Home » The 2023 Congress » Programme » Parallel Session 6: Sustainability in Education – Creating Awareness for Future Leaders Part 2 (Hybrid)

Parallel Session 6: Sustainability in Education – Creating Awareness for Future Leaders Part 2 (Hybrid)

Tuesday 10 October 2023
16:15 – 17:25
Augustiner Kloster

Sustainable Futures: Global Trends and the Role and Responsibility of Technology Universities

Sub-themes in focus – sharing global perspectives: Sustainability in Education – Creating Awareness for Future Leaders

What: Round Table Discussion: Parallel Session

Overview In these sessions we will explore the sub-themes for the Congress through a range of short presentations leading into round table discussions. 

Each parallel session will have a Chair to facilitate the discussion and we hope the conversations might spark areas for future WTUN collaboration and workstream developments 

Chair: Prof Jens Wolling, TU Ilmenau


  • Dr. Judith M. Pütter, Professor of Business Administration with a focus on strategic management and corporate governance, Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences
  • Prof Mansoor Alaali, University President, Ahlia University
  • Dr. Amani Alaali, Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Science, Ahlia University
  • Prof. Dr. Florian Puch, Head of Plastics Technology Group, TU Ilmenau and Scientific Director of Thuringian Institute for Textile and Plastics Research Rudolstadt (TITK)


Dr. Judith M. Pütter

‘Establishing an interdisciplinary study program of sustainability at a technological university: a case study’

Judith M. Pütter & Irma Rybnikova, Hochschule Hamm-Lippstadt

As a cross-cutting societal issue, sustainability affects many areas and necessarily requires interdisciplinary cooperation and the inclusion of diverse expertise. When it comes to higher education, study programs are most often developed in a way that focuses on sole disciplinary topics and methods. Sustainability is then considered as one additional issue of a given discipline, be it business administration or engineering, without covering the full range of sustainability-related problems. Creating an interdisciplinary study program that can integrate distinct disciplinary fields of expertise in relation to sustainability turns out to be particularly challenging.

The present contribution provides a case study of an attempt to establish an interdisciplinary study program on sustainability at a technological university of applied sciences in Germany where four disciplines are involved: business administration, IT, engineering, and design. Using the auto-ethnographic approach, we describe and reflect on our experiences while initiating the interdisciplinary exchange at the university, participating in discussions, and developing a study program on sustainability.

In our study, we show that the starting point was an increased awareness of the limitations of traditional study programs, where students miss out on learning about interdisciplinary cooperation and fail to comprehend the complexity of sustainability-related problems. To address this, we began planning new interdisciplinary study program on sustainability based on Biggs’ comprehensive model of teaching and learning (Biggs 2012). The aim is to prepare students to find solutions to complex sustainability issues by working collaboratively across disciplines and engaging multiple stakeholders.

In our analysis, we first point out general challenges of interdisciplinary cooperation, such as different assumptions regarding sustainability and the role of each discipline. Another challenge arises from institutional settings, like an insufficient clarification of available resources and competition between disciplines at the department level. Second, we identify issues prevailing in the discussions that make interdisciplinary cooperation fragile, such as the ambivalence between the depth of disciplinary education and the breadth of the interdisciplinary approach, as well as suitable didactic approaches. Our contribution provides therefore a basis for interdisciplinary planning, teaching and learning principles in sustainability related study programs at technological universities.

Biggs, J. B. 2012. “What the Students does: Teaching for Enhanced Learning.” Higher Education Research & Development 31 (1): 39–55.

Prof Mansoor Alaali

‘Sustainable Technology Use for better Sustainable Governance’

Universities have a challenging task to deal with technology in all its changing forms and directions. Sustainability of dynamic university governance to deal with all the aspects of university life which include teaching, learning, management, strategies and internationalisation must be given serious thinking to ensure that universities are able to survive the fast and dynamic changes in technology development and applications. It is time that universities set specialised divisions or deanships to deal with this fast-changing environment of AI and its applications if they are to compete with future ideas generated by leading industries. This presentation will propose a model for future universities and their sustainability.

Dr. Amani Alaali

‘Fostering Sustainable Educational Practices: Industry-University Collaborations in Interior Design for Future Leaders’

This proposal highlights the industry-university collaborations between Ahlia University’s interior design students and local dental clinics, hospitals such as Salmaniya Hospitals and Royal Hospital, and global brands like IKEA. Aligned with the theme of “Sustainability in Education – Creating Awareness for Future Leaders,” this talk showcases the initiatives undertaken by these collaborations to promote architectural conservation, localization of interiors, utilization of eco-friendly and climate-appropriate materials and strategies, engagement with stakeholders, and addressing societal issues for sustainable educational practices.
By partnering with esteemed dental clinics, hospitals, and global brands like IKEA, our interior design students participate in hands-on projects that integrate sustainability principles into their designs. These collaborations emphasize the importance of architectural conservation, preserving cultural heritage, and incorporating modern advancements to create sustainable interior spaces. Students also explore the use of locally sourced materials and eco-friendly practices, contributing to sustainable development within the interior design industry.
Engagement with stakeholders, including dental clinics, hospitals, and global brands, allows our students to gain insights into the diverse perspectives and needs of the community. By addressing real-life problems and societal issues, our students develop a comprehensive understanding of sustainable educational practices and their role as future leaders.
Presenting this topic at the congress provides an opportunity to share our industry-university collaboration experiences and lessons learned. These initiatives exemplify the role and responsibility of technology universities in driving sustainable futures. By empowering our students to create environmentally conscious interior design solutions, we prepare them to tackle the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

Keywords: industry-university collaborations, sustainable educational practices, architectural conservation, localization of interiors, eco-friendly materials, climate-appropriate strategies, stakeholder engagement, societal issues, interior design education, dental clinics, hospitals, global brands.

Prof. Dr. Florian Puch

‘Lecture series as prompt response and interdisciplinary approach for up-to-date topics like sustainability – An example’

How can we address actual topics like sustainability in lectures by not only adopting the content of existing lectures, but by creating new courses with high visibility on campus and beyond? How can recent and interdisciplinary contents be integrated promptly? An approach to answer these questions is our lecture series on the circular economy, where ten chairs contributed their perspective on the topic followed by a wrap up discussion, which was organized by engaged scientific employees. The contribution will focus on the potential of the approach but also highlight challenges, especially towards making this initiative permanent.




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