1st Edition

Universities and the Sustainable Development Future Evaluating Higher-Education Contributions to the 2030 Agenda

By Peter H. Koehn, Juha I. Uitto Copyright 2017
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    Since the mid-1970s, a series of international declarations that link environment and sustainable development to all aspects of higher learning have been endorsed and signed by universities around the world. Although university involvement in sustainable-development research and outreach has increased substantially, systematic learning from higher-education engagements has been limited.

    Universities and the Sustainable Development Future offers institutions of higher learning around the world practical guidelines that can be applied contextually to produce credible evidence regarding the outcome and impact of their teaching, research, and transnational-partnering activities. Drawing on innovative applications of lessons from experience with international-development cooperation, this book demonstrates the utility of a flexible framework that will inspire substantial improvements in the ways universities evaluate and improve their sustainable-development undertakings aimed at promoting Agenda 2030.

    This book promotes an inclusive evaluation framework that will allow universities to illuminate sustainable-development outcomes, and it provides a cutting-edge resource for students, scholars, and policy makers with an interest in sustainable development, climate change, and evaluation challenges.


    Part I  The Role of Today's Universities in Advancing Sustainable Development

    Chapter 1: Conceptual Framework for Understanding University Engagement in Sustainable Development
    Chapter 2: Contemporary Sustainability Expectations and Challenges for Higher Education

    Part II Universities and Sustainable-Development Evaluations
    Chapter 3: A Review of Higher Education Sustainable-development-evaluation Practices
    Chapter 4: The State of Higher Education Sustainable-development Evaluation: Limitations and Opportunities

    Part III Framework for Enchanced University Sustainable-Development Evaluations
    Chapter 5: Evaluations that Matter: Universities and Sustainable-development Transitions
    Chapter 6: Curricular Evaluations that Matter
    Chapter 7: Research Evaluations that Matter
    Chapter 8: Outreach Evaluations that Matter
    Chapter 9: Evaluating Transnational Higher-education Partnerships for Sustainable Development
    Chapter 10: Enhancing Agenda-2030-Evaluation Capacity at Northern and Southern Universities

    Part IV Sustainable Development and Enhanced University Process, Outcome and Impact Evaluations
    Chapter 11: Practical Guidelines for Utilizing the Sustainable-development-evaluation Framework
    Chapter 12: Conclusion: Evaluation and Higher-Education Contributions to the 2030 Agenda

    Conclusion: Universities, Evaluation, and the 2030 Agenda


    Dr. Peter H. Koehn is Professor of Political Science, a University of Montana Distinguished Scholar, a Fulbright New Century Scholar, and recipient of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU)’s 2011 Michael P. Malone award for international leadership and the 2012 George M. Dennison Presidential Faculty Award for Distinguished Accomplishment. Over the course of his career, he has taught and conducted research in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Eritrea, Namibia, China, Hong Kong, and Finland. From 1991 through 1996, he co-directed a USAID University Development Linkage Project designed to strengthen the capacity of The University College of Belize to contribute to the sustainable development of Belize, particularly in natural-resource management. Professor Koehn is the founding director of The University of Montana’s Office of International Programs and its academic programs in International Development Studies and Global Public Health. His most recent book is China Confronts Climate Change: A Bottom-up Perspective (Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research Series, 2016). A full CV and list of publications can be found at www.cas.umt.edu/polsci/koehn/

    Dr. Juha I. Uitto is Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Since 1999, he has held various evaluation positions with the GEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and conducted and managed a large number of programmatic and thematic evaluations of international cooperation at the global, regional, and country levels. Dr. Uitto spent the 1990s in the United Nations University coordinating the university’s environment and sustainable-development research and training programs. His earlier work has included positions in the Nordic Africa Institute and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He was educated at the Universities of Helsinki and Lund. Dr. Uitto has published widely on topics related to environment and natural resources management, sustainable development, environmental hazards, and evaluation. Routledge published his edited book Evaluating Environment in International Development in 2014. He also serves as Visiting Professor of Global Practice at Rutgers University. In October 2012, the European Evaluation Society awarded him for "distinguished contribution to evaluation practice."

    Universities have a choice: to contribute unthinkingly to critical trends that are leading to social, economic and ecological disruption and volatility, or to knowingly participate in forging a future where risk is minimised and systemic wellbeing for all is pursued as the guiding value. By underlining the urgency, meaning, and practicability of the task, this thorough and comprehensive book can make a major contribution to bringing sustainability to the centre of higher education’s attention and effort - where it surely must belong.
    Professor Stephen Sterling, Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth, UK.

    This book expands the conceptual design and utilization of the evaluations of education for sustainable development (ESD) and transnational sustainable development (TSD). Important concepts include capacity, stakeholder inclusion, systemic change, outcomes, and impacts. If utilized by educators, evaluators, researchers and practitioners, the information in this book will enhance evaluation, ESD, TSD, our species, and the planet.
    Dr. Debra Rowe Sustainable Energies & Social Sciences, Oakland Community College

    As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development takes its first steps, this timely book asks a critical question: how can we know what kind of impact universities are making on fostering sustainable development around the world?  By taking a big picture view of our environmental context, Koehn and Uitto put forward a framework that universities and their stakeholders will find enormously valuable for making evidence-based decisions about how best they can achieve impact.
    Anne-Claire Hervy, Associate Vice President for International Development and Programs, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU)

    This book is a valuable contribution to the small but growing literature on the environment and evaluation. It is uniquely accessible to the non-technical reader and should be read widely.
    -Saraswathi Menon, Former Chair, United Nations Evaluation Group

    Today there is growing international recognition of the importance of education for sustainable development in light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the global community. This timely and pragmatic publication provides us with insights into how universities already make and can make significant future contributions to sustainable development. The book will be of enormous value to academics and senior administration in higher education institutions around the world.-Matthias Barth, Professor of Education for Sustainability, Leuphana University of Lueneburg

    Universities and the Sustainable Development Future is truly breaking new ground in the fields of sustainable development, higher education, and evaluation for three reasons. It constitutes the first systematic study on the topic. Second, it provides tools for assessing the contribution of universities to sustainable development. Third, it forces to think about the overall nature and role of universities in connection with the big issues of the years ahead. Considering how essential universities are for the training of the professionals and citizens of tomorrow, and considering how sustainable development is key for the future of the planet, the issues tackled in this book are of outmost urgency.
    Jean-Marc Coicaud, Rutgers School of Law, Rutgers University

    Universities must play a key role in ensuring that our society becomes sustainable economically, socially, environmentally, culturally and politically. It is my earnest hope that sustainable development occupy the centerpiece of all university programs of teaching, research, and outreach, and especially for student activities, be they classroom study, extra-curriculum activities, or internships, to develop our young people dedicated and committed to sustainability. Therefore, this book by Peter Koehn and Juha Uitto is so important. I would even venture to suggest that the title should be Universities for Sustainable Development.
    Ryokichi Hirono Professor Emeritus, Seikei University