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University accounting and business curricula on sustainability: Perceptions of undergraduate students

The challenge to embed sustainability in the formal curriculum has been troublesome for accounting academics. This study investigates sustainability in the accounting curriculum at a regional university in New Zealand. Sustainability practices are becoming an important issue given that many business activity problems have arisen over the years, unsustainable practices have resulted in societal and environmental damages. There has been an increasing recognition of the need for sustainability teaching in tertiary education. Education plays an important role in equipping graduates with the relevant sustainability skills to make informed decisions towards a more sustainable world. There is a need to examine how students respond to the teaching of sustainability in their courses. This will allow education providers to find out how student perceive sustainability education, and make changes to improve the teaching of sustainability. Literatures have claimed that students have positive attitudes towards sustainability; however, this does not mean that students are familiar with the concept of sustainability. There are business students who seem to perceive the study of sustainability to be less important when compared to other subjects. There still seems to be a shortage of research done on how students perceive sustainability. This paper contributes to the discussion needed to understand what sustainability skills are required by managers and how tertiary education programs in accounting may need to incorporate sustainability. The role of accounting schools in leading and managing change towards sustainability must be further informed.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Sharma, U. & Kelly, M. (2012). Paper presented at the Sixth New Zealand Management Accounting Conference, 22-23 November 2012, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Copyright 2012 The Authors