finally, respond to a call to action, here and now!
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Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

QAA and Advance HE brought together a group of experts representing academic, business and student communities, with the aim of supporting all students to acquire the skills necessary to develop values and take actions to transition society towards a sustainable future. The guidance gives advice and support on curriculum design, as well as teaching, learning and assessment approaches.

Read the guidance
Education for Sustainable Development Guidance

Voices of Sustainability Blog Collection

The ‘Voices of Sustainability Blog Collection’ forms a cornerstone of our Connect Member Benefit offering for March 2021.

In this collection of short blogs, we try to cast some light on how sustainability is open to all. The underlying focus provides an opportunity to generate ideas in relation to sustainability as something for everyone. The blog collection elicits the experiences and ideas of a range of individuals and communities and is intended to provide some deliberately diverse perspectives. 

Read the blogs
Leadership through a digital lens

In Conversation with Sustainability Leaders – Special Publication

Advance HE’s ‘In Conversation with Sustainability Leaders’ webinar (15th March 2021) will be transcribed to form a permanent document, addressing the under-researched area of sustainability leadership and how to lead sustainability-based change. The interview will be further contextualised and discussed in new introduction and analysis sections, and made available as a special Advance HE publication, authored jointly by Patrick Baughan and Doug Parkin.

Coming soon

In Conversation with Sustainability Leaders – Special Publication
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Related events, services and resources

Below you will find information on Advance HE services and resources which relate to the member benefits listed above. 

Sustainability Symposium

In an era of ‘climate emergency’, it is now more timely than ever for us to re-examine and reinforce the embedding of sustainability into HE curricula. This one-day virtual symposium on 25 March 2021  will provide the opportunity for colleagues to share and discuss innovations in and research about progressing sustainability in the sector. 

Find out more

Reframing organisations, strategy and culture

When faced with uncertainty we recognise that it is important leaders feel confident to lead with agility and plan to implement change effectively. Our support encourages institutions to examine and reframe their organisational cultures to enable performance through staff expertise, supporting student success and aligning to shared strategies and goals.

Find out more

Sustainability: Key to Long-term Institutional Success

A guide in conjunction with the Sustainability Exchange designed to provoke discussion and reflection on the opportunities associated with embedding sustainability at a strategic level in your institution. 

Find out more

Education for Sustainable Development Guidance

Advance HE and QAA are delighted to invite you to the launch of their revised Education for Sustainable Development Guidance on Monday 29 March 2021 at 11.00-12.30 BST, via Zoom. This event is free to attend for all Advance HE and QAA member institution colleagues. 

Book your place

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Advance HE Connect

Advance HE Connect our online network that is open to all those who work in HE providing a space where the sector can share, connect and collaborate in one place with 21,000 HE peers from 100 countries around the globe. The platform features special interest groups, events and collaborative projects. 

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Advance HE Connect
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