President of Unity College
Sustainability programming for Higher Education
Sustainability Programming is an Ethical Obligation for Higher Education in the Environmental Century
In the latest edition of The Journal of Sustainability Education, Unity College President Stephen Mulkey writes that development of a sustainable relationship with our natural resources is an imperative for any meaningful quality of life, and that climate change poses the ultimate test of our adaptability as a species.
“The consequences of failing to respond will be catastrophic and irrevocable over a millennial time scale,” Mulkey writes.
Long known as a climate scientist and advocate of transforming higher education into a transdisciplinary model, Mulkey sounded a familiar theme in his latest academic publication, saying higher education “has an ethical imperative to provide the foundation of a sustainable civilization” but is “broadly failing to meet this mandate.”
“Most existing programs in environmental and sustainability science and studies provide inadequate training and lack budgetary autonomy equivalent to established academic units. Although many universities define sustainability through operational activities, the primary purpose of higher education is not operational sustainability — it is teaching, learning, scholarship, and outreach.
“All undergraduates should acquire basic ecological and sustainability literacy,” he writes. “Teaching, learning, and scholarship for sustainability must become the highest priority in higher education. Collectively, faculty have the power to implement these reforms.”
The Journal of Sustainability Education serves as a forum for academics and practitioners to share, critique, and promote research, practices, and initiatives that foster the integration of economic, ecological, and social-cultural dimensions of sustainability within formal and non-formal educational contexts. For the complete article, click here.