A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to contribute to a workshop on “Reframing your teaching with sustainability and real world challenges” which was organized by Kai Niebert and Sara Petchey which took place at the University of Zurich. My part was on faculty’s motivation for teaching on sustainability. Based on a workshop that we had organized for the last Sustainable University Day , the goal of my session was to explore which motivators and barriers the workshop participants experience when introducing sustainable development into their curricula. The workshop started out with a personal reflection exercise on participants’ personal motivators. In the next step, the participants discussed in smaller groups how they can sustain their motivation and which barriers they might encounter on their journey. This part was based on the motivational systems theory (MST) by Ford (1992) who distinguishes between personal goals, personal agency beliefs and emotions.
The participants discussed their own personal goals and (anticipated) emotions when teaching about sustainability. Regarding personal agency beliefs, we further distinguished between participants own capability beliefs (i.e. their perceived competence) and their context beliefs, i.e. their evaluation whether their environment supports the pursuing of their goals. The participants engaged actively into the discussion. Context beliefs were differentiated between support and barriers. The following picture provides a good summary.
The results of the workshop will feed into a research paper on faculty motivation that Patrizia Kühner and I are currently preparing. If you’re interested in commenting on the draft version, please let us know in an e-mail. Further comments regarding the insights from the workshop are also welcome!