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Interdisciplinary Engagement in Higher Education: Opportunities Explored

Published in 2019 by

Type of document: Best practices, case studies

There are increasing pressures on universities to make their graduates ready for life and work, in addition to ensuring technical and professional competence. This chapter discusses the implications of supporting such an approach for higher education in a university in Australia where the university was treated as an urban living lab, supporting student engagement for a course innovated to cover three different disciplines.

Further information

Urban living labs are a form of collaborative partnership particularly in urban areas to support sustainability outcomes. The innovation presented here was in using a green building on campus, bringing students from different disciplines, to study this green building, thereby also partnering with industry. The key question driving the research was whether academic-industry partnerships may be used to understand the performance of green buildings on an urban campus. The anchor course was in construction management and the other disciplines were business and computer science. Twenty three students undertook study of predetermined spaces of a green building on campus. The results show that as a pilot study, this project was successful, with good engagement of students, teaching and non-teaching staff from the university and industry. However, it was more difficult to convert the pilot to mainstream teaching and learning.Sustainability is about tackling real-world problems. To meet the needs of the Sustainable Development Goals, New Urban Agenda and future challenges, built environment professionals face unique challenges.