Rooting sustainable growth in increased schooling – Information

Professors Sofiane Baba and Jean Cadieux, in collaboration with the University of Argentina, will lead a research project on integrating the goals of sustainable development into university education.
Photo: Michel Caron – UdeS

UdeS’s reputation is well established in terms of the environment and sustainable development, a sector in which it is already a pioneer. To go even further, the institution’s goal is to integrate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into all its educational programs.

A brand new research project led by Professors Sofiana Baba and Jean Cadieux of the School of Management, carried out in collaboration with the University of Del Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will support this institutional orientation. The research provides an overview of existing practices in different countries with a view to integrating sustainable development goals into university curricula and will lead to an action plan that will enable both partners to better equip themselves.

What are SDGs?
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by UN member states in 2015, aim to respond to today’s global challenges of reducing inequality, eradicating poverty, protecting the planet and improving the daily lives of all people around the world. These 17 goals are interlinked and aim to be achieved by 2030.

We already know a lot about the integration of sustainable development at universities, but still relatively little about sustainable development. Intellectual efforts to integrate TUR into the curriculum have also led to a disciplinary or faculty perspective.

Professor Sofiane Baba, School of Management, co-leader of the project

However, Sofiane Baba believes that in order for universities to play a pre-war role in this area in order to train the next generation of tomorrow, it is urgent to develop a holistic understanding of the integration of sustainable development goals into university curricula by not only content ( knowledge taught in the courses) but also the process (pedagogical approaches to the transfer of this knowledge).

What does it actually mean to be “socially responsible” or “anchored in sustainable development” when you practice sociology or engineering, or even when you teach history? And how to match the content and pedagogical approaches according to the level of progress of students in a given program?

SDG target sign, colored pin corresponds to 17 related targets.
SDG target sign, colored pin corresponds to 17 related targets.
Photo: Michel Caron – UdeS

These issues make it clear that the integration of sustainable development goals into all the curricula of a large institution such as UdeS must be well planned to take account of differences between faculties.

The hypothesis that underpins our research project is that there is potentially good practice elsewhere in the world and that they could be transferred to other universities, in other geographical contexts, depending on the sustainable development issues that are most important in their reality.

Professor Jean Cadieux, School of Management, co-leader of the project

Working in partnership to achieve goals

Collaboration with the University of Del Salvador, a South American institution, will bring a different perspective and concrete considerations that unite the research goal of presenting a global perspective.

The researcher from this university also completes a research stay at the School of Management to share his experience and develop expertise in integrating sustainable development goals into the university environment, with UdeS having more than 20 years of experience in SD.

Train citizens in sustainable reflexes

Taking into account the goals of sustainable development from the very beginning in university education ensures a more responsible and prepared succession.
Taking into account the goals of sustainable development from the very beginning in university education ensures a more responsible and prepared succession.
Photo: University of Sherbrooke

In recent years, UdeS has taken many measures to ensure that sustainable development is taken into account in its operational activities: residual materials management, sustainable mobility projects, greenhouse gas reductions, etc. The desire now is to train environmentally responsible citizens who will be able to influence decisions and change the world by putting into practice, from the outset, an interest in aligning with the spirit of the sustainable development goals. This is where the integration of sustainable development goals into education comes into play, and the existence of a position such as that held by Jean-Fran├žois Comeau, Director of the Project for the Integration of Sustainable Development into Training, becomes important.

Take a civil engineering program. If the university curriculum has led the student to be interested in sustainable development goals, for example when designing a road or construction project, this will automatically take into account social and environmental issues, think of using durable materials to make your work last as long as possible. , avoid or limit the use of pollutants, take care of water protection, etc.

Jean-Fran├žois Comeau, Director of the Project for the Integration of Sustainable Development into Education

Mr Comeau is therefore very excited about the project of Professors Babu and Cadieux:

My mandate is to enrich student training by incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Being able to draw inspiration from examples of good practice elsewhere will be an undeniable advantage. We are very lucky that researchers from our school of management are interested in this question. Their work will undoubtedly allow UdeS to move even faster.

Short-term project for short-term actions

Professors Sofiane Baba and Jean Cadieux have planned a tight schedule so that they can offer new tools to universities in a short time. From September 2022, they will conduct a review of scientific work at universities around the world, followed by an analysis of the strategic plan of 10 universities, which are considered to be the most dynamic and advanced in terms of TUR. At the same time, they study the documentation of the two partner institutions to assess their level of integration of sustainable development goals and identify opportunities for knowledge transfer between them.

The ultimate goal of the project is to design elements for reflection within 18 months, as well as an action plan aimed at promoting the integration and promotion of sustainable development goals into curricula, teaching procedures and teaching strategies. This is certainly a bold goal, but Sofiane Baba and Jean Cadieux believe that they will achieve it using their expertise and experience.

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