Sustainability & Professional Identity (1st semester 23/24)
Do you think a lot about the biggest social challenge of this moment? This minor helps you - as a future professional - to discover how you can contribute successfully and in a responsible way to the sustainable development of our society.
What is it all about?
In our minor Sustainability & Professional Identity you are in control of what and how you learn. Within four themed blocks you are invited to tackle challenges on several topics, ranging from changing the food-system to creating an equitable society and achieving global degrowth. We provide you with weekly seminars on relevant topics, yet how you spend the rest of your time is up to you. Within your community you decide what topics you want to cover, what you need to address the challenge, and what you deem the most suitable way to acquire the required knowledge.
Working in Learning Communities
This minor gives you the opportunity to learn within a community of other enthusiastic students from several different disciplines. As a community you will attend the seminars provided to you by our team of lecturers and guest lecturers. You come up with your own related learning activities in and outside the classroom. Types of activities could be a company visit, field/desk research, work on a case-study, or host an expert session on a specific topic. Besides, for each themed block you can decide whether you would like to experience working alone, in a group or together with the entire community.
What’s in it for me?
Hopefully a lot of attention has already been paid in your studies to sustainable development. In this minor you will learn about perspectives, concepts and ideas which will help you make your industry and our society more sustainable in a responsible manner. Experience taught us that students specifically enjoy the freedom you get within this minor, compared to more traditional ways of teaching. You can come up with your own topics, projects, or companies you would like to (virtually) visit or inspiring professionals you would like to invite. This way you get the most out of this inspiring minor!
The main learning goal for this minor is “to develop your own professional identity based on broad and in-depth knowledge, skills and attitudes related to your social responsibility as a professional”.
To guide this development process, we use the Key Competencies for Sustainability (UNESCO, 2017) as an overarching framework to inform, steer and assess students’ progress. These competencies have been identified by UNESCO as crucial to advance sustainable development and are closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2017 report “Education for Sustainable Development Goals – Learning Objectives” by UNESCO further elaborates on this link and illustrates how specific cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural learning objectives can be identified in relation to each of the 17 SDGs.
Propaedeutic certificate obtained
Motivation Letter + Interview
Good level of English
Study Materials are provided per seminar.
In principle, all topics will be tested by means of three deliverables. For each of the themed blocks, you will deliver an ‘evidence journal’. This deliverable is purely based on your reflection on what you have learned from the challenge. The average grade for all of your three evidence journals makes up your final grade for this first deliverable.
Secondly, we ask you to create a ‘Job Profile’ of your ultimate dream job after graduation.
Finally, during the last month of the minor you will receive plenty of time to develop your ’Portfolio’ in preparation for your ‘Final Interview’. This portfolio serves as a collection of skills and experiences that will make you the best candidate for your dream job. This means that over the last month of this minor, you can decide for yourself what skills or experiences you require for your own professional identity. It may be that you will be interviewing certain professionals, do some volunteer work or take a course to acquire a certain skill. Anything is possible. During the final interview we ask you to reflect on yourself and on why you would be the ultimate candidate for this job. As the cherry on the cake, reaching the highest level of self-reflection, you get to grade yourself!
The following list of competencies serve as a guiding principle in the structure and content of this minor. The topics and didactics that are in place to accomplish these competencies are stated below.
Systems thinking competency: the abilities to recognize and understand relationships; to analyse complex systems; to think of how systems are embedded within different domains and different scales; and to deal with uncertainty.
Anticipatory competency: the abilities to understand and evaluate multiple futures – possible, probable and desirable; to create one’s own visions for the
future; to apply the precautionary principle; to assess the consequences of actions; and to deal with risks and changes.
Normative competency: the abilities to understand and reflect on the norms and values that underlie one’s actions; and to negotiate sustainability values, principles, goals, and targets, in a context of conflicts of interests and trade? offs, uncertain knowledge and contradictions.
Strategic competency: the abilities to collectively develop and implement innovative actions that further sustainability at the local level and further afield.
Collaboration competency: the abilities to learn from others; to understand and respect the needs, perspectives and actions of others (empathy); to understand, relate to and be sensitive to others (empathic leadership); to deal with conflicts in a group; and to facilitate collaborative and participatory problem solving.
Critical thinking competency: the ability to question norms, practices and opinions; to reflect on own one’s values, perceptions and actions; and to take a position in the sustainability discourse.
Self-awareness competency: the ability to reflect on one’s own role in the local community and (global) society; to continually evaluate and further motivate one’s actions; and to deal with one’s feelings and desires.
Integrated problem-solving competency: the overarching ability to apply different problem-solving frameworks to complex sustainability problems and develop viable, inclusive and equitable solution options that promote sustainable development, integrating the above.