Sustainability: A Public Policy, a Concept, or a Competence? Efforts on the Implementation of Sustainability as a Transversal Competence throughout Higher Education Programs
1.1. Literature Review
1.2. Sustainability as a Public Policy
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Framework for Education in Sustainability at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
- Develop higher order cognitive skills
- Develop attitudes of commitment, initiative, and leadership
- Learn in an active educational environment such as challenge-based learning (CBL), project-based learning, and/or experiential learning, which includes assessment of competences, and which promotes not only learning but also civic and ethical development.
3.2. Sustainability Thinking as a Competence
3.3. Framework Development for Education in Sustainability at the Tecnologico de Monterrey
- Are there organized communities and networks in the region?
- What is the scope of transnational collaboration at the scientific level?
- Have these communities been able to influence decision-making?
- How are these communities related to those in other regions and globally?
- What strategies and policy actions at the institutional level are suggested?
3.4. The New Educational Model Tec21
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
- Kuhlman, T.; Farrington, J. What is sustainability? Sustainability 2010, 2, 3436–3448. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- James, P. Urban Sustainability in Theory and Practice: Circles of Sustainability; Routledge: London, UK, 2014. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Magee, L.; Scerri, A.; James, P.; Thom, J.A.; Padgham, L.; Hickmott, S.; Deng, H.; Cahill, F. Reframing social sustainability reporting: Towards an engaged approach. Environ. Dev. Sustain. 2012, 15, 225–243. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). Our Common Future; Oxford University Press: New York, NY, USA, 1987. [Google Scholar]
- Barth, M.; Godemann, J.; Rieckmann, M.; Stoltenberg, U. Developing key competencies for sustainable development in higher education. Int. J. Sustain. High. Educ. 2007, 8, 416–430. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Wiek, A.; Withycombe, L.; Redman, C.L. Key competencies in sustainability: A reference framework for academic program development. Sustain. Sci. 2011, 6, 203–218. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Barth, M.; Rieckmann, M. Academic staff development as a catalyst for curriculum change towards education for sustainable development: An output perspective. J. Clean. Prod. 2012, 26, 28–36. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Rieckmann, M. Future-oriented higher education: Which key competencies should be fostered through university teaching and learning? Futures 2012, 44, 127–135. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Brundiers, K.; Wiek, A. Beyond Interpersonal Competence: Teaching and Learning Professional Skills in Sustainability. Educ. Sci. 2017, 7, 39. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Vincent, S.; Rao, S.; Fu, Q.; Gu, K.; Huang, X.; Lindaman, K.; Mittleman, E.; Nguyen, K.; Rosenstein, R.; Suh, Y. Scope of Interdisciplinary Environmental, Sustainability, and Energy Baccalaureate and Graduate Education in the United States; National Council for Science and the Environment: Washington, DC, USA, 2017. [Google Scholar]
- Johnson, E.; Edwards, D.; Simon, J. The Falk School of Sustainability and Environment; Chatham University: Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 2019. [Google Scholar]
- Aleixo, A.M.; Azeiteiro, U.; Leal, S. The Implementation of Sustainability Practices in Portuguese Higher Education Institutions. Int. J. Sustain. High. Educ. 2018, 19, 146–178. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Cebrián, G.; Segalàs, J.; Hernández, À. Assessment of sustainability competencies: A literature review and pathways for future research and practice. Cent. Eur. Rev. Econ. Manag. 2019, 3, 19–44. [Google Scholar]
- Aleixo, A.M.; Azeiteiro, U.; Leal, S. Are the sustainable development goals being implemented in the Portuguese higher education formative offer? Int. J. Sustain. High. Educ. 2020, 21, 336–352. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Birdman, J.; Redman, A.; Lang, D.J. Pushing the boundaries: Experience-based learning in early phases of graduate sustainability curricula. Int. J. Sustain. High. Educ. 2020, 22, 237–253. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Aleixo, A.M.; Leal, S.; Azeiteiro, U.M. Higher education students’ perceptions of sustainable development in Portugal. J. Clean. Prod. 2021, 327, 129429. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Redman, A.; Wiek, A.; Barth, M. Current practice of assessing students’ sustainability competencies: A review of tools. Sustain. Sci. 2021, 16, 117–135. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Pálsdóttir, A.; Jóhannsdóttir, L. Key Competencies for Sustainability in University of Iceland Curriculum. Sustainability 2021, 13, 8945. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- United Nations. Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 2015. Available online: https://sdgs.un.org/2030agenda (accessed on 12 December 2021).
