Linking the components of a university program to the qualification profile of graduates: The case of a sustainability-oriented environmental science curriculum

Authors

  • Ralf Hansmann

    Corresponding author
    1. ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Sciences, Institute for Environmental Decisions, Natural and Social Science Interface, ETH Zurich SOL F.7, Sonneggstrasse 33, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland
    • ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Sciences, Institute for Environmental Decisions, Natural and Social Science Interface, ETH Zurich SOL F.7, Sonneggstrasse 33, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland.
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Abstract

A university Environmental Sciences curriculum is described against the background of requirements for environmental problem solving for sustainability and then analyzed using data from regular surveys of graduates (N = 373). Three types of multiple regression models examine links between qualifications and curriculum components in order to derive some conclusions about which qualifications are enhanced by which curriculum components. The underlying rationale of these models is that assessments of the importance of a certain component (and the time graduates think should be allocated to it) should increase with the workplace demand for the qualifications it provides. A comprehensive set of 19 qualifications was used, subdivided into three areas of environmental problem-solving skills (A, basic scientific and technological skills; B, transformation-oriented skills; and C, sociopolitical skills) and two areas of transferable skills (D, individual key skills and E, social and communication skills). Relationships identified by different regression models are discussed in terms of mutual consistency and with regard to the design, content, and learning goals of the curriculum components. Many plausible relationships were identified. Using such regression models is a promising indirect method that may be generally applicable for the explorative qualification-oriented evaluation of university curricula and their fundamental components based on graduates' judgments. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 537–569, 2009

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