Environment Centre cz bw204

Kapitulčinová, D., Atkisson, A., Perdue, J., Will, M. (2017) Towards integrated sustainability in higher education – Mapping the use of the Accelerator toolset in all dimensions of university practice. Journal of Cleaner Production. Permanent link.


The role of individual change agents and the human dimension in general are increasingly being acknowledged as critical elements in sustainability integration at higher education institutions. Yet few studies focus on the use of tools and methods employed by change agents to promote systematic and institution-wide integration of sustainability principles at universities. To advance current knowledge, this article presents an overview of terminology used for integrating sustainability principles in higher education, as well as the tools, methods, frameworks or models, and approaches (TMFAs) available to change agents. It follows by introducing an integrated change agentry approach encompassing a change management process and a supporting toolset – called the “Accelerator” – that has been used in higher education for over a decade but has not been previously covered in academic writings. The article reports on the toolset‘s use, drawing on survey data from users spanning 17 institutions in 13 countries across 4 continents. The findings indicate that the Accelerator is a versatile toolset suitable for promoting sustainability integration in all dimensions of higher education practice. Yet, very few of the institutions are currently using the toolset in an integrated way across all dimensions of institutional practice. The full potential of the Accelerator in supporting effective change towards holistic and integrated planning for sustainability integration in higher education therefore remains to be further explored as more universities and colleges embark on testing the toolset alongside other established approaches.