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Using Accreditation to Foster Education for Sustainability in Higher Education: The Implementation of the Peace with Creation Project at Eastern Mennonite University

Using Accreditation to Foster Education for Sustainability in Higher Education: The Implementation of the Peace with Creation Project at Eastern Mennonite University
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Author(s): James Yoder (Eastern Mennonite University, USA) and BJ Miller (Eastern Mennonite University, USA)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 16
Source title: Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Ken D. Thomas (Auburn University, USA) and Helen E. Muga (University of Mount Union, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5856-1.ch025

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Abstract

Education for sustainability in higher education often faces numerous financial and institutional barriers. One overlooked mechanism for the promotion of education for sustainability is accreditation requirements. This chapter studies Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), a Christian liberal arts university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which took advantage of this mechanism by choosing education for sustainability as the topic for one of its accreditation requirements, the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). EMU's QEP, Peace with Creation, builds on grassroots efforts and focuses on infusing education for sustainability throughout the undergraduate curriculum. Challenges faced along the path to implementation of the plan included confusion over the definition and scope of sustainability, early fatigue and cynicism by the student body, and uncertainty as to how the now well-supported plan would mesh with other sustainability efforts on campus. Three years into implementation, it has become clear that the accreditation mandate has significantly advanced education for sustainability at EMU, and it is evident that accreditation can apply powerful leverage for integrating education for sustainability into an institutional framework.

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