Sustainability in Higher Education: Comprehensive Tool for Assessing the Sustainability in Higher Educational Institutions
AuthorShalabi, Roa Jehad
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Sustainability has received increasing attention in the Higher Education Institutions nowadays. Several sustainability assessment tools have been identified for higher education through previous research. However, there should be further research for sustainability aspects in higher education since there is still no standardized assessment that all institutions follow due to its broad categories involved. This research work aims to develop a comprehensive tool for assessing sustainability in higher education. The tool is named later as “Sustainability Assessment of Higher Education” (SAHE). In order to realize the SAHE on a broad scale (locally and globally), the sustainability aspects considered in the SAHE were perfectly aligned to the “United Nations Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) and the “Times Higher Education” (THE). The SAHE tool provides higher education institutions with a database tool to assess their contribution to sustainable development. More specifically, the SAHE constitutes of five main categories, namely, Academics; Operations & Environmental; Planning, Administration & Engagement; Economic; and Social. The SAHE proposes 108 qualitative and quantitative sustainability indicators to report the contribution of the educational institution under each of the main categories. The SAHE structure combines several subcategories – 21 layers. This unique structure, multiple-layer, provides the SAHE tool an advantage over several of the existing tools or methods. The multiple-layer structure provides the sustainability practitioner with a narrow range of selections under each indicator. This research work considers Qatar University as a case study to evaluate the applicability and operational performance of the SAHE tool. The case study started by composing a list of the potential administrative and academic sources of data. Once it is confirmed and approved, the communications with the data providers are initiated, and in return, the QU sustainability assessment database is created consisting of 85% of the information required. Finally, an assessment scoring and ranking approaches were proposed and implemented to the collected data.
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