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Measuring Sustainability Literacy: Scale Development

Carl Obermiller and April Atwood
July 1, 2014
North America
Ethics & Social Justice
4 pages
Sustainability, Higher Eduation, Literacy
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In 2007, our university signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment agreement. At the time, that organization comprised fewer than two dozen schools; now it has hundreds. The organization charges its members with a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to teach sustainability. In order to assess the teaching of sustainability, we needed a way to measure the learning of sustainability. In the following paper, we describe the development of a scale of sustainability literacy. In any strategic plan, tactics must be preceded by objectives that are clearly understood, with relevant measurement instruments. Adding or changing courses to educate students about sustainability may be misguided or pointless without appropriate outcome measures. Thus, our first steps were to define sustainability in the context of Jesuit business education and to develop a means of assessing our progress. In the remainder of this paper, we present the development of that scale.