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Currently, one of the challenges facing Higher Education Institutions worldwide is the systematic incorporation of knowledge, practices, competencies and approaches to education from the perspective of sustainability in all their curricula and curricula. The challenge not only involves the transmission and teaching of new knowledge to students at all educational levels, but the construction and incorporation of new values, skills and ways of understanding the world, as well as their relationships and interconnections at all scales and dimensions . This new challenge involves forming first-level human resources, endowed with extensive border knowledge, capable of understanding its reality and improving it under the approach of sustainability.

Due to the above, quality and sustainable education was included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations Organization (UN), as a fundamental element on which it is possible to improve people’s quality of life and ensure a comprehensive and harmonious development with the environment, where teaching staff plays a fundamental role, since it depends on detonating the processes of reflection and internalization of the paradigm of sustainability in students.

Within this framework, the Autonomous University of Nuevo León promotes transversal policies and strategies to incorporate sustainability in all its activities, assuming the responsibility of promoting a change of behavior among the members that make up the university community, especially teachers and students with in order to move towards a sustainable future, in addition to promoting the incorporation of the environmental perspective and criteria in its curricular system. In 2014, the University Academy for Sustainable Development (AUDS) emerged, a space for collaboration, discussion and analysis composed of teaching staff from all the faculties of the UANL, which aims to establish links within the academic community that carry out research, teaching and dissemination activities, in the field of sustainability, regardless of their discipline of study, under a community approach, to facilitate communication, stimulate research, teaching, dissemination and exchange of knowledge and innovation, with the purpose of moving towards the formation of an informed network of the activities of its peers in the field of sustainability and the promotion of teamwork, within the formal and non-formal educational field.

The AUDS operation is in charge of the Project Development Directorate, and part of the need to have a transversal policy to move forward in the immediate future towards strengthening content on sustainability in higher education units, to ensure that their graduates are properly trained in issues related to sustainable development.

In this sense, it is of utmost importance to support the work of the teacher in the classroom, providing training and academic updating, through formal and non-formal education instruments such as courses, seminars and diplomas, as well as providing support materials that reinforce the contents. taught in the classroom and offer the necessary methodological tools to work the curriculum under this approach in order to be able to properly influence each of the disciplines taught in the UANL.

The AUDS does not seek to add new content to current curricula, on the contrary, it seeks to reorient the vision of the current curriculum under a sustainability and cross-cutting approach of the economic, social and environmental axes, incorporating reflection and analysis under this sustainable perspective . In this context, the participation of teachers and researchers has its action scheme based on: research, reflection, learning, collaboration and action.

 

Actions developed

Currently, UANL is made up of 26 faculties, 29 high schools, 40 research centers, institutes of science, culture and art. Its academic plant is made up of 6,928 teachers, of which 805 are attached to the National System of Researchers SNI-CONACYT, and has an educational offer made up of 309 educational programs: 40 from the upper middle level; 1 university technician, 78 senior and 190 graduate, of which 49 are internationally accredited: 38 at the bachelor and 11 graduate level and has 6 university campuses (University City, Agricultural Sciences, Health Sciences, Mederos , Linares, and Sabinas Hidalgo) and has an institutional presence in 34 of the 51 municipalities that make up the state of Nuevo León.

In recent years, UANL has experienced a growing academic activity around sustainability, reflected in the implementation of various actions, including the completion of courses, publications, projects and graduate and postgraduate events related to sustainability:

  • 3,123 courses taught at the bachelor level related to sustainability issues.

  • 1,733 annual average publications.

  • 1,302 annual average events.

 

Structure and operation

The Academy is chaired by the Rector of the UANL and its operation is carried out by the Ministry of Sustainability (SS), through the Project Development Department. It is made up of leading researchers and teachers (full-time, part-time and subject) assigned to different university departments, which are experts and referents on specific topics, guiding the different lines of discussion and collaboration in each of the disciplines of the knowledge.

The AUDS operates under a face-to-face and distance scheme, because a general meeting is held annually in which the advances, strategies and lines of action to be developed by its members are discussed; and on the other hand, throughout the year courses, workshops, seminars and other academic activities are offered focused on strengthening content aimed at teachers and researchers, as deemed necessary.

The AUDS is a horizontal and intra-institutional body that complements and strengthens the work of the academic bodies, academies and curricular commissions of the faculties and research institutes of the UANL and its proposed objectives are as follows:

  • Generation of sustainable development proposals applicable to the substantial activities of the UANL.

  • Promote the incorporation of sustainability in university teaching: curricula, course programs, evaluation mechanisms, teaching and learning strategies, among others.

  • Promote the professionalization and continuous updating of the academic plant in terms of sustainability.

In addition, the proposed principles under which the AUDS will work are:

  • Collectivity and collegiality

  • Flexibility

  • Multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity

  • Integration and institutional mainstreaming

  • Benefits for its members

 

Benefits for its members

Some of the most relevant benefits that academic staff obtain from being part of the AUDS are:

  • Institutional recognition as participation in collegiate bodies.

  • Free access and participation in training and updating activities organized by the AUDS.

  • Support for the publication of works in specialized spaces.

  • Active participation in mechanisms of academic communication and intra and inter-institutional exchange.

 

Lines of work


The lines of work with which the AUDS began operations are:

1. Development of innovative methodologies and materials for the incorporation of sustainable development in university teaching. Projects that are inserted within this line may include one or more of the following activities:

  1. Preparation of monographs, review articles, essays and other texts to support teaching and dissemination of environmental issues.
  2. Experimentation of new teaching approaches (problem-based learning, project method, case analysis method, various modalities of online teaching complement, new forms of learning evaluation, etc.).
  3. Development of teaching support packages for sustainability education.

2. Development of online multidisciplinary learning modules, supporting university teaching and technical training, under the “learning objects” approach, which requires:

  1. The definition of a specific topic from the perspective of any profession, discipline, scientific, technological or philosophical field that the topic of sustainable development requires.
  2. The definition of the topic in a specific field (global, macro-regional, national, micro-regional, local), as well as the definition of learning objectives to be achieved in any self-taught public with an educational level.
  3. The training of academic staff for the structuring of learning modules.
  4. The collection of relevant information.
  5. The systematization and organization of information for self-taught learning purposes.
  6. The elaboration and collegiate review of the materials.
  7. Development and conduct of pilot tests and ongoing review of online materials.

3. Development of research, reflections and proposals on the incorporation of the theme of sustainable development including the following sections:

  1. Contextualization, review, rethinking and restructuring of analytical programs of courses.
  2. Development of panoramic studies on the relevance and relevance of sustainable development in the various curricula of the UANL professional and postgraduate careers.

The projects carried out by the members of the AUDS are enrolled in one or more of the lines of work described, without prejudice to the objectives or additional approaches that each teacher deems appropriate to adopt.

 

University curriculum diagnosis

A first step to determine the baseline of sustainability issues in the university curriculum, was to make the Diagnosis on the incorporation of the theme on sustainable development in the University Curriculum, which yielded the following results, which reflect the commitment of the UANL for train professionals under the paradigm of sustainability: of a total of 6,613 Learning Units taught in the 78 degrees that are taught in the 26 faculties that are part of the UANL, 3,123 (47%) are linked to issues related to sustainability, of which 1,351 correspond to social issues, 1,150 to environmental issues and 622 to economic issues. And during the last three years the number of Learning Units linked to sustainability has been increasing.