Curriculum design through an ecological lens: A case study in law and social work education

Peter Jones, Kathrine Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


James Cook University has positioned itself as the "University for the Tropics", an identity that necessitates a deep concern with issues of sustainability. As part of university-wide efforts to refresh the existing curriculum to better reflect such concerns, the authors were appointed as curriculum scholars and tasked with building capacity for curriculum design amongst academics in a range of disciplines. The disciplines of law and social work, with their traditional focus on social rather than environmental concerns, present particular challenges when moving towards the development of sustainability-oriented educational practices. Previous attempts at introducing sustainability perspectives into discipline-based higher education have often resulted in piecemeal or "add-on" curricular solutions. Yet the very nature of sustainability as a concept suggests that a more holistic and integrated approach is required. This paper discusses the use of ecology as a conceptual framework, or thematic lens, which can serve as a foundation for the re-imagining of discipline-based curriculum. Drawing on insights from curriculum development, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and education for sustainability, the authors develop a framework for an approach to law and social work education that is grounded in ecological understandings, and reflects a sustainability orientation while remaining true to the fundamental concerns of each discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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