Our Teaching

Strengthening SDG integration into our Curricula


2015: Taking stock of current approaches to integrating sustainability – In 2015, we completed a strategic project which required students to evidence achievement of each graduate learning outcome in at least two core units of their course. One of these graduate learning outcomes was ‘global citizenship’ described as a way of thinking, acting, relating and responding to socio-cultural elements. In 2015, we also conducted a desk-audit and survey to collect information, and raise awareness by providing practical examples, from our core unit chairs of our largest undergraduate and postgraduate course, Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) with Accounting or Finance majors Master of Business Administration (MBA), to map the extent to which ethics and corporate social responsibility were integrated in these courses. Through both these activities, we identified sustainability integration as an area we wanted to improve further in our programs.

2016-17: Mapping ERS across all our courses’ – We developed a conceptual framework to map sustainability integration at three levels of engagement focussing on ‘knowing, doing and being’. Through systematic course based, discipline based and individual conversations, we identified contextualised practical strategies for integrating sustainability across individual units at different levels. We engaged teachers through these conversations and structured surveys with practical examples of learning and assessment activities for meaningful sustainability integration. We worked collaboratively to avoid repetition across core units and ensure appropriate scaffolding in development and assessment across the whole program. One hundred and fifty nine Core unit chairs have reflected upon the potential for integrating discussions about SDGs in their individual units. More than two thirds of the 159 respondents provided examples of how they engage students with one or more SDGs in their units and identified tangible strategies for strengthening the integration of ERS and SDGs.


Right to Left: Dr Craig Parker and A/ Prof Harsh Suri receive VC Award

Our Submission “Bringing about a cultural shift for meaningfully integrating sustainability across mainstream curricula in Deakin Business School” has won the 2018 Green Gown Awards Australasia in the ‘Learning, Teaching & Skills’ category. The Green Gown Awards Australasia is the first and only Award Scheme dedicated to recognising excellence in sustainability within the tertiary education sector in Australasia.

Deakin Business School (DBS) remains committed to engaging our staff, students, partners and the wider community meaningfully in advancing sustainable development goals. Our approach to “Engaging staff and students with SDGs to bring about a cultural shift in DBS” has been published as a case study on the SDGs Australia website.

Our focus has been on integrating SDGs more explicitly in the curriculum and strengthening nexus between sustainability capability and employability skills, an approach underpinning our winning submissions for 2018 ACTS Green Gowns Award Australasia. In 2019, we also adopted this approach in our application ‘Improving the Employability of International Students through Evaluative Judgement and Real Business Problems’ that won the ‘Deakin University Award for Excellence in Teaching for Student Employability’. 

In 2019, we won a global competitive bid for £20,000 to design a four-week free open course, Leading Culturally Diverse Teams in the Workplace, on the FutureLearn MOOC platform.  Our course has attracted more than 25,000 since its first run in September 2019. This year, it was showcased as one of the two Deakin courses and 18 Australian courses when the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and FutureLearn Study with Australia website was first launched in April and also received additional press releases and promotion from AusTrade in first week of May. It was also chosen to be part of the Victorian Government’s Upskill my Business website. In our current offering, we have had over 15,000 registered learners with over 6000 active learners. 

We are continuing to strengthen SDG integration across our undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including those listed below:

Bachelor of Commerce

Bachelor of Property and Real Estate

Bachelor of Information Systems

Master of Information Systems

Master of Business Administration International

Master of Arts and Cultural Management

Master of Business Administration

Engaging our students in sustainability related experiential learning opportunities

Through a variety of authentic assessment tasks in large core units, our students are engaging the industry and the wider community with sustainability practices by collecting and analysing information from unique real-life cases.

Hallmarks: Global Citizenship excellence in Business Administration – Introduced in 2016, this Hallmark aims to enable Deakin students to stand out from others, and to position themselves credibly with global credentials. The program warrants the achievement of students who have demonstrated outstanding global citizenship in a business management context.This approach to digital badging in partnership with industry has been recognised by AACSB International as driving innovation in business education for graduate employability that benefits communities. Click here to see Catherine Sherwin’s video and Breece Gevaux’s submission.

2017 Whitehorse Tertiary Business Student Skills Awards

Work Integrated Learning in the Faculty of Business and Law In 2019, we revised our suite of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) unit offerings and redesigned curricula to ensure that professional ethics is assessed as part of Global Citizenship across all our WIL units. We also produced a self-paced online module to create an introductory awareness of all the 17 SDG. This module will be piloted in 2020 with our cohort undertaking SDG focused Global Virtual WIL Consultancy experiences.

Internships in Industry Program– Whitehorse and Knox city councils have partnered with Deakin to provide a service and support to both local businesses and students from a diverse range of backgrounds. This has led to a broad scope of experiential learning opportunities as well as the opportunity for students to give back to the local community, including through various not for profit businesses that take part in the program.

Deakin Abroad Volunteering Initiatives– These are offered by the central team, in which many of our DBS students have participated (E.g. 40K Globe programMalawi volunteering project and Fiji Education Infrastructure Programs).


(Images of students community based volunteering/ international study tour programs)

Deakin’s SDG competition– First-year law/commerce student Enza Cassetta took out the top prize in Deakin’s SDG competition.

Left to right: A/Prof Fara Azmat, Enza Cassetta, Professor Kim Watty, A/Prof Harsh Suri

MBA Student blogs– MBA students produced blogs to stimulate SDGs focussed conversations at their work place. See links to sample student blogs: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Examples of undergraduate and postgraduate units aligned with SDGs

MAA261 Financial Accounting MAA319 Estate Planning and Insurance MAE305 Energy and Environment MAF202 Money and Capital Markets
MIS231 Professional Ethics in the Digital Age MIS313 Strategic Supply Chain Management MIS398 Project Management MMK101 Marketing Fundamentals
MMH250 Workplace Counselling and Negotiation MMH356 Change Management MMM241 Entrepreneurship and Innovation MMM267  Business Logistics
MMM311 Global Mindset and Citizenship MMP111 Introduction to Property MMP221 Property Management MAA728 Financial Behaviour and Decision Making
MAA763 Governance and Fraud MAF707 Investments and Portfolio Management MAF759 Analytical Methods MIS713 Supply Chain Management and Logistics
MIS741 Ethics of Digital Transformation MLM706 Corporate Governance MMH733 Ethics for Managers MMK792 Arts Marketing
MMM796 Managing Arts in Community Settings MPK704 Sustainable Environmental Marketing MPK713  Consumer Behaviour MPM701 Business Process Management
MPM703 Business Strategy and Analysis MPM705 Retailing MPM722 Human Resource Management