NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ994862
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-2190-6483
Building Sustainability Change Management and Leadership Skills in Students: Lessons Learned from "Sustainability and the Campus" at the University of Michigan
Shriberg, Michael; Harris, Kathryn
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, v2 n2 p154-164 Jun 2012
Leading institutions of higher education are increasingly utilizing the campus as a laboratory not only for implementing "green projects" but also for developing the skill set of students to lead the deep organizational change necessary for sustainability. This case study of "Sustainability and the Campus" at the University of Michigan, one of the most established and largest interdisciplinary campus sustainability courses, assesses this skill building through surveys, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups. The sample includes 64 current and former students and 11 staff who served as project sponsors. The results reveal that while student learning and project "success" are not directly correlated, students gain a deep understanding of change management complexity and build leadership skills as well as confidence while bolstering their resumes. From a staff perspective, benefits flow as much from the interaction with students, in terms of building mutual respect and shared understanding, as from the direct outcomes. While student labor is not "free" in terms of time and energy, there is no substitute for the enthusiasm, creativity, and perspective that students bring to campus sustainability projects when coupled with the appropriate scope, expectations, and communication. Key factors for project and course success include: active instructor engagement in group dynamics and project management, carefully managing student and staff expectations, and designing projects while simultaneously planning follow-up. Using systems thinking for organizational change as the linking concept between class sessions and group projects provides intellectual continuity and an opportunity for expansive thinking about leadership and change management.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan