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Innovative minor in Sustainable transformation

– Sustainable transformation is not all about technological solutions. It is equally important to understand how new solutions affect societies and people, says Mikaela Vasstrøm, associate professor at the Department for Global development and planning.

Bicycle with demonstration poster "Stop climate change"
The new minor in sustainable transformation will include a focus on how people react to changes and new solutions (Photo: Colourbox).

With financial support from the Ministry of Education, The Faculty of Social Sciences has developed a cross-disciplinary minor in Sustainable transformation.
– There is an increasing need to look at sustainable transformation from a social science perspective. For instance, addressing questions such as: Why do climate change and environmental issues fuel so much rage and protests across the world? asks Vasstrøm.

Vasstrøm also highligts how a sustainable transformation both creates new burdens and benefits in a society.
– Sustainable transformation rises important questions regarding how to divide the burdens and the benefits of sustainable transformation. Likewise, who is going to take part in the decision-making? As a society we need to focus on equality and social justice in the process of sustainable transformation, she says.

Cross-disciplinary approach

The 30 credits minor consist of three courses developed by the Department of Global development and planning, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Information systems and the Department of Political science and management. The collection of courses will provide the students with a thorough understanding of how different political, social, economic, ecological, and cultural forces, as well as digital technologies influence sustainable development of organizations and societies
- The students will be given a cross-disciplinary introduction to sustainability, being familiarized with important concepts within sustainable transformation, including a practical approach to sustainable transformation, says Vasstrøm.

Social consequences of transformation

Alexander Ruser, professor at the Department of Sociology and social work, is contributing with sociological perspectives on sustainable transformation.
– Sustainable Transformation is certainly one of the most pressing social challenges. The consequences of climate change, pollution or resource depletion will shape political debate, economic opportunity and social conflict, says Alexander Ruser.
He highlights the cross-disciplinary approach as a key to understanding the consequences of social transformation.

– As a sociologist, I´m particularly interested in these social consequences. However, at the same time I´m convinced that understanding the challenges and finding solutions require both: Uncompromisingly interdisciplinary perspective and intensive dialogues between academic researchers, practitioners and local stakeholders.

Innovative minor

Transformation towards sustainable societies faces political, ecological, technological, economic, and social challenges.  This innovative minor will give students an in-depth understanding of sustainability and equip them with a variety of tools and approaches to actively engage in sustainable development processes.
- While there are numerous reasons to maintain strong scientific disciplines, this new course package illustrates that innovative and exiting content can be produced when these strong disciplines join forces to offer multiple perspectives on a common topic, says Leif Skiftenes Flak, Scientific leader of CeDiT – Centre for Digital Transformation.
He also adds that
-It has been a pleasure to take part in creating a truly interdisciplinary course package in topic of high societal relevance, he says.

The courses will be offered during Spring semester 2022. All courses are given in English. Get further familiarized with the minor in Sustainable transformation, by visiting the course descriptions:

SV-156 Foundations of sustainable development , offered by Department of information systems.

SV-157 Approaches, opportunities and challenges for sustainable transformation, offered by Department of global development and planning.

SV-220 Practicing sustainable transformation, offered by Department of sociology