Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Education University of Groningen Summer Schools Creating a Climate for Change

Creating a Climate for Change

Lecturer Edition

We are currently updating our course overview for 2021-2022. The information below might be updated.

group at work 2018
Sustainble Development Goal number 4

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

Challenges in sustainability education across the U4

Welcome to a summer school for sustainability education in Groningen. At this summer school, we want to share exciting and develop new ideas through series of participatory and interactive workshops. Through discussing our challenges in sustainability education, we will aim to critically analyze our experiences and share our best practices. We ask participants to bring in their cases and experiences.

Over the course of the summer school the cases may concern themes:

  1. Defining and measuring sustainable education
  2. Incorporating sustainability as a central element of a course
  3. Departing from solitude of specialization to teach sustainability
  4. Creating multi- inter- transdisciplinary education on program level
  5. Shaping and incorporating transformative learning
  6. Introducing complexity; valuing ethical and morals aspects of being
  7. Integrative understanding by integrative teaching: ethical thinking and action are supported by moving from being bystander to being a neighbor or friend
  8. Creating intimate understanding of others and their needs to prompt compassionate action
  9. Creating awareness that knowledge is socially constructed
  10. Bridging the knowledge-action gap: demonstrating to learners what people do with their knowledge  
  11. Developing reflective, compassionate politically and socially sensitive teachers
  12. Educators’ practice: how do you do what you teach?
  13. Anthropocene – bringing the effect of human on Earth in education
  14. Creating connections to the community
  15. Building community, building strong relationships, developing higher level thinking skills for real-life application
  16. Changes in Higher Education institutions towards accommodating SDGs
    • appreciation/attention from the faculty/board authorities
    • new organizational forms
    • accommodating inclusiveness

Day One: Meeting other participants, city tour, welcoming drinks
Day Two: Exploring the challenges
Day Three: Designing solutions
Day Four: Discussing implementation plans

The programme will engage the whole human and include next to keynotes, interactive workshops also art, spiritual and yoga activities.

Practical information

Unfortunately, as we currently do not know how the coronavirus will progress globally in the coming months, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the University of Groningen Summer Schools 2020. Hopefully we will see you next year instead. Stay safe and healthy!

Dates & location End of August 2021 (tbc), Groningen, the Netherlands
Level Lecturers, trainers, policy makers in academic education
Fee 2020
Participants need to arrange their own accommodation

For U4 Society members: free.
For non U4 Society members: 300 (includes lunches, welcoming dinner)

Academic coordinator

Dr. Joanna Gusc (Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Groningen)
Dr. Sietske Vissers (Educational Support and Innovation, University of Groningen)
Laila Mendy (Uppsala University)
Marijke Nieborg (The Green Office, University of Groningen)

Contact Marijke Nieborg
ccfc or 0031 (0)50 363 9815

This course is designed for lecturers, policymakers and others who are interested in education for sustainability in higher education.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English .

Joanna Guść Ph.D. (LinkedIn )

Born on 8 July 1975, Poznan (PL)

Languages : Native Polish; second language Dutch; fluent in English, working commands in Russian, German and French.

Since February 2007 Joanna is an assistant professor of Management Accounting and Control at Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Groningen . Her research concerns sustainability in organisations in general and specifically sustainability accounting (True Cost calculations), decision-making to accommodate SDGs and sustainable performance management. Joanna advocates active learning and sustainable education in general in which complexity, humanity and engagement in local community are as important as environmental and economic aspects. She also supervise project in courses organised by Career Services in which the students work on real life organisational challenges.

  • Gusc, J., & Heijes, C. (2018). “Oh This Learning, What a Thing It Is!”—Putting Sustainability First in Teaching Techniques and in Content. Sustainability, 10(8), [2803]. DOI: 10.3390/su10082803
  • Gusc, J., & van Veen-Dirks, P. (2017). Accounting for Sustainability: an active learning assignment. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 18(3), 329-340. DOI: 10.1108/IJSHE-11-2015-0185

Sietske Visser
Sietske Vissers, MSc

Sietske Vissers, MSc, is educational advisor, specialized in inclusive education and technology enhanced learning, at the Educational Support and Innovation (ESI) department. ESI teaches and inspires educators with state-of-the-art didactical courses, tailor-made advisory and educational (re-)design. In a university where diversity is the norm, creativity, curiosity and focus are the most important tools to work with. Next to this, Sietske is a PhD-student with a research focus on making education more accessible for people with hypersensitivity in interpersonal relationships.

Laila Mendy

Laila works in the Centre for Environment and Development Studies, CEMUS, of Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agriculture. She is a course coordinator for "Climate Change Leadership - Power, Politics, and Culture", and "Global Challenges and Sustainable Futures". She is also focused on systems thinking approaches to Southeast Asian forestry management and has been taking a masters in Sustainable Development.

An Account of the Summer School Creating a Climate for Change 2019

During the Summer School Creating a Climate for Change 2019, Lecturer Edition a group of U4 lecturers, policy makers, course coordinators and others came together to work on cases relating to Sustainability in Education.

New perspectives
During the week, participants worked on their own cases and helped each other with new ideas and perspectives. The sessions consisted of workshops and exercises that led towards concrete steps to solving the case. At the end of the Summer School, participantspresented their solutions to the cases they had brought in, and explained the steps that they would take in achieving their goals. You can find their action plans here.


Inspiration and experience
The Summer School also offered inspiring workshops and lectures. Such as the lectures by Arjen Wals, professor in Transformative Learning from Wageningen University, who taught us how to ‘learn our way out of extinction’. Sietske Vissers, from the University of Groningen, let participants experience what it is like to sit in a classroom with a disability and gave suggestions how to make our classrooms more inclusive. Laila Mendy and Aaron Tucky from the University of Uppsala let participants design new sustainable courses, CEMUS-style. And last but not least, to nourish the creativity and mental health of the participants a yoga and meditation class and a creative drawing workshop were organized.

group at work
Last modified:13 September 2021 10.23 a.m.