Beyond interpersonal competence: Teaching and learning professional skills in sustainability

Katja Brundiers, Arnim Wiek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Successful careers in sustainability are determined by positive real-world change towards sustainability. This success depends heavily on professional skills in effective and compassionate communication, collaborative teamwork, or impactful stakeholder engagement, among others. These professional skills extend beyond content knowledge and methodical expertise. Current sustainability programs do not sufficiently facilitate students’ acquisition of such skills. This article presents a brief summary of professional skills, synthesized from the literature, and why they are relevant for sustainability professionals. Second, it presents how these skills have been taught in an undergraduate course in sustainability at Arizona State University, USA. Third, it critically discusses the effectiveness and challenges of that exemplary course. Finally, the article concludes with outlining the lessons learned that should be incorporated into future course offerings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Pedagogy
  • Professional skills
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • General Computer Science
  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications


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