Educating the global citizen in sustainable development: the influence of accreditation bodies on professional programmes

Sara Walker, Peter Beacock, Srinath Perera

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It is estimated that over 50% of UK CO2 emissions arise from the buildings and industry sector. Globally construction is estimated to be the world’s largest employer with 111 million employees. The Built Environment sector is therefore a major economic player with significant environmental, social and economic influence across the globe. Pressure on Built Environment degree curriculum partly comes from the professional bodies, with whom a large proportion of the School of the Built and Natural Environment’s programmes are accredited. Accreditation is in many cases a requirement in order for graduates to practice their profession while in others it is not a requirement but an expectation. As a result, accreditation is vital to the marketability of School degree programmes. This paper discusses the key competencies within professional accreditation requirements for three case study subject areas within the School. Through this case study analysis it was found that all three accreditation requirements analysed referred to the accepted three pillar model of sustainability (see for example Kates et al (2005); van Zeijl-Rozema et al (2008); Mackelworth and Carić (2010)). Guidance in all three disciplines referred further to ethics and social responsibility. However, the three professional body accreditation guidelines differ in the prescribed quantity, and the detail of guidance, on sustainability criteria. In ensuring compliance with accreditation guidelines, the three subject areas have taken differing approaches across a continuum. The authors consider that the approaches taken, and the extent to which sustainability criteria are explicit or implicit within the curriculum, are in part influenced by the pedagogic approaches typical of the subject discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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