Sustainability values in the University of Minho Institutional Strategy

Sustainability values in the University of Minho Institutional Strategy
Speaker: Prof. Paulo J. Ramísio
Pro-Rector of the University of Minho
Thursday October 5th, 2017, 6:00 PM

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) show the strategic worldwide priorities and aspirations for 2030, and represent an unparalleled chance to place the world on a sustainable development path. After the commitment of worldwide Governments, it is now expected that all organisations will join this global effort.  Higher Education Institutions play an important role in the challenge. In fact, the United Nations has declared the 2005-2014 period as the Decade of Education "for sustainable development, establishing an international mandate to incorporate sustainability principles, values and practices into all aspects of education processes”. At the university level, the mandate requires integration of sustainability into education, research, operation and evaluation (UNESCO, 2004). In response to this growing concern of society, Higher Education Institutes around the world have begun to change their missions and educational practices to incorporate sustainability as a disruptive theme of their activity (Stephens & Graham, 2010; Sibbel, 2009; Ferrer-Balas, et al., 2010). The Gothenburg Declaration was expressed that Higher Education Institutions need to become open education centers and hubs for sustainable development (Holmberg et al., 2008).

It was in this framework that the University of Minho (UMinho) - listed in the 400 Times Higher Education Ranking begun, in 2009, a strategic reflection in order to incorporate Sustainability Values into its Institutional strategy. The "UMinho 2020 Strategic Plan - Sustained Growth for the Future" and the Action Plans for the periods of 2009-2017 were fundamental guidelines for the implementation of these policies.

This presentation will focus on the sustainability policies implemented by the University of Minho, and annually reported in a Sustainable Report. The contribution to the SDGs, and the synergic engagement to the surrounding community demonstrate the potential of Higher Education Institutions in paving the way for a more sustainable future, and to support other institutions and communities into a sustainability leadership.