Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Higher Education Sustainability Professionals

  • Jessica Ostrow MichelEmail author
  • Erika Kessler
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_146


Sustainability professionals can be understood as the campus sustainability champion, meaning the person who integrates sustainability in all aspects throughout the institution. The sustainability professional serves as a change-maker, action plan creator, quality controller, and connector. Additionally, the sustainability professional collaborates their office or department with all offices on campus and with the initiated institutional plan, and also serves as a leading educator, among a team of educators, at the intersection of the environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainability.

Higher Education Sustainability Professionals

For nearly three decades, policymakers have looked to higher education as an auspicious site for cultivating social change within the sustainability forefront. After a series of international meetings and declarations on the integration of sustainability into higher education, institutions are now – more than ever – challenged to...


Sustainability officer Sustainability coordinator Sustainability manager Sustainability professional Higher education sustainability 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. AASHE (2008) Higher education sustainability officer position and salary reportGoogle Scholar
  2. AASHE (2017) Salaries and status of sustainability staff in higher educationGoogle Scholar
  3. Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA), Center for Facilities Research (CFaR) (2008) Practical guide to reducing the campus carbon footprint. Retrieved from www.aeieng.com
  4. Baldridge JV, Curtis DV, Ecker G, Riley GL (1978) Policy making and effective leadership: a national study of effective management. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  5. Birnbaum R (1988) How colleges work. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  6. Bloomberg M, Pope C (2017) Climate of hope: how cities, businesses, and citizens can save the planet. St. Martin’s Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Brundtland Commission & Others (1987) Our common future: report of the world commission on environment and development. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence (C2E2) (2006) A practical guide to hiring a sustainability professional for universities and colleges. Retrieved 6 Nov 2010 from: www.aashe.org/resources/campus-sustainability-officers
  9. Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence (C2E2) (2008) Environmental roles and responsibilities in a climate of change what’s changed? What hasn’t changed? Campus EH&S at a crossroads the campus consortium for environmental excellence (C2E2) environmental roles and responsibilities in a climate of change. Retrieved from http://www.c2e2.org/Documents/OriginalC2E2Documents/What’sChangedMay08.pdf
  10. Clugston RM, Calder W (1999) Critical dimensions of sustainability in higher education. Sustain Univ Life 5:31–46Google Scholar
  11. Corson JJ (1962) Governance of colleges and universitiesGoogle Scholar
  12. Cortese AD (2003) The critical role of higher education in creating a sustainable future. Plan High Educ 31(3):15–22Google Scholar
  13. Cortese AD, Hattan AS (2010) Research and solutions: education for sustainability as the mission of higher education. Sustain J Rec 3(1):48–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dave M, Gou Z, Prasad D, Li F (2014) Greening universities toolkit V2. 0: transforming universities into green and sustainable campuses: a toolkit for implementers-advance copyGoogle Scholar
  15. Douglass JA (2010) Higher education budgets and the global recession: tracking varied national responses and their consequences. Research & Occasional Paper Series: CSHE. 4.10. Center for Studies in Higher EducationGoogle Scholar
  16. Edgerton R (1997) Higher education white paper. Pew Charitable TrustsGoogle Scholar
  17. Edwards KE (2012) Moving beyond green: sustainable development toward healthy environments, social justice, and strong economies. New Dir Stud Serv 2012(137):19–28Google Scholar
  18. Elkington J (1997) Cannibals with forks. The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century, 73Google Scholar
  19. Elkington J (1999) Triple bottom line revolution: reporting for the third millennium. Aust CPA 69(11):75–76Google Scholar
  20. Elkington J (2001) The triple bottom line for 21st century business. The earthscan reader in business and sustainable development, pp 20–43Google Scholar
  21. Elmualim A, Valle R, Kwawu W (2012) Discerning policy and drivers for sustainable facilities management practice. Int J Sustain Built Environ 1(1):16–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fieselman L, Lindquist E (2013) The emerging environmental sustainability program at Meredith College. Higher education for sustainability: cases, challenges, and opportunities from across the curriculum, pp 11–28Google Scholar
  23. Filho W, Brandli LL, Becker D, Skanavis C, Kounani A, Sardi C et al (2018a) Sustainable development policies as indicators and pre-conditions for sustainability efforts at universities: fact or fiction? Int J Sustain High Educ 19(1):85–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Filho W, Pallant E, Enete A, Richter B, Brandli LL (2018b) Planning and implementing sustainability in higher education institutions: an overview of the difficulties and potentials. Int J Sustain Dev World Ecol 25:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fullan M, Scott G (2009) Turnaround leadership for higher education. Wiley, San Francisco, CA, USAGoogle Scholar
  26. Galvan JL, Galvan MC (2017) Writing literature reviews: a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences. Routledge, New York, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  27. Gore A (2013) Earth in the balance: forging a new common purpose. Routledge. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=FYfcAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=al+gore&ots=fTMpy4kj1y&sig=jN9B4pOCHFIAlhgaKi3FUVfWv6U
