Sustainability in Higher Education Developers (SHED)

Sector: HE and FE
Classification: Network

SHED is the leading cross sector community of practice in the UK for Education for Sustainability (EfS). It comprises around three hundred higher and further education staff who specialise in EfS, or incorporate sustainability issues in their work.

SHED is a joint collaboration of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges and the Higher Education Academy, and is convened by Arran Stibbe (University of Gloucestershire) and Heather Luna (Higher Education Academy).

Aims in brief (see below for more detail):

  • Disseminating information about Education for Sustainability in higher/further education
  • Stimulating discussion about the principles behind EfS
  • Holding up a critical lens to the concept of EfS and its alternatives
  • Connecting EfS to wider educational concerns such as leadership and global citizenship
  • Sharing and monitoring strategies for organizational change.
Communication and meetings
Communication occurs primarily through a moderated JISCmail group, where any member can send out information or resources to the group. Face-to-face meetings will be arranged at major educational conferences, and occasional virtual workshops will be held to bring members together to reflect on the first principles and future of Education for Sustainability. Although there is no direct funding associated with being a member of the group, it provides excellent networking and potential collaborative opportunities between members.

Further, a blog will be unveiled soon for use by all members.

To join SHED Share, please send an e-mail to with SUBSCRIBE SHED-SHARE in the body of the message. For questions, please email

Recent Projects
In 2009, the "Soundings in Sustainability Literacy" project involved 75 members in a reflection on what skills graduates need for the 21st century, and the creation of the Handbook of Sustainability Literacy (Stibbe 2009). The handbook is available both as a paperback and as a free multi-media site containing the chapters from the paperback plus additional chapters and interviews with authors.

Detailed Aims

  • To provide a means for the EAUC, HEA and members to disseminate relevant information about events, publications, jobs, conferences and awards to interested colleagues.
  • To stimulate discussion of the first principles and root meanings of Education for Sustainability: ‘Why are we committed to this? What values matter most to us, and why? What values, competencies and dispositions do we think will best realise the future, personal through global, that we are working for?’ (Selby and Kagawa 2011: 27)
  • To treat the concept of sustainability and Education for Sustainability critically and explore the advantages and disadvantages of a wide range of alternative approaches from ecopedagogy and transition, to deep green resistance and the dark mountain project – treating each approach equally critically (Jickling and Wals 2007).
  • To help create connections between Education for Sustainability and a) aspects of the physical campus beyond the classroom, b) related educational areas such as global citizenship, and c) community initiatives beyond the university.
  • To investigate how education prepares students for leadership, and how it can better “empower every individual to think on a vastly different scale and in new ways, to challenge assumptions and take an effective leadership role” (Rayment and Smith 2010: 3).
  • To share ideas and experience with regard to strategies, organisational change and learning towards the more 'sustainable university', and help monitor progress in this regard at institutional, national and international levels. (see Sterling 2001)
  • To consider themes that are sometimes overlooked in Education for Sustainability (e.g., indigenous knowledge, disaster risk reduction, cultural diversity, health promotion, or gender equality [UNESCO 2011])
  • To reconsider the forms of knowledge valued by universities, in order to help preserve intergenerational, community-based knowledge of how to live sustainability in the local environment (Bowers 2011).
  • To provide a link from EfS in higher and further education to other EfS communities such as continuing professional development, community education and schools.

Bowers, Chet (2011) University Reform in an era of global warming. Eugene: Eco-justice press

Jickling, Bob and Arjen Wals (2007) Globalization and environmental education: looking beyond sustainable development. Journal of Curriculum Studies 40:1:1-21

Rayment, John and Jonathan Smith (2010) Misleadership: prevalence, causes and consequences. London: Gower

Selby and Kagawa (2011) Development education and education for sustainable development: are they striking a Faustian bargain? Policy & Practice: a development education review. 12:15-31.

Stibbe, Arran (ed) (2009) The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: skills for a changing world. Dartington: Green books. Available as a free ebook.

Sterling, Stephen (2001) Sustainable Education: revision learning and change. Dartington: Green Books

UNESCO (2011) Education for Sustainable Development