Environmental sustainability awareness and academic curriculum improvements: the case of a business and law faculty in an Australian university

McElvaney, E. John and McElvaney, Michael P. 2013, Environmental sustainability awareness and academic curriculum improvements: the case of a business and law faculty in an Australian university, World review of business research, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 179-190.

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Title Environmental sustainability awareness and academic curriculum improvements: the case of a business and law faculty in an Australian university
Author(s) McElvaney, E. John
McElvaney, Michael P.
Journal name World review of business research
Volume number 3
Issue number 3
Start page 179
End page 190
Total pages 12
Publisher World Business Institute
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2013-07
ISSN 1838-3955
1839-1176
Keyword(s) business education
environmental sustainability
higher education
existing curriculum
assessment
Summary Climate change, global warming, rising sea levels, ice cap melting, carbon taxes and trading schemes etc. are all major environmental issues that confront the modern world. Universities are now trying to ensure that their students graduate with an understanding of environmental sustainability regardless of their field of expertise. 

This study investigates 181 undergraduate and 155 post graduate business and law units from five schools within an Australian University to see how they embed environmental sustainability into their existing curriculums. It also examines how environmental sustainability fits into the scaffolding of the main Bachelor of Commerce degree and how each school plays its part into the overall development of graduates’ understanding of environmental sustainability. In July and December 2011 all unit chairs in the Faculty of Business and Law at Deakin University were asked if and how environmental sustainability was included in their units.

Of the 336 unit chairs that completed the survey, 37% of those unit chairs replied positively and of the remainder, the vast majority of these believed environmental sustainability was not applicable to their unit. However, measuring the effectiveness of the introduction of environmental sustainability into the curriculum is extremely difficult and this is often done by student assessment methods. Only 7% of the units actually carried out any assessment of the students’ knowledge of environmental sustainability.

The findings across the faculty were mixed, with Post Graduate units and Management and Marketing courses being very strong in embedding environmental sustainability into their curriculum. The Bachelor of Commerce Degree students, especially those with Management or Marketing majors received a good grounding in environmental sustainability. 

These findings have implications for course and curriculum designers who are trying to effectively embed environmental sustainability into the scaffolding of their existing educational courses.
Language eng
Field of Research 150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 960604 Environmental Management Systems
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058469

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Management and Marketing
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