Transformative Change for a Sustainable World

Designing the transition for the consumerism challenge
Category
Broadening minor
Minor code
MINUC005
Duration
10 weeks

Content

The aim of this minor is to achieve personal and societal transformative change in the transition towards a sustainable world. With the competences that you will acquire during the group work sessions, skills workshops, and thought-provoking seminars, you will design a local intervention to help sustain the Earth’s systems and the people on it.

The Minor will be organised along three parallel streams of thinking, organising and doing. The thinking will offer thought provoking lectures offered by engaged sustainability academics from different schools and invites students to engage in critical discussions. It will offer new methodologies to support critical thinking and a systems and transition perspective as well as design methods to develop new interventions. The students will form small interdisciplinary teams to develop their shared transition analysis of a specific persistent challenge and develop a transformative intervention for e.g. food, health, finance, mobility or energy (organising). Each week will be a combination of seminars and group work.

How can we achieve a sustainable and just society? Why have science, policy, business and politics thus far failed to deal effectively with our current ecological and climate crises? Does your current education provide you with the necessary knowledge, mindset, and skills to become a game changer for a sustainable world?

In this Minor, we take on a different approach than you are used to. To achieve meaningful sustainable transformations and transitions, we need to think, engage and act differently. This minor is organized through the Head, Hearts and Hands Model for Transformational Learning and focuses on teaching you key sustainability competences. You will work in small interdisciplinary teams to develop a shared transition analysis of a specific persistent challenge related to the paradoxical theme of sustainable consumerism. Each week will be a combination of seminars, reflection sessions and group work. The program is designed to let you engage in personal and societal transformations for a sustainable world through critically investigating complex issues and co-creating solutions. You will engage with local stakeholders who are interested in this challenge, sustainability academics from various schools to challenge you with a variety perspectives and motivated fellow students from different backgrounds.

The assignments of this minor are connected to the development of an intervention to tackle a persistent problem. Thus, each of the separate sessions that you will follow are linked to the assignments providing the guidance and tools to complete them.

Learning objectives

After completing this Minor, you will be able to: 

  • analyze the fundamentals of sustainable consumerism challenges by interpreting different knowledge sources related to the theme;
  • formulate an interdisciplinary problem definition, synthesizing monodisciplinary perspectives on the problem;
  • develop an action research project culminating in an intervention, in a transdisciplinary group;
  • share the outcomes of your research with interested parties;
  • apply the fundamentals of transdisciplinarity, transformations and transitions, including relevant complexity theory and systems and resilience thinking to the project development;
  • interpret normativity and a variety of interests from different stakeholders while navigating uncertainty and complexity in an open learning environment; and
  • reflect on your academic, theoretical, practical and (intra)personal experiences and biases, both as a group and individually.

Adriana Mockovčáková (student, 2020)

“You’ll feel like you got the truth smacked into you. It’ll be intense and at times unpleasant, but afterwards, you’ll be more awake, more aware of how the world works. And how it needs to change (radically!), and how you can be part of that change. The most intense and inspiring ten weeks of my four years of study at EUR.”

Joachim Strzelecki (student, 2021)

"Our group explored the opportunities for protein transition at the EUR campus. We spoke to various stakeholders at EUR, Catering, as well as other Universities which are already in transition. Based on that, we created a proposal for a 2-week event which could kickstart EUR's pathway to go vegan."

Special aspects

This minor consists of a workload of 420 hours. Every week there will be approximately 10 contact hours, consisting of skills workshops related to the assignments and transdisciplinary action research skills and group work sessions. Apart from the mandatory sessions, attendance to seminars is highly suggested, and a considerable amount of self-study during each week is needed (30 hours on average). The Minor requires a full-time dedication: we discourage the students to enroll supplementary courses running in the same period. Attendance to the group sessions and workshops is mandatory and will be considered when grading the students’ professional behavior. The Minor will follow the EUR calendar and will start on 29th August 2022.

Overview content per week

 

Week 1: Engaging with (un)sustainable consumerism

Introduction to the structure of the minor and to the group work. Integrating knowledge on (un)sustainable consumerism to start mapping your own topic.

Week 2: Resilience and Sustainability

Understanding resilience and adaptation in socio-ecological systems.

Week 3: Systems and Design Thinking for Sustainable Transitions

Researching methods and modes of thinking used in understanding the present global systems.

Week 4: Investigating the structural dynamics behind unsustainability and injustice

Deeply understanding the current global situation to finalize your problem statement.

Week 5: Imagining alternative futures

Acknowledging, imagining, and designing a sustainable future.

Week 6: Social innovation as the practice of transformation

Exploring the role of social innovation in transformative processes.

Week 7: Researching and communicating interventions

Continue with your research, define the plan for your intervention and learn how to communicate it.

Weeks: 8 to 10: Assignment preparation and delivery

Teaching methods

The sessions will consist of interactive seminars, guided reflection sessions, skills workshops, and group work tutorials with feedback from coaches and peers.

    Teaching materials 

    This minor will use scientific articles, chapters from books, videos and reports as resources.

    Examination

    Method of examination

    Students will design a concrete intervention based on the theoretical foundation they acquire in this minor. They will be graded based on presentation, participation, and theoretical soundness.

    Assignment (40%): group analysis of a persistent problem that highlights its transformative change potential, elaboration of a report and short presentation of the report.

    Pitch (20%): individual video pitch proposing an intervention to an external party.

    Learning reflection (30%): individual reflection on the contents learned in the minor, which includes the application of the theory to the process of designing an intervention.

    Professional behaviour (10%)

    Composition of final grade

    The final grade will be composed of two small individual assignments (20% for a pitch and 30% for a learning reflection), a large academic group assignment (40%) and professional behaviour (10%).

    Feedback method

    Constant feedback to students will be provided throughout the Minor. In particular, feedback will be given:

    • During each group work session;
    • During the reflection sessions;
    • After each assignment’s deadline;
    • Together with the final assignments’ grades.

    Contact person

    Ana Vasques
    vasques@euc.eur.nl
    +31 623 673 146

    Location: Erasmus University College (EUC) 3rd floor

    Faculty website
    www.eur.nl/euc

    Category
    Broadening minor
    Minor code
    MINUC005
    Duration
    10 weeks
    Organisation
    Erasmus University College
    Study points (EC)
    15
    Instruction language
    English
    Location
    Erasmus University College

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