Keywords: transformative education, causal layered analysis, sustainability, sense–making methodology, SMM, resistance, engineering education, sustainable development, higher education, academic staff development, Australia
Embedding sustainability: 'painless is just delay'
This paper engages with sustainability in higher education, based on working in transformative education with undergraduate engineers and in academic staff development at several Australian universities. It argues that we need to replace 'growth' as our guiding metaphor, with alternatives such as health, healing and sustainability. Embedding sustainability in higher education depends on suitably skilled leadership and the need to understand the 'resistings' to what some see as sustainability's proselytising 'boy–have–I–got–an–idea–for–you' zeal. These include recent aggressive arguments that sustainability is 'eco–corruption' and 'corroding the curriculum'. Sense–making methodology proved useful to gather evidence about the process of transformation while future thinking provides a meta–dimension to the resulting insights. In working towards graduates who are 'critical beings' and more, Globo sapiens, we will need wisdom, the humility to seek it from any cultural tradition, and the personal and professional skills to apply it.