Science, Complexity and Sustainability in the University of the Future
This activity begins with a series of seminars that build student knowledge about systems, regenerative systems and complex adaptive systems. These seminars give students access to thought leaders that helps them develop their systems-thinking skills and ability to make whole-system decisions.
The seminars develop student understanding of the Earth and the human Mind as complex adaptive systems; and how both can co-adapt to allow people to live within nature as a complex adaptive systems. The seminars also build student understanding of the relationship to different building traditions, science and sustainability; and their understanding of the relation of sustainability, system degradation and the converging forces of global change. It also builds student understanding of the relationships of complexity science, sustainable land systems, sustainable communities, and the cognitive shift from competitive to collaborative thinking and engagement.
Students then apply this understanding in the conceptualization of a Regional University of the Future, and curricular approach to educating people to be societal leaders that could help communities address the profound environmental, social and economic challenges of the present and future. These include the challenges of: how to co-adapt with systems to produce an ecologically, socially and economically healthier world; how to live within nature's laws and limits; and how to help communities live within the dynamics of a place and culture to produce sustainable communities.
- Advancing student skills in systems-thinking and identification of whole-system strategies and solutions
- Introducing students to learning how to live within nature's regenerative systems as complex adaptive systems.
- Developing student understanding of Earth as a complex adaptive system that self-regulates and self-manages the regenerative systems upon which people depend for survival
- Developing student understanding of the human Mind as a complex adaptive system and as an integral part of nature
- Developing student understanding of different development traditions and their relationship to science and sustainability
- Developing student understanding of how to co-adapt development with nature as a complex adaptive system; and problems of failing to co-adapt
- Developing student understanding of the relation of sustainability, system degradation and the converging forces of change
- Developing student understanding of the relationships of complexity science, sustainable land systems and sustainable communities
- Developing student ability to shift from competitive to collaborative engagement
Context for Use
The issues explored in the activity can be approached at different levels for other audiences. Each would require the design of a significantly different activity with different format, engagement strategies, content, and application approach.
Description and Teaching Materials
This activity begins with a series of small group seminars that focus on the relationship of complex adaptive system, complexity science and sustainable development,. It builds student knowledge of how to promote a sustainable future; and to apply that knowledge to conceptualize a new type of university that would prepare people who could lead society to a sustainable future. In the activity, readings inform small group seminar discussions that identify sustainable development issues.. Knowledge about these issues is enhanced through lecture, videos, and increasingly through TED Talks directed to each issue. The knowledge gained enriches subsequent small group seminars and the knowledge that students them apply in conceptualizing their University of the Future.
Science, Complexity and Sustainability in the University of the Future (Microsoft Word 97kB Jul20 12)