  28. Gudz NA (2004) Implementing the sustainable development policy at the University of British Columbia: an analysis of the implications for organisational learning. Int J Sustain High Educ 5(2):156–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hacking T, Guthrie P (2008) A framework for clarifying the meaning of triple bottom-line, integrated, and sustainability assessment. Environ Impact Assess Rev 28(2):73–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hignite K (2009) The educational facilities professional’s practical guide to reducing the campus carbon footprint. APPA: Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (NJ1)Google Scholar
  31. Hoover E, Harder MK (2015) What lies beneath the surface? The hidden complexities of organizational change for sustainability in higher education. J Clean Prod 106:175–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hopkins M (2016) CSR and sustainability: from the margins to the mainstream: a textbook. Greenleaf Publishing, SheffieldGoogle Scholar
  33. International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), & Sustainia (2014) Iaru pathways towards sustainability Sustainia. Retrieved from http://www.iaruni.org/images/stories/Sustainability/IARU_Green_Guide_for_Universities_2014.pdf
  34. James M, Card K (2012) Factors contributing to institutions achieving environmental sustainability. Int J Sustain High Educ 13(2):166–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kerr C, Gade ML (1986) The many lives of academic presidents: time, place, and character. Association of Governing Boards of Universities and CollegesGoogle Scholar
  36. Kolenick P (2016) Rethinking education for sustainable development: interdisciplinarity, community and environmental justice. In: The contribution of social sciences to sustainable development at universities. Springer, pp 3–19. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-26866-8_1
  37. Litten LH, Terkla DG (2007) Models and resources for advancing sustainable institutional and societal progress. New Dir Inst Res 2007(134):95–117Google Scholar
  38. Lozano R (2006) A tool for a graphical assessment of sustainability in universities (GASU). J Clean Prod 14(9–11):963–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lozano R, Lukman R, Lozano FJ, Huisingh D, Lambrechts W (2013) Declarations for sustainability in higher education: becoming better leaders, through addressing the university system. J Clean Prod 48:10–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mader C, Scott G, Abdul Razak D (2013) Effective change management, governance and policy for sustainability transformation in higher education. Sustain Account Manag Policy J 4(3):264–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McFeeters SD (2011) The characteristics and culture of sustainability at colleges and universities that employ full-time sustainability coordinators. Oklahoma State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  42. McMillin J, Dyball R (2009) Developing a whole-of-university approach to educating for sustainability linking curriculum, research and sustainable campus operations. J Educ Sustain Dev 3(1):55–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Merkel J, Litten LH (2007) The sustainability challenge. New Dir Inst Res 2007(134):7–26Google Scholar
  44. Metz MH (1989) Real school: a universal drama amid disparate experience. Polit Educ Assoc Yearb 4(5):75–91Google Scholar
  45. Newman J (2012) An organisational change management framework for sustainability. Greener Manag Int 57(05):65–75Google Scholar
  46. Noyola-Cherpitel R, Medellín-Milán P, Nieto-Caraveo LM (2016) Discourses and identity: an educational sociology approach to campus sustainability assessment. In: The contribution of social sciences to sustainable development at universities. Springer, Cham, pp 73–88. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-26866-8_5
  47. Orr D (2004) Earth in mind: on education, environment, and the human prospect. Island Press, Washington. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9Q-8BwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR2&dq=david+orr+2004&ots=PRI-DcULL4&sig=SmGZs2GhuzY2k41Tw8rzwEPapso
  48. Rowe D (2002) Environmental literacy and sustainability as core requirements: success stories and models. In: Teaching sustainability at universities. Peter Lang, New York, pp 79–103Google Scholar
  49. Schatsky D (2013) Setting managing sustainability goals. In: Corporate sustainability. Springer, Berlin, pp 157–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Scheer-Irvine N, Weston S, Roberts J (2008) Campus greening efforts: what difference do they make? The College of William and Mary. Retrieved from http://jtrobe.people.wm.edu/press%20release%20campus%20greening.pdf
  51. Shriberg MP (2002) Sustainability in US higher education: organizational factors influencing campus environmental performance and leadership. The University of Michigan. Retrieved from http://promiseofplace.org/research_attachments/Shriberg2002SustainabilityinHigherEdu.pdf
  52. Tilbury D (2011) Higher education for sustainability: a global overview of commitment and progress. High Educ World 4:18–28Google Scholar
  53. ULSF U (1990) The Talloires declaration, TalloiresGoogle Scholar
  54. Van Weenen H (2000) Towards a vision of a sustainable university. Int J Sustain High Educ 1(1):20–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Whetten DA (1984) Effective administrators: good management on the college campus. Chang Mag High Learn 16(8):38–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Willard B (2005) The next sustainability wave: building boardroom buy-in (conscientious commerce). New Society Publishers, Gabriola IslandGoogle Scholar
  57. Zumeta W (2010) The great recession: implications for higher education. In: The NEA. National Education Association, Washington, DC, pp 29–42Google Scholar
  58. Zusman A (2005) Challenges facing higher education in the twenty-first century. In: American higher education in the twenty-first century: social, political, and economic challenges, vol 2. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp 115–160Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher and Postsecondary Education ProgramTeachers College, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Comparative International Education Program/Department of International and Transcultural StudiesTeachers College Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Erin Hopkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA