Stenz/Projects/Stenz Benchmarking

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Facilitating the design and use of a set of indicators for assessing sustainability-related activity in tertiary education institutions with a view to reporting results so as to improve practice.


Submitted application (pdf)

Funding is requested for a project that develops indicators for sustainability teaching and learning in universities and polytechnics; it pilots, surveys and conducts in-depth investigations in selected institutions, reports on results, and uses these results to engage in discussion with key informants and other interested parties in tertiary education institutions.

The project occurs in conjunction with work SANZ is planning in relation to the development of indicators and measures for the UNDESD.

Potential indicators might include:

• Reference to sustainability teaching and learning as priorities in the TEI strategic plan

• Existence of a TEI sustainability policy and/or action plan

• Reference to attributes of strong sustainability in graduate profiles

• Dedicated sustainability programmes, e.g. Masters in Sustainability Engineering

• Sustainability-related programmes, e.g. Bachelor of Business Studies with a major in

Environmental Management

• Dedicated sustainability papers, e.g. Education for Sustainability 341

• Papers with substantive sustainability content, e.g. Environmental Ethics 307

• Requirement for all students to learn about sustainability e.g. Sustainability 101

• Extent of trans-disciplinarity in programmes and papers

• Presence of student learning communities focussed on sustainability

• Use of service learning and applied projects in the community within papers/programmes

• Pre and post tests of student awareness, attitudes and actions pertaining to sustainability

• Incidence of alumni survey questions related to utility of sustainability education

• Knowledge of employment opportunities for graduates in sustainability


1. Invite additional reference group members who have specific expertise to assist the STENZ working group, e.g. Professor Amanda Ball, Professor Eric Pawson, Professor Juliet Roper and EFS expert.

2. Identify TEIs interested in piloting sustainability learning and teaching benchmarking survey (provisionally in Otago Polytechnic, CPIT, University of Canterbury, AUT University).

3. Identify Principal Investigator xxxxxxxxxxxx

4. Prepare and submit funding application.

5. PI and Reference Group to develop and finalise draft indicators.

6. Pilot TEIs.

7. Run benchmarking survey

8. Collate and analyse responses

9. Conduct in-depth investigation of three institutions of varying levels of engagement with sustainability

10. Report results

11. Disseminate and discuss results and next steps via a regional roadshow

12. Feed into wider capacity building exercise undertaken by STENZ


Contracted research over 3 months

Fee for PI

Fee for Contract Researcher

Expenses for travel :

• To meet with Reference Group

• To conduct pilots

• Run survey

• To conduct in-depth investigation

• Disseminate results