More on the Academy's linguistic contortions

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I wrote the other day [ 22 December ] about the Higher Education Academy's revision of its professional standards framework, and its attempts to add a reference to sustainability within these as a new professional value.  I noted the difficulties it ran into in relation to the use of  jargon-ridden language that will not be clear to anyone not already steeped in thinking about HE and sustainability.   The Academy has drafted the new value as:

“a commitment to the sustainability of higher education and the concept of global citizenship”

... which illustrates something of the problem: why should anyone commit to a concept – and a vague one at that; and to the endurance of HE (did they really mean that)?

All this is now out for consultation, and the ever-dependable EAUC has a draft response on which it has asked for feedback.  EAUC is also critical of the language, but is more polite than I have been.  The ways in which the new value is to be demonstrated by academics includes:

"Knowledge of sustainable curriculum approaches, and an understanding of its implications for personal, professional practice"

EAUC notes that "sustainable curriculum approaches" suffers from the same problem as "the sustainability of HE", and has suggested:

"Knowledge of sustainability curriculum approaches and an understanding of ..."

... instead.  This is obviously better, but I think that a clearer way to help people think about this (if they've not thought about it before) might be:

In relation to both what is taught, and how, a nuanced understanding of how higher education students can, most appropriately, be helped to engage critically with the theory and practice of sustainability.

More words, sadly, but more meaning?  We'll see.  ...

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