2. The university as an arena of sustainability  transition 

    The year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 protests, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Club of Rome. In many senses 1968 was a momentous year for the global awareness of what we now would call sustainability issues, as a wave of protests by environmental, civil rights, anti-war, and pro-equality movements swept through universities worldwide. Half a century later the need for sustainability is more urgent than ever, but universities worldwide lag behind when integrating sustainability in their education, research, outreach and campus operations. In the literature on Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD), seven dimensions of the higher education system are identified in order to guide the integration of sustainability (Lozano et al., 2013): (1) institutional framework; (2) campus operations; (3) education; (4) research; (5) outreach and collaboration; (6) on-campus experiences; (7) assessment and reporting.

    A new kind of revolution may be necessary for higher education to regain its relevance for sustainable development (SD). A radical breakthrough might position the university as a new arena to create a sustainable future. A critical assessment is needed on the issue whether current curricula, , contribute to unsustainable development (compare Taleb, 2012), thereby challenging the assumptions and worldviews that are ingrained (e.g. in business and economics education), most notably the primacy of efficiency, profit and eternal growth.

    Contributions are invited that offer critical reflections on the role of universities in sustainability and the role of sustainability in universities. The main themes covered in this session include: Frameworks and declarations for HESD; Change management approaches; Living laboratory for sustainability; Holistic approaches in organisational change and assessment; Curriculum change; Competences for SD; Alternative educational approaches; Research for SD; Sustainability science; Collaboration with societal stakeholders; Multi-actor partnerships; Sustainability assessment; Sustainability reporting; Other themes relevant for the topic and interlinking between different topics is encouraged.

    Contributions may cover, but are not restricted to, the following exemplary questions:

    • Institutional framework.
      • Is good campus governance a condition for HESD? Is there a prototype of sustainable university?
      • Do frameworks and declarations for HESD encourage sustainability integration?
      • How can change management approaches contribute to the integration of sustainability in higher education?
    • Campus operations & on-campus experiences
      • How to develop the university campus as a living laboratory for sustainability innovation?
      • How to effectively interlink campus operations with education, research and outreach initiatives?
    • Education
      • Do the curriculum and knowledge transferred at universities support sustainable or unsustainable development?
      • Is theoretical diversity desirable and/or possible in contemporary universities?
      • What is the role of heterodox solutions to orthodox issues in the context of SD?
      • Which alternative learning approaches contribute to HESD (competence based education, curriculum innovation, problem based learning, etc.)
    • Research: Freedom of choice versus choice of freedom in research funding
      • Does scientific research at universities rather support sustainable or unsustainable development?
      • How to support sustainability science that is not directed by particular interests related to economic profitability?
      • Does science for SD fit into the current university governance model?
      • Supply of and demand for critical and heterodox science: Can we create a science that keeps radically questioning current developmental and management paradigms? Can we build a science by radically questioning current developmental and management paradigms?
    • Outreach and collaboration: the relation between sustainability, academia and socio-political movements
      • How should universities be involved in normative, policy-related science? What are the tensions between critical academic education and research, and being on the leash of politics and policy?
      • Should academia take a stand on processes of globalization through, e.g., trade & investment partnerships, increasing the interconnectedness of global systems and creating different threats for global economic, political and ecosystems?
      • How to encourage collaboration between different stakeholders in a societal context (e.g. multi-actor partnerships)?
    • Assessment and reporting
      • How to validate the assessment of the integration of sustainability in different dimensions of higher education?
      • Is a holistic approach towards sustainability assessment in higher education possible?
      • Is a standardisation in sustainability reporting wanted? How to encourage and validate sustainability reporting in universities?
    • Other submissions related to HESD are welcome.

    ISINI has its roots in economic science but explicitly aims to stimulate interdisciplinary research. Therefore, we welcome papers from economics and from the other social sciences, including sociology, political science, psychology, philosophy, history, as well as law. Papers can be theoretical and qualitative, but also empirical and quantitative. 

    Paper submission and acceptance for the conference will take place in the following five steps:

    1. Submission of paper abstract (1 May 2018). For participants without full papers willing to present their work at the conference the deadline is 1 June 2018.

    2. Acceptance of abstract and invitation to submit a paper (14 May 2018).

    3. Submission of paper for review (14 July 2018). This is an option for participants who would like to have their paper published in one of the journals mentioned below. Also without full papers, participants can present their work at the conference.

    4. Feed-back on paper and notification of paper acceptance (14 August 2018).

    5. Submission of completed paper (1 October 2018).

    Selected papers, after positive double blind peer review, may be considered for publication in an issue of:

    ·         The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journal/ijshe),

    ·         Central European Review of Economics and Management (www.cerem-review.eu),

    ·         Central and Eastern European Journal of Management and Economics (www.ceejme.eu).

    To submit an abstract, please email a Word or PDF file to Joost Platje at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Wim Lambrechts (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with the subject line “ISINI SUBMISSION”, by 1 June 2018 at the latest.

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