KTH Broadens Commitment to Sustainability Education

  Göran Finnveden, KTH Vice President for Sustainable Development

Göran Finnveden, KTH Vice President for Sustainable Development

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KTH’s focus on environmental issues -- underlined in 2011 with the appointment of a vice-president for sustainability -- is gaining momentum with new targeted investments in education. The university’s administration has approved SEK 6.5 million ($964,000) for courses in environment and sustainable development studies.

“Our surveys show that younger engineers feel that they lack the right tools to work with environmental and sustainability issues,” says Göran Finnveden, Vice President of KTH with responsibility for sustainability since last year. Now those views are leading KTH to expand its environmental education efforts.

The strategy calls for a dual approach, on one hand offering education programs that focus specifically on environment and sustainability — such as the Energy and Environment engineering program — while on the other hand integrating those fields into all training programs. Other Swedish universities are making progress on the second part of the strategy, Finnveden says, but they haven’t come very far on the first.

The administration says that this year’s expanded investment in sustainability is a sign that last year’s approach was judged a success.

“The Energy and Environment Program is working out very well, says Finnveden. “The number of applicants is high, and both students and instructors are committed.”

The latest round of funding will be focussed primarily in six of KTH’s ten schools, and the offering is intended to be permanent.

“We’re making a long-term commitment to environment and sustainable development,” says KTH President Peter Gudmundson.

He’s backed by Vice Dean Per Berglund, responsible for undergraduate studies at KTH: “The goal is to integrate environment and sustainable development over the long run into all training programs,” he says.

An assessment of how well environmental and sustainability topics are being included in the programs will be conducted this spring, and the action plans will continue to evolve based on the results.

By Peter Larsson

 
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