The goal is by 2020 we will have an educational and research framework ensuring that students gain a solid understanding of sustainability concepts and graduate with the capacity and commitment to solve problems locally and globally.
In January 2019, HKUST’s Sustainability Education Community organized Hong Kong’s first workshop to help educators teach sustainability across academic disciplines. The one-day interactive workshop, entitled “Sustainability Across the Curriculum: The Hong Kong Context,” challenged participants to explore sustainability-related skills and competencies that could be utilized in a variety of different learning contexts. Participants came from eight universities and three NGOs spanning a diversity of fields. The workshop members identified “sustainability character development” as a valuable crosscutting approach to overcoming the complexity of achieving consensus in defining, understanding, and teaching sustainability.
Evaluation of our Capabilities
An undergraduate curriculum survey report was updated during the year to identify opportunities and gaps in the existing provision of sustainability-relevant courses, providing a basis for the development of sustainability education across Schools and programs. The study showed that
- Overall, Sustainability Focused or Related courses represent roughly 6% of the overall UG course catalogue.
- In 2018-19, Sustainability Focused or Related courses represented roughly 14% of the approved new courses.
- By distribution, all schools and all departments include at least one listed course. SENG has the largest overall number of listed courses among schools, and ENVR, CIVL, and SOSC having the highest number of listed courses among departments.
- In terms of exposure to sustainability concepts, we note that 57% of recent graduates are leaving with a “strong” exposure (completing two or more Sustainability Focused courses); only 6% of students graduated with no course exposure to sustainability.
In line with this drive to expand teaching and learning of environmental issues, the Division of Environment and Sustainability introduced a Common Core course entitled Introduction to Sustainability in Spring 2019, with a total of 176 students attending the sessions. Flipped classrooms, blended learning and activity-based teaching methods were used to boost students’ interest and awareness of issues locally and globally and enhance their ability to address them. Two members of the Elderly Academy Scheme also attended the course, giving highly positive feedback. The course has since been approved as a School Sponsored Course.
Two types of Life Cycle Thinking Workshops were offered in Spring 2019 for Engineering students in their second and third year of study that will equip them to understand this concept for their final year projects. Students appreciated the interactivity of the workshop and described it as the best ENGG2010 workshop currently offered. TLIP Project Funding has been approved to upscale and develop more advanced workshop materials. It is our first phase of ensuring that all students have the ability to demonstrate some key sustainability concepts by the time they graduate.