Key Competencies

a competency-based educational approach

The UGA Sustainability Certificate links knowledge, skills, values, aptitudes, and attitudes necessary to address complex sustainability problems. Through courses, seminars, capstones and portfolios, Certificate students develop the following key competencies that help them innovate sustainable solutions in a wide range of disciplines.

Integrated Problem Solving Competency (IPSC)

Students will be able to apply different problem-solving frameworks to complex sustainability problems and develop viable, inclusive, and equitable solutions that promote sustainable development and integrate the other competencies.

Systems Thinking Competency (STC)

Students will be able recognize and understand relationships; to analyze complex systems, to evaluate how systems are embedded within different domains and scales; and to deal with uncertainty when making decisions.

Anticipatory Competency (AC)

Students will be able to understand and evaluate multiple futures—possible, probable and desirable; to create their own vision of the future; to apply the precautionary principle; to assess the consequences of action; and to deal with risk and change.

Normative Competency (NC)

Students will be able to understand and reflect on the norms and values that underlie their actions, and to negotiate sustainability values, principles, goals, and targets, in a context of conflicts of interests and trade-offs, uncertain knowledge and contradictions.

Strategic Competency (SC)

Students will be able to collectively develop and implement innovative actions that further sustainability at the local level and further afield.

Collaboration Competency (CC)

Students will be able to learn from others; to understand and respect the needs, perspectives and actions of others (empathy); to understand, relate to, and be sensitive to others (empathetic leadership); to deal with conflicts in a group; and to facilitate collaborative and participatory problem solving.

Inter/Intra Personal Competency (IPC)

Students will also be able to reflect on their own role in the local community and global society; to continually evaluate one’s actions; to deal with one’s feelings and desires, and to build on positive momentum and inspire and motivate others.

These competencies were drawn from “UNESCO. (2017). Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives” and “Wiek, A., Withycombe, L., & Redman, C. L. (2011). “Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development.” Sustainability Science, 6(2), 203-218)