Environment Centre
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What is CU Environment Centre

The Charles University Environment centre, was founded as a part of Charles University in 1992. It conducts environmental research and provides environmental expertise and information for students, university staff and for the general public. The centre collaborates with parliamentary bodies, state administration, non-government organizations and many academic and research institutions both locally and abroad. CUEC consists of the three units: sustainable development indicators, environmental economics, and education and information for sustainable development.

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The Department  focuses on activities within the field of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development in the Czech Republic as well as internationally.

Environmental education has been one of the main foci of the Charles University Environment Center (CUEC) since the establishment in 1992. In its first years, CUEC supported the transfer of findings and experience in education for the environment and sustainable development from abroad, while in the Czech Republic it has focused on the coordination of activities both within Charles University in Prague and on a national scale.

Transfer of findings from abroad

CUEC has been active in several cooperative projects for the formulation of expert papers on university education, as well as organisation of international conferences. Some of the highlights of these international cooperative efforts include:

  • Coordination of the PHARE project in which 45 various textbook titles were published from all areas of environmental protection
  • Organisation of the International Association of Universities (IAU) conference for the opening of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in 2003
  • Coordination of the 3LENSUS project to develop capability and capacity of education for sustainable development in Europe, one of whose outcomes was the publication of Multi-Actor Learning for Sustainable Regional Development in Europe: A Handbook of Best Practice
  • Guest editorship of a special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production on Learning for Sustainable Development in Regional Networks

Facilitation of national cooperation in Higher Education

To facilitate cooperation at the Higher Education (HE) level in the Czech Republic, CUEC has been actively involved in a number of initiatives pertaining to environmental education (EE) and education for sustainable development (ESD).

University Teachers Forum for Sustainable Development

The University Teachers Forum for Sustainable Development is an informal association of university teaching staff in the field of EE/ESD established in 2003. The Forum facilitates mutual awareness of the educational and other activities of its members, strengthens cooperation in the preparation of courses, lectures, textbooks, as well as in research work and projects, and continuously contributes to the clarification and creation of the content, scope and methods of education for sustainable development.

Agreement of Prague Universities to Co-operate on the Establishment and Provision of the Study of Sustainable Development and the Environment

In 1994, an "Agreement of Prague Universities to Co-operate on the Establishment and Provision of the Study of Sustainable Development and the Environment" was signed. This agreement provided for cooperation in education between Charles University in Prague and other universities in the Czech capital, including the Czech Technical University in Prague, the University of Economics, the Institute of Chemical Technology Prague, and the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. The agreement emphasises the overlap between the natural and technical sciences, and the humanities, and is primarily designed to increase the permeability of studies oriented toward interdisciplinary environmental issues at the faculties of the interconnected Prague universities. The Agreement is updated on a 5-yearly basis, with the latest version coming into force in October 2013.

International educational networks

CUEC is an active member of international educational networks promoting new forms and methods of education for sustainable development, such as the COPERNICUS Alliance and the Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe, for which it provides the Secretariat. It also facilitates cooperation between universities and other entities at the regional level, and in this sense works closely with a network of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE), coordinated by the United Nations University in Tokyo.

As part of the Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe (VCSE), new forms of teaching using e-learning were initiated that operate within an international environment and allow students of all European universities to study courses at partner universities without being burdened by administrative and financial, as well as time and spatial barriers. This cooperation was partly developed with the aim of promoting virtual mobility at the national level (involving other universities in the Czech Republic) and as part of the ERASMUS program. This goal has been furthered strengthened through the MOSUR project (an Interdisciplinary Sustainable Development Network funded project through the EU and Ministry of Education) by opening up VCSE e-learning opportunities to students of other Czech universities outside Prague. E-learning provided by the Center includes a two-semester four-module study programme called ISPoS (International Study Program on Sustainability), which also comprises a blended learning element.

Envigogika – an EE/ESD peer-review journal

Since December 2006, CUEC has been publishing a peer-reviewed electronic journal for environmental pedagogy called Envigogika. The journal, which is included by the Government Council for Research and Development within the list of non-impact peer-reviewed journals as part of the RIV academic performance evaluation programme, is published three times a year in Czech, along with two additional issues in English only.

http://www.envigogika.cuni.cz (please select your language in the upper right corner)

EnviWiki – and online web encyclopaedia

CUEC has created EnviWiki - an online Wiki-style web encyclopaedia - to support teaching in which students have the opportunity to learn in an open public space. This portal not only allows for the collaborative creation of texts comprising different levels of expertise, but can also be used for the screening of various methods of peer reviewing texts. This electronic environment is suitable for e-learning in terms of its interactive nature and possibilities for not only storing information, but also continuously updating it depending on contemporary knowledge.

http://www.enviwiki.cz (in Czech only)

MOSUR – a nationwide project promoting SD cooperation in the Czech Republic and beyond

A nationwide project "Interdisciplinary Cooperation Network for Policy Development in the Field of Sustainable Development" (MOSUR), is currently being implemented under the leadership of the environmental education department in which other Czech universities, as well as non-governmental organizations and the business sector, are involved. In addition to promoting dialogue between academia and other entities, independent research is also being undertaken that focuses on the evaluation of e-learning and its potential for teaching sustainability and the social aspects of learning in regional cooperation.

http://mosur.czp.cuni.cz/index.php/en/ (both in English and Czech)

Members of the Department

Jiří Dlouhý - Head of the Department

Jana Dlouhá - Researcher

Laura Henderson - Researcher

Eduard Petiška - Researcher

Marie Pospíšilová - Researcher