photo of Chalmers' entrance

Chalmers gets good marks on its sustainability measures

Universities have a key role to play in the transition to a sustainable society, by educating the people who will be spearheading these efforts in the future. When the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) recently evaluated how Sweden’s higher education institutions integrate sustainable development in their teaching, Chalmers was among the quarter that received top ranking.

​In 2006 a new provision was added to the Higher Education Act, stating that universities must promote sustainable development. Now, just over 10 years later, a varied picture emerged in the UKÄ’s national evaluation. There were two possible scores:
• the university has a well-functioning process for integrating sustainable development in its teaching
• the university’s process for integrating sustainable development in its teaching needs work
Of the 47 universities in Sweden, only 12 received the first ranking – and one of them was Chalmers.

Some of the assessors’ findings are that Chalmers has overall targets for sustainable development in education, has realised them by integrating obligatory courses on sustainable development in its programmes and conducts extensive research related to sustainable development, which creates good prospects for including research-based competence in its teaching. The way the processes are set up also ensures monitoring. In addition, the environmental management system has a key role to play by providing opportunities for more detailed monitoring. Sustainable development is monitored through the regular quality measures pursued for courses and programmes. The measures are further developed by the staff pedagogical developer Ulrika Lundqvist, who focuses specially on the environment and sustainable development as well as on mankind, technology and society.

The assessors also observed that Chalmers’s management actively takes responsibility for sustainability measures by integrating them into the central governing documents, and that the university cooperates with trade and industry on issues regarding sustainable development in research and education. They also named the Centre for Environment and Sustainability in Gothenburg, GMV, which is operated in collaboration between Chalmers and Gothenburg University, as a key platform for sustainability measures.

“It’s wonderful that the UKÄ’s assessors spotlighted the continuous systematic efforts of many in our departments and in operations support, and note that sustainability is an issue that involves the undergraduate management,” says University President Stefan Bengtsson.

Read more (Only in Swedish):
UKÄ’s report Universitets och högskolors arbete med att främja en hållbar utveckling
UKÄ analysts debate article in the Curie magasine

Text: Ingela Roos och Anita Fors

Published: Thu 12 Oct 2017.