Plymouth Conference | Education for Sustainability in Higher Education: Achievements and Prospects


A conference titled ‘Education for Sustainability in Higher Education: Achievements and Prospects,’ will be held at Plymouth University on 8 January 2015. 

Hosted by the university’s Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO) and the Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF), this conference will signify three decadal milestones, the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the tenth anniversaries of HEFCE’s influential policy document Sustainable Development in Higher Education and Plymouth’s CSF.

The conference will showcase and celebrate achievements in sustainability-related teaching and learning, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), pedagogic research, resource development, hybrid learning space design, and whole institutional change.

It will explore three themes:

  • ESD Pedagogy: Criticality, Creativity and Collaboration
  • Innovative Learning Spaces for sustainability education
  • Towards the Sustainable University

In addition to research papers and posters, the day’s programme will feature a series of roundtable discussions. This flexible format will encourage delegates to move between tables, choosing topics of their preference, and will also foster a high level of interactivity and discussion, providing useful feedback to presenters and facilitating networking.

The morning session will begin with a Welcome and Introduction by Professor Ray Playford (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Plymouth University). This session will comprise:

  • Keynote 1: Dr Jane Davidson (Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness INSPIRE, University of Wales, Trinity St. David) | Life, the Universe and Everything – how should universities educate for a constrained future?
  • Plymouth Plaza – Roundtable Paper Presentations
  • Three Paper Sessions in parallel on ESD Pedagogy, Innovative Learning Spaces for ESD, and Towards the Sustainable University

The afternoon session, following Lunch and Poster Presentations, will comprise:

  • Three Paper Sessions in parallel on ESD Pedagogy, Mixed themes, and Towards the Sustainable University
  • ESD in Practice Plaza – Roundtable Paper Presentations
  • Three Paper Sessions in parallel, one on ESD Pedagogy and two on Towards the Sustainable University
  • Guest Speech: Jamie Agombar (Head of Sustainability, National Union of Students NUS) | NUS/Higher Education Academy research on student attitudes to sustainable development
  • Keynote 2: Professor Stephen Sterling (CSF, Plymouth University) | So far, so good…. and so what? ESD and the next decade

The day before, a pre-conference event will take place at National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth at 5.30pm. At this informal networking evening Tim Mac Macartney (writer, author, and founder of Embercombe) will give a presentation on ‘A Wind Blowing – experiments in learning well’.

Graphic from the conference webpage



Conference webpage

Conference programme

Abstracts booklet

Plymouth University Centre for Sustainable Futures

Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO)

Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE), University of Wales, Trinity St. David

Plymouth University | Sustainability

Plymouth University | MSc Learning for Sustainability

National Union of Students NUS | Greener curriculum, ESD

LinkedIn posts on ESD and Sustainability in HE | #asiLI on Twitter

Ten ways to supplement QAA-HEA Guidance on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)? Some food for thought

New QAA/HEA ESD Guidance | Complementing UK Quality Code for Higher Education

As UN Decade of ESD ends, Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD begins…

The Sustainable University: Progress and prospects | Handbook to ‘the University of the Future’

Why universities should lead their wider communities’ sustainability endeavours | Three reasons

Green Gown Awards | An international celebration of sustainability in tertiary education

Is UK Higher Education taking a GREEN turn? Sector bodies, student community, award schemes and universities – a look at their recent activity

Positioning itself at the pinnacle of global higher education | Can UK higher education use sustainability as a vehicle?

A green tale of four UK universities | HEA Green Academy workshops – Worcester, Canterbury Christ Church, Bristol and Nottingham

UNEP Greening Universities Toolkit | A global resource for advancing green and sustainable campuses

LSBU MSc in Education for Sustainability | How it enriched my perspective

Embedding sustainability in the curriculum – Gloucestershire style | Nine projects, from Fashion through Sports to Religion

A PBL toolkit for Sustainability Education | A Keele-Manchester-Staffordshire collaboration

Education for Sustainability MSc at LSBU | A pioneer that brings together environment, development and education

Embedding sustainability in Civil Engineering curriculum | Some bricks for thought

UWE’s Institute for Sustainability, Health and Environment | Towards a healthy, sustainable and low carbon future

Southampton’s Sustainability Action Programme | Sustainability across CORE – Curriculum, Operations, Research and Experience

UCL Grand Challenges | Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing

A visual celebration of good practice in sustainability | 40 photos from 18 UK universities

Sustainability | A balancing act? Four of them?

Making sense of sustainability (or sustainable development) | A look at seven definitions

Sustainability-oriented poetry | Ten unforgettable pieces from Byron to Tennyson

Sustainability-oriented quotes and sayings | Twenty gems from Native Americans to Einstein

Related posts on The Sustainable University News & Info website (this website)

Green Gown Awards 2014 | Leadership award to Professor Bailey; three awards to Plymouth

Formally launched! QAA-HEA ESD Guidance for UK higher education providers

New QAA/HEA ESD Guidance to complement UK Quality Code for Higher Education

QAA/HEA ESD Guidance Document for UK higher education goes under consultation

ESD London Conference | Sustainability is a core theme in higher education today and will remain so tomorrow, says VC LSBU

New website: The Guide to Quality and Education for Sustainability in Higher Education

CONFERENCE: Quality Assurance, Enhancement and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): Creating a Framework for Dialogue

Education for Sustainability (EfS) is enriching curriculum and student experience at Gloucestershire, says Professor Tilbury

Informal communication has a key role in sustainability-oriented institutional change, says Green Academy Lead at Worcester

Sustainability leadership is all around us, says Director SD at Canterbury Christ Church University

Disciplines speak ‘Sustainability’ in different languages, says ESD academic lead at Bristol

Online learning is a driver for sustainability, says Dr Speight at HEA-Nottingham seminar

UNEP publishes Greening Universities Toolkit

ESD has made inroads in new pedagogical ideas in future flexible higher education – HEA report

HEFCE London event: NHS Sustainable Development jab to higher education

Sustainable Lifestyles conference | Good life of the good person is only possible in a good society, says Prof Jackson

UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Five questions and 100 delegates from 15 countries: COPERNICUS conference on higher education, sustainability and ESD

Inaugural AGM of London RCE on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

HEA-NUS Report 2013: Student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development

NUS announces 25 Students’ Green Fund projects in England

London South Bank University (LSBU) in Africa: Education for Sustainability (EfS) Residential 2013

Gloucestershire workshop on Education for Sustainability in Higher Education

Delivering ESD and graduate attributes through Hybrid Problem-Based Learning

New TOOLKIT: Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Sustainability Education

Related posts on The Sustainable University Notes blog

Education’s role in addressing sustainability and ESD

Higher Education’s role in building a sustainable world

Pathways to a sustainable university

EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University (Part 1): curriculum content and delivery

Opportunities for integrating sustainability across curricula (Part 2 of EDUCATION pathway to a Sustainable University)

How a blog shaped the Planetshire University (PU) Model (v2) | Sustainability in the curriculum as a driver of reputation enhancement and stakeholder engagement


The Sustainable University One-stop Shop |

Its satellite websites:  News & Info | Research | Good Practice | Quotes | Blog | Reflective Diary | Twitter

Project PROPOSAL for universities | Sustainability as an enhancer of reputation and financial position | The Planetshire University (PU) model (v2)

LinkedIn GROUP | Sustainability, Education and Engagement | ESD at Planetshire University

LinkedIn POSTS | Posts on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) & Sustainability in Higher Education

Profile & Portfolio | Asitha Jayawardena | Strengths, Accomplishments & Recognition

Online Shelf | Examples of past work (PDFs, booklets, press articles, logos, etc)