University of Almeria (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 9966-9974
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0885
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The urgency of solving pressing environmental and social problems that are currently shaking societies has led higher level education institutions to embrace sustainability as a core element of Business curricula worldwide (Samuelson, 2013). Given the interrelationship of sustainability with all the functional areas of a company, sustainability issues are regarded as a cross curricular subject to be promoted. The introduction of sustainability in the curricula should imply that sustainability aspects must be part of the profiles of the titles of the different degrees and the inclusion of contents, teaching methodologies and activities that assist students to develop competencies related to environmental sensitiveness and social justice (Ull et al., 2010)

However, despite the efforts devoted in the past years, the degree of integration of sustainability in the various disciplines that ground the company is still very limited, and scholars warns about the little progress achieved in the transformation of the curricula of subjects related to Business (Starik et al., 2010).

This study aims to explore students’ perception of the degree of integration of sustainability issues in the curricula of the different subjects related to Business disciplines of the University of Almeria. Specifically, our sample comprises more than 150 responses of students enrolled in different undergraduate and master level degrees of the Faculty of Business Economics and Management (Accountability, Marketing, Business Administration, Economics, etc.). The University of Almeria can be regarded as an interesting research context because sustainability is a central pillar of its strategic plan of action, and the Faculty of Business Economics and Management stands out for being the most important in terms of the number of students and degrees offered.

Our results offer insights on students’ high interest in learning about sustainability, and the great importance attributed to having sustainability related knowledge and skills to find a job. However, our findings reveal that students perceive that in general instructors give little importance to sustainability, especially in accounting subjects, and in fact, students’ main means to learn about sustainability is the media (76.80%). We also found that sustainability has little presence in mandatory bibliography (24%), complimentary bibliography (22%), case studies (44%) and activities (42%). According to students’ reponses, sustainability issues are mainly introduced through classroom examples (64%). Nevertheless, 72% of the students claimed that they would like sustainability to have a greater weight in the business curricula. Taken all together, our results confirm that despite the importance apparently attributed to sustainability by the University of Almeria, its integration into curricula is still limited and major curricula transformation is needed to train students as future responsible leaders.

[1] Samuelson, J.F. 2013. Putting pinstripes in perspective. BizEd, May/June 66-67.
[2] Starik, M., Rands, G., Marcus, A.A., & Clark, T. S. 2010. From the guest editors: In search of sustainability in management education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 9(3): 377-383.
[3] Ull, M., Martínez Agut, M., Piñero, A., & Aznar Minguet, P. (2010). Análisis de la introducción de la sostenibilidad en la enseñanza superior en Europa: compromisos institucionales y propuestas curriculares.
Sustainability, business curricula, integration.