The University as an Arena for Sustainability Transition


Special Issue of The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

” The University as an Arena for Sustainability Transition “

In the framework of a special session of the ISINI 2018 conference


Editor: Joost Platje (

Session Organisers: Joost Platje (WSB Wroclaw), Ynte van Dam (Wageningen University), Wim Lambrechts (Open University of the Netherlands)


The year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Club of Rome. Half a century later the need for sustainability is more urgent than ever, but many universities worldwide lag behind when integrating sustainability in their education, research, outreach and campus operations.

A new kind of revolution may be necessary for higher education to regain its relevance for sustainable development (SD). A radical breakthrough might position the university as a new arena to create a sustainable future. A critical assessment is needed on the issue whether current curricula, contribute to unsustainable development, thereby challenging the assumptions and worldviews that are ingrained (e.g. in business and economics education), most notably the primacy of efficiency, profit and eternal growth. On the basis of the need to promote a scholarly debate and discussion on the role of universities as arena for sustainability transition, this special issue of The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education is being prepared. Now on its 19th volume, IJSHE is a fully indexed journal and the world´s leading scientific periodical devoted to sustainability in higher education.

Contributions are invited that offer critical reflections on the role of universities in sustainability and the role of sustainability in universities, especially in respect of transition. The main themes covered in this special issue include: Frameworks and declarations for HESD; Change management approaches; Living laboratory for sustainability; Holistic approaches in organisational change and assessment; Curriculum change; Competences for SD; Alternative educational approaches; Research for SD; Sustainability science; Collaboration with societal stakeholders; Multi-actor partnerships; Sustainability assessment; Sustainability reporting; Other themes relevant for the topic and interlinking between different topics is encouraged.

Contributions may cover, but are not restricted to, the following exemplary questions: (1) Institutional framework, (2) Campus operations & on-campus experiences, (3) Education, (4) Research: Freedom of choice versus choice of freedom in research funding, (5) Outreach and collaboration: the relation between sustainability, academia and socio-political movements, (6) Assessment and reporting, (7) Other submissions related to HESD are welcome.


Paper submission and acceptance for the conference will take place in the following five steps:

  1. Submission of paper abstracts (1 June 2018) .
  2. Acceptance of abstract and invitation to submit a paper (30 June 2018).
  3. Submission of paper for review (14 September 2018).
  4. Feed-back on paper and notification of paper acceptance (30 October 2018).
  5. Submission of completed paper (20 December 2018).


To submit an abstract, please email a Word or PDF file to Joost Platje at with the subject line “ISINI SUBMISSION”.


(featured image:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s