Developing Cosmopolitan Competencies in Sustainability Professionals

Robert Bruce Hull
Virginia Tech

Michael Mortimer
Virginia Tech

David Robertson
Virginia Tech

Sustainability professionals need cosmopolitan competencies to be successful when working on environmental, social, and governance issues that span cultural and national boundaries. Working professionals often struggle building these competencies because they have limited time for international travel and limited access to international peers. Short-term (10 day) and highly curated educational travel programs, combined with pre- and post-trip study, provide powerful learning experiences that can overcome these obstacles. This paper does three things: 1) defines and justifies cosmopolitan competencies that are useful to sustainability professionals, 2) describes a pedagogy to teach these competencies to working professionals, and 3) evaluates whether intended learning outcomes were achieved. A quantitative survey instrument was completed before and after international education programs to China and India. The pre-post differences were statistically significant, suggesting the pedagogy has impact. Qualitative interviews supplement and help interpret the quantitative data.

Copyright © 2019, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education