1 Universidad de Piura (PERU)
2 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
3 Tecnológico de Monterrey (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 5086-5095
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.1241
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Higher Education institutions (HEIs) are undergoing challenges and rapid changes, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The in-progress digital transformation of universities has arrived to stay and poses challenges to faculty and academic authorities. Teaching the HE students of the 21st century should no longer use the methods of the 20th. Instruction modes and strategies focus on online teaching, competency-based education, active learning, and student engagement. Besides, both the classic non-profit and the for-profit-online business models of HE are somewhat witnessing an upheaval. HE institutions must meet societal demands and requirements, which influence their instruction quality, reputation, degree offerings, job market compliance, and human progress in the long term.

HEIs play a paramount role in promoting concern and addressing efforts in future professionals. No wonder HEIs support and perform their two key missions, i.e., generating and disseminating knowledge, as main contributions to society. Indeed, student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and can do by the time of graduation. These relate to the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that students acquire as they progress through the program. But the traditional university missions are under review and debate. In this regard, universities are prompted to promote the basis for educating future professionals on the complex set of behaviors, disciplines, and decisions involved in the sustainable development (SD) horizon. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) first coined the SD concept in 1987. At the same time, it becomes mandatory that HEIs focus their efforts toward the so-called "third university mission", as they may become a driver to promote a mind-shift in students and graduates toward a more sustainable world. Some action fields to undertake are: integrating sustainability competencies into university curricula, addressing HE efforts toward sustainability, circular economy, sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainable consumption.

HEIs have become qualified actors to promote a mind shift, built on the common good and the person-centred basis, toward a peaceful, inclusive, and well-being future. Accordingly, HEIs must be committed to SD, which implies the progress of all humankind and the whole person. Such a commitment involves rethinking policies, instruction strategies, and tailoring outcomes to ensure training in democratic values, equal opportunity and human-right principles, transversal competencies, and to emphasize the ethical dimension of HE. In this regard, the service-learning approach emerges as a valuable strategy. HE can address socio-civic competence gaps in future professionals from a holistic approach towards the circular economy as a pathway to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). However, there is concern about the link between university rankings and sustainability issues.

This work reviews some sustainable development aspects, built on outcomes and competencies, that can be addressed from HE actions and gives an insight into strategic areas to address from the HE standpoint to seek for a better sustainable society:
1) Transversal competencies in HE toward Sustainable technology in construction, industry, production, and consumption.
2) The rationale behind the university rankings concerning SDG.
3) Current Practices and Future pathways towards Competencies in Education for SD.
Educational Innovation, sustainability in higher education, university rankings, education for sustainable development, education 4.0, University third mission.