- Schwab, K. The Fourth Industrial Revolution; Crown Publishing: New York, NY, USA, 2016. [Google Scholar]
- Membrillo-Hernández, J.; Ramírez-Cadena, M.D.J.; Ramírez-Medrano, A.; García-Castelán, R.M.G.; García-García, R. Implementation of the challenge-based learning approach in Academic Engineering Programs. Int. J. Interact. Des. Manuf. 2021, 15, 287–298. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. Issues and Trends in Education for Sustainable Development; UNESCO: Paris, France, 2018. [Google Scholar]
- Membrillo-Hernandez, J.; Garcia-Garcia, R. Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) in Engineering: Which evaluation instruments are best suited to evaluate CBL experiences? In Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON). In Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Porto, Portugal, 27–30 April 2020. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Tay, H.Y. Setting formative assessments in real-world contexts to facilitate self-regulated learning. Educ. Res. Policy Prac. 2015, 14, 169–187. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Membrillo-Hernández, J.; de J. Ramírez-Cadena, M.; Caballero-Valdés, C.; Ganem-Corvera, R.; Bustamante-Bello, R.; Benjamín-Ordoñez, J.A.; Elizalde-Siller, H. Challenge based learning: The case of sustainable development engineering at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico City campus. In Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing; Springer: Cham, Switzerland, 2018; pp. 908–914. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Membrillo-Hernández, J.; Ramírez-Cadena, M.J.; Martínez-Acosta, M.; Cruz-Gómez, E.; Muñoz-Díaz, E.; Elizalde, H. Challenge based learning: The importance of world-leading companies as training partners. Int. J. Interact. Des. Manuf. 2019, 13, 1103–1113. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Wiek, A.; Withycombe, L.; Redman, C.; Mills, S.B. Moving Forward on Competence in Sustainability Research and Problem Solving. Environ. Sci. Policy Sustain. Dev. 2011, 53, 3–13. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Cato, M.S.; Myers, J. Education as re-embedding: Stroud communiversity, walking the land and the enduring spell of the sensuous. Sustainability 2011, 3, 51–68. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Rosen, M.A. Engineering sustainability: A technical approach to sustainability. Sustainability 2012, 4, 2270–2292. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Wiek, A.; Farioli, F.; Fukushi, K.; Yarime, M. Sustainability science: Bridging the gap between science and society. Sustain. Sci. 2012, 7, 1–4. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Brundiers, K.; Wiek, A. Do we teach what we preach? An international comparison of problem- and project-based learning courses in sustainability. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1725–1746. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Sandoval, J.; Ortiz, a.; Rodriguez, J. The Added Value of Integrating the Academia in Energy Efficiency Learning Networks. In Proceedings of the World Sustainable Energy Days, Young Energy Researchers Conference, WSED2019, Wells; Available online: https://www.wsed.at/reviews/wsed-2019/young-energy-researchers-conference-2019 (accessed on 12 December 2021).
- Ariguznaga-Urquidy, J.M.; Duek-Kalach, M.; Javier-Alvarado, L. Engineering in Sustainable Development: An Innovative Academic Program. In Proceedings of the World Conference on Continuing Engineering Education, IACEE2021, Trondheim, Norway, May 2021; Available online: https://iacee2021.org/proceedings/ (accessed on 12 December 2021).
- Caratozzolo, P.; Membrillo-Hernández, J. Evaluation of Challenge Based Learning Experiences in Engineering Programs: The Case of the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico. In Visions and Concepts for Education 4.0. ICBL 2020. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing; Auer, M.E., Centea, D., Eds.; Springer: Cham, Switzerland, 2021; Volume 1314. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Available online: https://observatory.itesm.mx/Tec21/ (accessed on 31 October 2021).
- Caratozzolo, P.; Friesel, A.; Randewijk, P.; Navarro-Duran, D. Virtual Globalization: An Experience for Engineering Students in the Education 4.0 Framework. In Proceedings of the 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference, 2021; Available online: https://peer.asee.org/38016 (accessed on 12 December 2021).
- Almeida, F.; Simoes, J. The role of serious games, gamification and industry 4.0 tools in the education 4.0 paradigm. Contemp. Educ. Technol. 2019, 10, 120–136. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Demartini, C.; Benussi, L. Do web 4.0 and industry 4.0 imply education X.0? IT Prof. 2017, 19, 4–7. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Salmon, G. May the fourth be with you: Creating Education 4.0. J. Learn. Dev. 2019, 6. Available online: https://jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/352 (accessed on 12 December 2021).
