Successes and snags of a sustainability course in higher education

Alberto Arenas, Deborah J. Barca, Dennis Sanchez Rosemartin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


By means of an action-research methodological approach, this paper analyses the accomplishments and challenges of a university-wide course that offers sustainability theory and practice to help students adopt pro-sustainability behaviours and analyse public policies that seek to transform urban areas into truly sustainable places. Through the lens of the four pillars of sustainability - environmental, social, economic, and cultural - the course explores various topics related to sustainability (e.g., energy and water conservation; housing design and construction; transportation; social and biological diversity; and war and peace) but pays particular attention to the themes of education; food production; and intentional communities. Despite the popularity of the course, it has encountered various ideological and logistical challenges that at times have imposed significant constraints on the course's trajectory. The paper examines ways of overcoming these obstacles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-383
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Challenges
  • College
  • Community service
  • Curriculum
  • Higher education
  • Home environmental improvement
  • Manual work
  • Sense of place
  • Service learning
  • Sustainability
  • Undergraduate course
  • University

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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