Establishing a Community of Practice and Embedding Education for Sustainability at the University of Tasmania

By Susan Salter, Sandra Murray, Aidan Davison, Fleur Fallon and Nick Towle.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The University of Tasmania Education for Sustainability Community of Practice was established in September 2011 to bring together staff and the wider non-university community (e.g., non-government organisations, primary and secondary schools) with the goal of embedding sustainability as a core focus of the university curriculum, research activities, operations and community engagement. The establishment of this institution-wide Community of Practice is discussed within the context of engagement with the wider University of Tasmania community to raise awareness of, and participation in, Education for Sustainability initiatives. The paper documents the creation processes and includes opportunities and challenges encountered by Community of Practice members. Areas of discussion include greater collaboration across disciplinary boundaries and between academic and professional staff members. The major themes for these discussions were - the ‘idea’ of sustainability; the social responsibility of the wider university community; the teaching-research nexus and the student experience; community engagement; institutional leadership.

Keywords: Education for Sustainability; Higher Education; Community of Practice; Australia; University of Tasmania

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.33-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 585.214KB).

Susan Salter

Lecturer, School of Human Life Sciences, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Susan is a member of the Educating for Sustainability Community of Practice. She is a lecturer in the School of Human Life Sciences, UTas. She qualified as a Medical Scientist and has worked in diagnosis, teaching and research in diagnostic pathology. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists, has a Masters in Education, a BA in General Studies (Philosophy, History & Languages), postgraduate qualifications including a Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning at University and qualifications in IT & Multimedia and Design. Her research areas include: transition to university; engaging a first year diverse cohort of science-based students and improving learning outcomes; introducing sustainability to the first year curriculum.

Sandra Murray

Co-Convenor, Community of Practice, Educating for Sustainability, -, -

Sandra is a lecturer Food, Nutrition and Public Health within the School of Human Life Science. She is a passionate sustainability activist and during 2011 to 2012 was awarded a research fellowship with the Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching where she facilitated the establishment of a Community of Practice in Education for Sustainability at University of Tasmania. In her spare time Sandra volunteers on numerous community projects which are focused on food sustainability.

Dr. Aidan Davison

Senior Lecturer, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia

Aidan is a co-convener of the Education for Sustainability Community of Practice. He coordinates two interdisciplinary third year units: Global Political Ecology, which explores the international politics associated with issues of water, food and energy resources; and Making Sense of Climate Change, which is co-taught with Emma Pharo and offers an innovative, student-led approach to integrating and applying different forms of climate change knowledge.

Dr. Fleur Fallon

Coordinator for the Bachelor of Regional Resource Management, Institute for Regional Development, Cradle Coast campus, University of Tasmania, Burnie, Tasmania, Australia

Fleur is a member of the Educating for Sustainability Community of Practice; coordinator of the Bachelor of Regional Resource Management; and Fleur’s research interests intersect with world citizenship, peace studies, organisational behaviour and sustainability.

Dr. Nick Towle

Clinical Medical Education Advisor, Rural Clinical School, University of Tasmania, Burnie, Australia

Nick is a member of the Educating for Sustainability Community of Practice; teaches and supervises 4th and 5th year medical students based at the Rural Clinical School in Burnie; and is currently undertaking research into climate change and health.