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A sustainability assessment framework for universities

Sanghvi, J. (2020) A sustainability assessment framework for universities.

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Abstract:Universities act as a training ground for our future leaders and these training grounds provide an immense opportunity to deliver innovative solutions to some of our society’s toughest problems. Universities with their enormous endowments along with their presence in the social sphere have the unique advantage of shaping our ecosystems, societal structures and human well being. This thesis assignment began as a need to further define sustainability at universities, analyze the different metrics involved in the application of a sustainability assessment framework and a way to compare these metrics with universities around the world. Assessment frameworks in existence are focused on universities in the Global North and the sustainability parameters of the Global South are often missing, there is a need for a framework which crosses spatial and cultural boundaries to allow for comparison and benchmarking of university performances. This framework aims to be applied across different spatial and cultural locales which makes it relevant for universities across the world. This study was aimed at creating a sustainability assessment methodology for universities using a mixed method research design. The primary data was aggregated from key interviews and online correspondence with experts in the field while the secondary data was aggregated through literature and other online sources. A series of existing assessment frameworks along with their category/indicator selection criteria, methodologies and benchmarking methods were critically examined and this assessment framework was created building upon these existing frameworks. This framework includes 16 broad categories under which there are 68 indicators which help in an extensive review of a university’s sustainability efforts. This framework went through a series of reviews where this framework was examined closely and refined to fit in with the project’s research objectives. After the framework was refined, it was applied at one Dutch university (University of Twente) which scored a 4.88 out of 10. To conclude, future research can be focused on expanding upon this framework by inclusion of new relevant categories and indicators along with expansion of the scoring model ranges to incorporate a higher degree of accuracy to better reflect a university’s performance.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/83191
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