Sustainability in Higher Education


I’m looking forward to visiting QMUL on Thursday 28th April, to provide a research seminar about sustainability in higher education. In fact, I’ve undertaken a few projects about sustainability, my previous work exploring educational developer perspectives on sustainability policy and sustainability in the curriculum.

In this session, however, I’ll be talking about my current project, which focuses on sociological conceptions of sustainability. Sustainability is both a contested and a confusing term, at least within higher education, and although there are various successes associated with it, it can be divisive as well. It attracts concerns particularly when we start looking at sustainability with a view to its possible inclusion in curricula. Consequently, various studies have looked at sustainability in the context of different disciplines and different disciplinary curricula. However, my feeling was that we need to gain a greater understanding of sociologists’ views, as these are not particularly well researched, because there are some commonalities between sociology and sustainability, and because it might be the case that sociologists can offer some valuable perspectives about sustainability in higher education, in general.

So, in this seminar, I will present some of my findings based on phenomenographic interviews with 24 sociologists (students and staff) and offer comments and recommendations based. The study is not yet quite complete but I hope it will offer some points of interest for anyone with an interest in sustainability, whether that be academic or practice based. The research approach (phenomenography) will also be further elucidated one as, I would argue, it lends itself well to researching sustainability.


If you’d like to attend, the link to register is


Patrick Baughan, Senior Lecturer in Educational Dvelopment, City University London



Watch the seminar online now:


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