Applying Systems Approach to Educational- Organizational Change - Improvment of an Interdisciplinary Program: : Master Program in Sustainable Development

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper


After the introduction of the term, sustainable development, a variety of academicians fromdifferent disciplines tried to conceptualize it in their own way, drawing on these views, manydifferent degrees but with similar titles have been established in many universities all around theworld.Masters program in Sustainable Development (MSD) at Uppsala University and the SwedishUniversity of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is one the most recent ones. Before starting this study, itwas investigated that the expectations of the different actors in this program are not fulfilledcompletely. Presence of many different ideas and perspectives in addition to the high number ofactors involved in the situation made the situation too complex to be fixed easily. Therefore, theSoft Systems Methodology (SSM), as an appropriate approach for improving complex problematicsituations, is used to reform the organization of the MSD in coming years. The process ofidentifying the challenges of this program and then improving some of them in practice aredescribed in this thesis. Alongside the action phase, the applications of Systems Approach intransformation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) are explored.It is investigated that three levels of learning, i.e. basic, meta- and epistemic learning, andaccordingly three levels of organizational change, i.e. the first, second and third order, need to berecognized, if an ESD program is to be different from the unsustainable trends of education.

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