- Bartolomé, A.; Castañeda, L.; Adell, J. Personalisation in educational technology: The absence of underlying pedagogies. Int. J. Educ. Technol. High. Educ. 2018, 15, 14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Mendoza, J.M.F.; Schmid, A.G.; Azapagic, A. Building a business case for implementation of a circular economy in higher education institutions. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 220, 553–567. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Cebrián, G.; Junyent, M.; Mulà, I. Competencies in education for sustainable development: Emerging teaching and research developments. Sustainability 2020, 12, 579. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
|Educative Experience||Original Challenge||Sustainability Challenge||Number of Students|
|i-Week||ELARA. Designing an electrical and electronic system that would allow to communicate in the Campus||ELARA. Designing an electrical and electronic system that would allow communication to be brought to isolated communities in the country, where no electricity is present. One key step of this challenge was the implementation of solar panels to provide enough energy for all the required devices. In one week, students were challenged to apply all their knowledge.||75|
|i-Week||PROFEPA. Reviewing a company for a week detecting procedures to protect the environment and compliance with current standards||PROFEPA. Reviewing a company for a week detecting procedures to protect the environment and compliance with current standards.An additional challenge was included where their studies of industrial ecology, environmental legislation, and ethics were put to the test in an exercise of high demand in a real work environment.||80|
|i-Week||ZIKLUM. The strategy is to find new uses for Tetra-Pak packaging in such a way as to avoid the proliferation of landfills and find innovative ideas for the integral management of solid waste||ZIKLUM. The strategy is to find new uses for Tetra-Pak packaging in such a way as to avoid the proliferation of landfills and find innovative ideas for the integral management of solid waste.||120|
|i-Week||XOCHIMILCO. To design a knowledge-based awareness campaign to preserve the World Heritage City of Xochimilco||To find a way to get the message across. A new addition for CBL was added one year after the start of this challenge that involves biodiversity concepts and water quality testing and designing a sustainable city.||100|
|i-Semester||Design and chemical structure and use of blisters for pharmaceutical products||Structure and use of blisters for pharmaceutical products, disposal, and life-cycle analysis.||100|
|i-Semester||Quantification of the Carbon footprint of a training partner company as an exercise for the use of methodology||Quantification of the carbon footprint of a training partner company giving advises in the ways of decreasing energy consumption.||50|
|i-Semester||How to make a photovoltaic panel, structure, and analysis of energy transformation||How to make a photovoltaic panel, structure, and analysis of energy transformation, and implementation in a rural community.||47|
|i-Semester||Chemical structure of oil from a production industrial plant||Chemical structure of oil from a production industrial plant and further studies to use a biofuel for rural communities.||47|
|i-Semester||Determine the amount of methane produced in the wastewater treatment plant||Determine the amount of methane produced in the wastewater treatment plant and establish strategies for its use or disposal.||26|
|Before (2011–2015):||After 2015 (2021):|
|Disciplinary teaching (curriculum based on watertight environments without communication with other subjects or courses)||Interdisciplinary learning environments (curriculum based on interconnected blocks)|
|Problem oriented and project-based learning||Challenge-based learning|
|Teacher-centered instruction (lectures, laboratory assistants)||Student-centered (collaborative, personalized, and self-paced learning)|
|Closed system cases and exercises with preset and known solutions||Open complex systems and ill-defined problems, with ambiguities and volatility in its elements|
|Disciplinarily exercise solving||Challenge-solving with social orientation based on interdisciplinary approaches|
|Technological feasibility||Economic and social responsibility|
|Technological, economical, and social growth indicators||Sustainable development and economic, social, and environmental impacts|
|Systems Thinking||The ability to analyze sustainability problems cutting across different domains and scales, thereby considering agents, cause-effect structures, cascading effects, inertia, feedback loops, etc.|
|Future Thinking||The ability to anticipate how sustainability problems and solutions might evolve over time, considering alternative development pathways for current systems and crafting new and different pictures of the future.|
|Values Thinking||The ability to collectively map, specify, apply, reconcile, and negotiate sustainability values, principles, goals, and targets.|
|Strategic Thinking||The ability to design and implement transformational (systemic) intervention and transition strategies toward sustainability.|
|Interpersonal Skills||The ability to motivate, enable, and facilitate collaboration in sustainability efforts.|
|Systems Thinking||Variables/indicators, clusters, sub-systems, ontologies|
Cause-effect chains, cascading effects, feedback loops, delays
|Futures Thinking||Temporal terms, phases, states, continuity, and nonlinearity|
Risk, precaution, and intergenerational equity
|Values Thinking||Sustainability goals, targets, and thresholds|
Concepts of justice, fairness, responsibility, etc.
|Strategic Thinking||Success factors, viability, feasibility, effectiveness, and efficiency. Adaptation and mitigation|
|Interpersonal Skills||Concepts of leadership, cooperation, and empathy|
Concepts of solidarity, ethnocentrism, nationalism, etc.
|Systems Thinking||Qualitative problem/system analysis|
|Futures Thinking||Scenario methodology|
Forecasting from statistical and simulation models
|Values Thinking||Impact assessment methods|
|Strategic Thinking||Intervention design |
Constructive governance design
|Interpersonal Skills||Negotiation Conflict resolution|
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Membrillo-Hernández, J.; Lara-Prieto, V.; Caratozzolo, P. Sustainability: A Public Policy, a Concept, or a Competence? Efforts on the Implementation of Sustainability as a Transversal Competence throughout Higher Education Programs. Sustainability 2021, 13, 13989. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413989
Membrillo-Hernández J, Lara-Prieto V, Caratozzolo P. Sustainability: A Public Policy, a Concept, or a Competence? Efforts on the Implementation of Sustainability as a Transversal Competence throughout Higher Education Programs. Sustainability. 2021; 13(24):13989. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413989Chicago/Turabian Style
Membrillo-Hernández, Jorge, Vianney Lara-Prieto, and Patricia Caratozzolo. 2021. "Sustainability: A Public Policy, a Concept, or a Competence? Efforts on the Implementation of Sustainability as a Transversal Competence throughout Higher Education Programs" Sustainability 13, no. 24: 13989. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413989