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TE Stories

Curriculum Change in progress: Transforming Education in Graz

The Curriculum Change team as part of oikos Graz was established with the start of the winter term 2020 and currently has eight active members. Our main goal is to increase the inclusion of sustainability topics in all study programs. In the following paragraphs we summarize the activity of our team. 

Firstly, we are still collaborating with the RCE (Regional Centre of Expertise Graz-Styria) at the university of Graz which supports our common goal: sustainable education. Together we established a new free elective module at the university, the “basic module sustainability” which is open to all students and study programs. It aims to educate the students in sustainable development and its different dimensions, starting from the basics. 

In the Winter Term of 2020/21 the new module “basic module sustainability” started with more than 370 students taking part. The lecture was held in a hybrid setting with around 100 students on-site. The rest was able to follow online.

Furthermore, we are continuing to hold the oikos lecture, substituting the last lecture in the course “introduction to business administration”. There we teach about sustainable business and economy to first year students. For Summer Term 21 we could switch to holding the lecture online. Through these lectures we reach a great number of students aiming to be future entrepreneurs and economists. There are several hundred students enrolled every year:

  • Winter Term 20: 954 students
  • Summer Term 21: 442 students
  • Winter Term 21: 695 students

The lecture units were held by two oikees and are obligatory to any first-year students starting with Business Administration, Economics or Sociology studies. The content of the lecture unit is relevant for the final exam.

Student Survey

In the Summer Term 21 the Curriculum Change Team at oikos Graz started its survey “Transforming education at the University of Graz towards sustainability”. With a total of sixteen questions the study aims to examine the students’ needs towards sustainability in their study programmes. 

Through a broadly spread marketing campaign we reached more than 500 students and received 333 complete answers. The results of this study can be found here (german). We are starting lobbying activities at the faculty level of the University of Graz. This is going to be an exciting journey itself, so we will create a new story for this as soon as we progress!

To promote our activities we hosted a social media campaign for curriculum change education and experiences. This was established as a cooperation of oikos Copenhagen, Lisbon, Vienna and Graz through an initiative at the NexGenLead. In this joint project we created videos highlighting our achievements in curriculum change at our universities. 

One of oikos’ main goals is to integrate sustainability into universities’ curricula, so this campaign was about explaining what curriculum change is and to give some insights into our curriculum projects and how oikos Graz fosters the transformation of economics and management studies. Also, followers were encouraged to take part in curriculum change by taking part in a short survey, to talk to professors and fellow students to raise awareness for the importance of integrating sustainability into studies, to join student initiatives that represent the needs of students and are promoting educational transformation projects or to participate in existing academic offers on sustainability, to show interest in them and give feedback. 

Relationship with oikos International

As we were part of the CC squad from the first moment, we could use the opportunity to connect with other chapters to develop joint projects. Furthermore, the monthly meetings are a great way to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We are very thankful for all of the inputs we received either from other chapters or from the international team that facilitates the sessions to ensure a productive and healthy atmosphere. 

Education for schools 

Another major interest of the team is education at schools. The aim is to bring sustainability education and insights into school classes. This also gives us the chance to present sustainable study programs to the pupils to widen their perspectives after school.

  • First session online for two German school classes (15-17 years old) in June 2021 was held by two oikees.
  • “Klimabildung für Schulen” (Education on Climate for Schools) partnership with Climate Change Centre Austria, Scientists for Future, Students Association for Sustainability and University of Graz (Wegener Center) is a program where we support by helping to set up the lectures and facilitating them. 
  • -Part of Sustainability Team at University of Graz
    1) Sustainable Design Thinking Challenge (Cooperation with SAP, SAP next-gen, University of Graz, Graz Holding, Energie Steiermark and ÖH Graz) was a three day online team event to create disruptive solutions for local sustainability challenges. The student participants could earn two ECTS for their respective study programs and it was implemented as part of the sustainability days that were initiated by oikos Graz in 2016 and are now highly supported by the University itself..  

→ We won the green gown award in 2020 for this project!
2)COPERNICUS Alliance (European Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development