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Education for sustainability
University of Adelaide Business School (Australia)
We live in a world in which complexity characterises all human endeavours today. The issues facing our world have become increasingly complex due to the fact that they are embedded in a global web of ecological, economic, social, cultural and political processes and dynamic interactions. These complex problems and challenges cannot anymore be addressed and solved in isolation and with the single dimensional mindsets and tools of the past.
One of the most challenging conceptual and practical issues today is that our society and economy have to craft innovative approaches to build capacity to rapidly redesign for the new world we are living in. It is this capacity to redesign, in systems and sustainability terms, that will increasingly be what society and employers will require. A strong disquiet exists over the apparent silo-nature of education (individual courses taught as if they operate as discrete activities). The social, political and economic constructs of the new world we are living in urgently demand a rapid redesign in education in systems and sustainability terms.
Systems thinking and dynamic approaches offer a holistic and integrative way of appreciating all the major dimensions of a complex problem and are essential mechanisms to help achieve the attributes that industry wants from future graduates. However, it creates a significant pedagogical challenge in that current university education tends to be focused on discipline specific teaching which has no room for a wider systems approach. Didactic autonomous discipline based courses fail to foster a social networking culture that has been proven to enhance the process of deep learning, nor do they promote interactions with other students in other disciplines. To address this problem we need innovative curriculum designs and learning environments that address academic paradigms as well as industry requirements.
This track focus on how systems education could become a major catalyst for systems and interconnected thinking to become main stream in society by helping to create a new generation of effective current and future managers and leaders who will have the ability to effectively apply the available economic, social/political tools and systems knowledge to deal with the many complex issues facing a 21st Century knowledge society. Society urgently needs leaders and managers with the ability to contextualize (systems thinking skills), develop systemic management strategies, managing projects (unravelling complexity and identify systemic interventions and leverage points), build effective networks and work in teams (personal and collaborative skills), build resilience and being adaptable and socially responsible (dealing with change, complexity and impacts on the human dimensions of systems), and appreciate the need for lifelong learning (self learning capability).
Friday 24 - Room "Cecilia" - 14,30 - 19,00