The Project

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The Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement for Environment and Sustainability has been developed by the environment and sustainability higher education community. This statement describes the minimum or threshold learning outcomes (TLOs) that graduates of tertiary programs in Environment and Sustainability are expected to meet or exceed. The TLOs provide a curriculum reference point for designing and teaching diverse and innovative environment and sustainability programs. The TLOs are not intended to be prescriptive.

The Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (ACEDD) commissioned the development of the TLOs and 'commends the Project Team on the consultation, dissemination and evaluation process used to develop this Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement for Environment and Sustainability. The council endorses the threshold learning outcomes identified in this document as a curriculum reference point for program design, development and delivery in this field.'

The TLOs have been developed for the following tertiary qualification levels and types, as described in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF): bachelor degree at Level 7; bachelor honours degree, graduate certificate, and graduate diploma at Level 8; and masters degree (coursework) at Level 9. The TLOs are grouped into four areas, or domains:

  • transdisciplinary knowledge
  • systematic understanding
  • skills for environment and sustainability
  • ethical practice

The TLOs were developed using a collaborative and consultative process which engaged the expertise and experience of the broad environment and sustainability stakeholder community. This process was coordinated by a Project Team who communicated with nearly 1,000 university academics, students, employers, representatives of Indigenous interests, and other education sector representatives through a website, face-to-face workshops, targeted emails, online discussion fora, questionnaires and social media. Over 250 individuals actively collaborated in the development of the TLOs by contributing over 2,500 separate pieces of advice and guidance. The Project Team drew on stakeholders' contributions to iteratively refine the TLOs over the course of the project.

Students can use these TLOs to make informed study and career choices confident that, where offered, the environment and sustainability options in their programs are authentic. The standards support greater international transferability of qualifications should students choose to study overseas (e.g. for postgraduate programs) through the standards’ alignment with other relevant international benchmarks. Employers can refer to the standards, confident that graduates from environment and sustainability programs are equipped with essential and relevant vocational skills. Finally, the standards provide clarity for others engaged in environment and sustainability education in a range of contexts (e.g. vocational education and training, schools and community education) to assist them in providing training that complements formal tertiary qualifications.

The Project Team acknowledges and thanks ACEDD for its vision in commissioning this project and its strong support through the project’s term. We give special acknowledgement to the members of the external Reference Group for their expert contribution in developing the consultation draft of the TLOs. The Project Team thanks all colleagues across the environment and sustainability community who contributed their time, enthusiasm, expertise and experience towards making these TLOs both inspiring and workable. Finally, we recognise the invaluable contribution of our external evaluator, Professor Daniella Tilbury, who ensured that both the TLOs and the process of their development remained authentic and robust.