Values as a bridge between sustainability and institutional assessment: A case study from BOKU University

Maria Miguel Ribeiro, Elona Hoover, Gemma Burford, Julia Buchebner, Thomas Lindenthal

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to illustrate that values-focused assessment can provide auseful lens for integrating sustainability and institutional performance assessment in universities.Design/methodology/approach - This study applies a values elicitation methodology for indicatordevelopment, through thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews and a stakeholder workshop, ina pilot project at BOKU University, Vienna.Findings - This case highlights that many of the values held by university staff and students arepro-sustainability values. Starting from these values may be a useful way of engaging universitystakeholders in sustainability dialogues. The paper illustrates how values-based indicators can beintegrated into university performance assessments, providing a novel way of thinking aboutsustainability assessment in universities.Research limitations/implications - The exploratory pilot was carried out in a university with afocus on natural sciences. Further research could replicate and compare the results of this paper in otherinstitutions.Originality/value - Creating a shared understanding of pro-sustainability values can helpindividuals to reconceptualise sustainability in relation to their own work and motivations. In doing so,it can highlight the inherent synergies between sustainability assessment and institutionalperformance assessment in the higher education sector, which are usually seen as separate domains.Keywords Engagement, Assessment, University, Sustainability, Performance, ValuesPaper type Research paper
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-53
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2016

    Bibliographical note

    © The Authors. This is a pre-print (original submitted article prior to peer review). Peer review publication published in the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, January 2016. Available at:


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