【Event News】Practicing Sustainable Education and Moving towards a Future University

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In recent years, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become the common language to industry, government and academia. Universities have begun to focus on sustainability-related issues and strengthen their ability to connect with local places, identify and solve local problems.

The event was held on July 7, 2022. Professor Ariana Chang of Fu Jen Catholic University and Professor Min-fen Tu of Tamkang University were invited to talk about the purpose of universities promoting sustainable development and their own experience. Meanwhile, Professor Yi-Cheng Ku of Fu Jen Catholic University moderated at a hands-on workshop on sustainability, practicing the co-creative value of service science and the spirit of Service Science can help+, and bringing service science to the areas of USR and SDGs.

Professor Chang mentioned: "Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability and resources of future generations to meet their own needs." In universities, teachers need to devote themselves to service, teaching, and research at the same time, but they face the problem of lack of time. Therefore, Professor Tu suggested the theory of "Jobs to be Done." Once teachers complete external tasks of administrative service and teaching, they can use their experience of sustainability in courses for functional purposes, give emotional meaning to their actions, and expand their social influence—therein lie the motivation, point, and passion for the commitment.

"Schools CAN make changes!" Professor Chang also said. They can start from four aspects: research, teaching, operation and governance, and building multi-partnerships.

First, in research, teachers should never stop learning and as much as possible combine research with service or teaching, to be more productive.

Second, incorporating sustainability into teaching is the mainstream of education now. Courses related to sustainability can be divided into two types: sustainability focused and sustainability inclusive. Sustainability focused explicitly sets sustainability as the main goal of the course. Students are familiarized with local things and even take part in local activities. On the other hand, sustainability inclusive includes the concept and knowledge of sustainability in the course. ESG Reports are used to show students the significance of sustainability in corporate development.

Sustainability-related courses tend to be accompanied by a great deal of discussion and co-creation. In discussion, Professor Chang indicated that fishbowl discussions can effectively lead students to express their opinions. Due to the impact of COVID-19, interactive courses take on the challenge of no face-to-face co-creation. For this reason, Professor Ku used the online co-creation software Miro in the workshop to demonstrate how to make affinity diagrams through online co-creation, so as to amass the problems that teachers may face in practicing sustainable education.

Third, the preparation of the University Social Responsibility Report or the Sustainability Report has become the main action of the university in its sustainable operation and governance.

Sustainability reports are texts in global circulation. Most of them adopt the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as the writing guidelines, and thus must have quality principles and go through a rigorous preparation process.

Finally, in building multi-partnerships, practicing sustainability is like service science, requiring transdisciplinary co-creation. Engaged scholarship is a case in point. It encourages schools to take full advantage of school and community resources, aside from investing in teaching and research, to build a win-win situation of reciprocity. This event attracted many teachers with whom sustainable teaching and university social responsibility resonate. Thanks to the guest speakers and the workshop, the participants had a better idea of combining SDGs, service science and curriculum innovation. Additionally, they also had a clearer blueprint for how to penetrate local communities and practice university social responsibility. Finally, let Service Science can help+ become a course of action, to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and dialogue, co-create the value of service science, and practice the spirit of sustainable development.