Shifting from Publications to Public Actions: Kent researchers win Sustainability in Higher Education award

Dr Charlie Gardner and Dr William Rowlands win a 2022 AASHE award for facilitating 'Academic Advocacy and Activism in the Climate and Ecological Emergency'

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education bestows its prestigious awards on the institutions and individuals that help lead higher education to a sustainable future. AASHE held a virtual awards ceremony on December 8th to recognise and celebrate the 12 2022 award recipients.

Dr Charlie Gardner (DICE) and Dr William Rowlandson (Arts & Humanities) received their award for ‘outstanding research in higher education sustainability’ for their paper ‘From Publications to Public Actions: The Role of Universities in Facilitating Academic Advocacy and Activism in the Climate and Ecological Emergency’ (Charlie J. Gardner, Aaron Thierry, William Rowlandson, Julia K. Steinberger) which has now been downloaded over 20,000 times, and is in the top 0.3% of papers in terms of the online attention it has received, as measured by Altmetric.

In the paper Gardner and Rowlandson suggest that academics should move from publications to public actions and engage in advocacy and activism to affect urgent and transformational change.

This year, AASHE received 430+ entries that resulted in 12 winners announced across five categories. Entries were judged on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement, clarity and other criteria specific to each category.

William Rowlandson writes: “It is a great honour to receive this award. Charlie Gardner, lead author of the article, gathered and co-ordinated a solid team of researchers who are all active in climate and environmental movements, and who bring their activism to bear on their research and teaching as much as the research and teaching inform the activism.”

AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser writes: “The 2022 AASHE Sustainability Award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for progressing sustainability at their campus. They are raising the bar and evolving what sustainability in higher education looks like.”

AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges.

The University of Kent is committed to developing and expanding Education for Sustainability in the curriculum to ensure all students graduate equip with the skills and knowledge to contribute to a sustainable future. The University is also committed to promoting and developing sustainability related research & innovation activity, and to developing resilient partnerships which enhance lives and the local economy and empower the community to develop the knowledge and skills to embody sustainable behaviours.