How to integrate sustainability and multidisciplinary problem-solving skills into curricula?

Responding to the challenges of the future, such as the sustainability crisis, requires the graduate to have knowledge of sustainability challenges, multidisciplinary problem solving skills, and the ability to apply their own in-depth knowledge of the discipline to solving these challenges. On this page you will find practical tips for curriculum development.

Steps for integration

Take everyone along

When renewing the curriculum, collaboration is important. Creating a common understanding of goals and the knowledge and skills needed by the graduate is an important starting point for the development of a solid, aligned curriculum.

Identify and build meaningful connections to sustainability

Identify the sustainability challenges associated with the discipline and industry. The discipline may have direct connections to sustainability solutions, or on the other hand, a need for reforms to reduce negative sustainability effects such as carbon dioxide emissions.

Tools for this stage: To identify connections, you can use sustainable development goals or other frameworks of sustainability and sustainability transition. You can also search for research literature on sustainability in different disciplines and industries, as well as on integrating sustainability into the teaching of different disciplines.

Identify key graduate competencies 

When we integrate sustainability, the goal is that the graduate is able to utilize the expertise of their own field to cope with sustainability challenges and develop solutions. For this, the student needs both disciplinary knowledge and skills as well as knowledge and skills related to sustainability and solving sustainability challenges.

Even if the industry's perspective on sustainability focuses on certain solutions, solving complex sustainability challenges requires the ability to think on systems level, create future scenarios, weigh different perspectives and also ethical reflection. Solving the challenges also requires problem-solving skills, the ability to think strategically, and ability to create and develop viable solutions. Examining complex problems requires the ability seek for alternative perspectives, as well as creative problem solving and teamwork skills.

Renew gradually but be ambitious

With the challenges of sustainability, the need for renew in education is great. You don't have to do the whole change at once, but it's important to start. So, work together with your teaching community to identify both short-term measures and a long-term vision and measures towards it.

Literature to support integration of sustainability, entrepreneurial mindset and radical creativity

Pedagogical courses on the topic

Support for integration of sustainability, entrepreneurial mindset and radical creativity

 Noora Jaakkola

Noora Jaakkola

Integration of sustainability into curricula, curriculum development methods, facilitation of curriculum development
 Riikka Evans

Riikka Evans

Integration of cross-cutting themes into curricula and related pedagogical support
 Meeri Karvinen

Meeri Karvinen

Postdoctoral Researcher
Integration of sustainability into teaching

Johannes Kaira

Radical Creativity [email protected]

Håkan Mitts

University Teacher
Integration of entrepreneurial mindset into teaching

Tuomo Eloranta

Postdoctoral Researcher
Multidisciplinary teamwork in teaching
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