VCSE Guidebook/Enlargement of the Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe/Membership in VCSE as part of a wider university strategy for ESD?

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4.4. Membership in VCSE as part of a wider university strategy for ESD?

A possible issue to be raised for consideration by the network members is how membership in VCSE can contribute to the university SD strategy or ESD strategy, if there is one in place. Where there is no such strategy, could joining VCSE promote activities towards development/expansion of the institutional strategy for ESD? How could this be operationalised? One possibility is engagement with the Audit Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education (AISHE), developed by the Dutch Committee for Sustainable Development and Higher Education. AISHE addresses the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development goal for education reform. It is a tool to measure the integration of sustainable development as a theme in higher education curricula, therefore making it possible to set objectives and targets for improvement. As AISHE focuses on education for sustainability activities, it complements EMAS and ISO 14001, focusing on environmental management. Thus, it is useful for those institutions, which are interested in broadening their sustainable development strategy to include educational activities. For VCSE network members, it could be a useful tool for reflecting on and sharing information about the degree of commitment to SD at each member institute. If the VCSE network were to encourage the adoption of AISHE among network members, it could help partners define their priorities for ESD and so guide and clarify their participation in the network. If VCSE promoted the adoption of AISHE, it could also function as a way to move universities’ activities for ESD beyond taking up externally developed e-modules on sustainable development: this could serve as a catalyst for a more thorough examination and exploration of the role and activities of partner universities for ESD, and also would help the VCSE courses move from a (in some cases) marginal position to a more embedded university activity. The VCSE could in turn serve as a site for a community of practice to discuss the implementation of ESD in diverse university contexts. These are questions, which might currently be beyond the scope of VCSE but, nevertheless, provide food for thought.