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University of Limerick Leads UN Initiative Assessing what University Graduates know about Sustainability

University of Limerick

University of Limerick

The University of Limerick (UL) is leading the way in Ireland on an innovative new United Nations (UN)-sponsored initiative to assess the sustainability literacy of university graduates worldwide. The Sustainability Literacy Test is short multiple choice test targeting a range of issues related to sustainable and responsible behavior. The questions are both global and local in scope, and have been customised for Irish norms by a team at the Kemmy School.  They allow the students to test their knowledge against tens of thousands of their peers worldwide.

“Everyone realises now how important it is to educate our students in the basics of sustainability and personal and organisational responsibility”, said Dr Philip O’Regan, Dean of the Kemmy Business School. “We take that very seriously at Kemmy, because of our commitment to the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). What this test does is give us a measure of the extent to which we are succeeding in that ambition”.

The Kemmy Business School is one of only 30 University Business Schools worldwide which has been designated as a Champion of the UN PRME, and it is through that network that the School was chosen to customise the questions for Ireland. The sustainability literacy test is not just for business students, however. It will be offered to all post-graduate students in the University initially, and then rolled out to undergraduates in the new academic year.

“The great thing about this test is that it will let us establish a trend”, said Dr Sheila Killian, who directs the Principles for Responsible Management Education Initiative at the Business School. “We’ll be applying equivalent randomised questions year on year, and so we can track where things are going well, and where we need to improve. It should also prompt some questions among the students, and help to shape what goes on in the classroom. We’re delighted the University is undertaking this initiative, which links particularly to the UL Graduate Attributes of being responsible, proactive and articulate.”

This is one of the most comprehensive attempts to map the outcomes of Irish university education to best international norms in the areas of sustainability and responsibility. More information on the test is available at www.sustainabilitytest.org

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