Examining the impacts of a graduate course on sustainable development using ecological footprint analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose - The purpose of this study is to use ecological footprint analysis (EFA) in an interdisciplinary graduate level course on sustainable development to better how education can facilitate learning and transform the perceptions and behavior of class participants. Design/methodology/approach - This study uses an untreated control group research design with a pre-test and post-test to measure and explain the change in the EF of students enrolled in a graduate course on sustainable development taught at Texas A&M University in the spring of 2004. We uses the study test of means and multivariate regression analysis to make statistical conclusions about the degree to which education on sustainability affects the way students act and also to identify the major factors driving this behavioral change. Findings - Results indicate that that graduate-level education can significantly increase students' sustainable behavior as measured by their ecological footprints (EF) and that specific socioeconomic and proximity-based variables contribute to this observed phenomenon. Practical implications - This study provides insights into the effectiveness of teaching sustainable development courses at institutions of higher education by examining the change in specific EF components and identifying variables which help predict the change in EFs over the course of the semester. Originality/value - This study uses an empirically-driven, quantitative approach to understand the degree to which graduate-level coursework on the topic of sustainable development transforms the perceptions and behavior of class participants. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Ryu, H., & Brody, S. D.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Ryu, Hyung‚ÄźCheal||Brody, Samuel D

publication date

  • April 2006