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Student Success Framework Series Review and Redesign: Education for Sustainable Development

As part of our review and redesign of the Student Success Framework, this literature review and associated outputs focus on Education for Sustainable Development.

This systematic review of research of Education for Sustainable Development (2015-2023) extends the bibliography in the Education for Sustainable Development Guidance published by Advance HE and the Quality Assurance Agency (2021), and builds on the pioneering Green Academy organisational change programme (Higher Education Academy, 2011-2014).

The final report from the Green Academy programme found that a trial-and-error approach to ESD was prevalent, an approach that is still in evidence today. The ESD literature, whilst expanding, remains largely descriptive and case-based, with a notable absence of robust evaluation. ESD remains largely driven ‘bottom-up’ by individuals with a passion for sustainability rather than a strategic approach to integrating ESD into curricula. In response, this review sought to understand:

  1. How has ESD been framed within curricula and how have ESD principles been operationalised as learning outcomes?
  2. What ESD pedagogies, assessments and teaching approaches are used, and why?
  3. What student outcomes and perceptions are associated with these ESD practices, and what barriers are encountered?

Notably, effective pedagogical approaches fostering transformative ESD outcomes tend to revolve around problem or project-based learning, often engaging multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary teams, triggered by real-world, local, or global challenges. For practitioners embracing emergent ideas, this literature offers valuable insights, benefiting educators, leaders, and researchers in the field.

Read the introductory blog

An Advance HE member benefit

The review of the Student Success Framework is an Advance HE member benefit and is open to all colleagues at Advance HE member institutions. Click below to see our full range of member benefits. 

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Project output: Literature review

 This literature review brings together and systematically reviews research from between 2015-2022 and enquires after the most advantageous approaches to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) across the HE sector.

ESD recognises that education in its current form is unsustainable and requires radical change. The goal here is large-scale collective transformation of a profound nature, beyond changing personal values and consumer behaviour. Universities are uniquely placed to bring this about, as collectivities of learners and researchers in a range of disciplines with a civic concern that connects them with their local communities and the world of work.

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Purpose of events

These summits provide an enabling forum for practitioners, professionals, academics, researchers, and leaders from across the academic community to add their voices to recent literature reviews – ultimately being part of the process that will help shape and focus the update of the Advance HE Essential Frameworks for Enhancing Student Success.

The summits provide an opportunity for experts and thought leaders in these key areas to collaborate and create insightful analysis from their wealth of knowledge and experiences, for the benefit of all who engage within Higher Education and supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 4: Quality Education for all.

Specifically, the summits aim to:

  • Gather key questions and challenges in the specific area

  • Crowdsource ideas and solutions to influence any future update to the student success framework series

  • Discuss ways to put into practice effective examples and methods and to consider each thematic area through wider lenses.

 Webinars are an opportunity to learn more about the findings of the literature review, and the work that went on to develop it. Each summit and webinar is repeated to allow audiences from different time zones to participate, but the content will be the same for each session.

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Webinars and Summits

Each webinar and summit is run twice to allow larger audiences to join.

ESD Webinar: Thursday 26 October

7am – 8:30am

ESD Webinar: Thursday 26 October

12pm – 1:30pm

ESD Summit: Tuesday 14 November

7am – 8:30am

ESD Summit: Tuesday 14 November

12pm – 1:30pm
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Meet the team

Mira Vogel

Senior Lecturer in Education
King's College London
Mira Vogel
Dr Mira Vogel is a Senior Lecturer in Education at King’s College London. She led the systematic review of Education for Sustainable Development, funded by Advance HE. For the past 20 years she has worked in university educational development roles across disciplines, including leading the Learning & Teaching Programme of cross-faculty professional development for colleagues new to teaching or new to King’s. Her doctorate was in web-based health promotion for people with high blood pressure.

Lindsay Parker

A doctoral candidate in the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industry, King’s College London. As research assistant she played a major role in filtering, reviewing and contributing to the draft report.

Dr James Porter

A lecturer in Human Geography (Education), King’s College London. Dr Porter advised on the proposal, interviewed research assistants, participated in and advised on the reviewing phase and gave feedback on the draft report.

Maria O’Hara

A lecturer in Education (Assessment and Feedback), King’s Academy, King’s College London. In her former role as Learning & Teaching Librarian, King’s College she was centrally involved in devising, testing and peer reviewing the search strategy, gave guidance on data management, contributed to filtering and review, and gave feedback on the draft report. 

Dr Emma Tebbs

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Earth Observation, King’s College London. She advised on the proposal and review, and gave feedback on the draft report.

Dr Rowan Gard

Lecturer in Liberal Arts, Sustainability & Socially Engaged Education, King’s College London. She advised on the proposal and review, gave feedback on the draft report, and provided guidance on the graphics.

Xiaohuang He

Doctoral student in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. As research assistant she carried out a major part of the filtering phase.

Jay-Bethenny Gallimore

Doctoral candidate in the Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. As research assistant she contributed to the reviewing phase.

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