In 2011, Nuertingen-Geislingen University (NGU) took the values-based decision to pursue sustainable development as our mission in all our fields of activity. With the pillars of the economy and the environment already engraved in our name, NGU is well endowed for this mission. The integration of the former university of arts therapy into NGU in 2016 strengthened our social aspects of sustainability.
All three pillars of sustainability are anchored in teaching, research, transfer, infrastructure and governance.
The cross-program teaching project PHOENIX (Problem-oriented university teaching in the context of sustainability) supports an activating and problem-oriented style of university teaching in order to inspire students for socially relevant questions related to sustainable development. Twenty professors participate each year.
In the cross-program teaching project CLLC (Community Learning for Local Change), we establish Community Innovation Labs together with partner universities and initiate systemic change towards sustainability through innovation. Commissioned by the European Union (ERASMUS+), we teach transformative competences in the field of innovation and social entrepreneurship.
We offer several modules to all NGU students that can be awarded with general ECTS credits in their respective programs in order to foster interdisciplinary teaching and learning, both in German and English language. For example, with "Innovation for Sustainability" (IfS), we realize a two-week intercultural and international summer school for sustainable development, in which 18 students from different partner universities jointly conduct research and collect evidence during 8 visits to our regional innovators, some of them world market-leading companies.
NGU has a number of degree programs with an explicit reference to sustainability, in particular Sustainable Management (B.A.), Sustainable Agriculture and Food Management (M.Sc.), Sustainable Urban and Regional Development (M.Eng.), Sustainable Mobilities (M.Sc.), Environmental Protection (M.Eng.), Landscape Planning and Nature Conservation (B.Eng.), Future Trends and Sustainable Management (MBA).
Each year, the Center for Sustainable Development (ZNE) grants a Sustainability Award to the best bachelor or master thesis (endowed with 1000 EURO). The thesis should address all three dimensions of sustainable development and examine current problems.
In general we focus on energy, agriculture and food, mobility and transport, economics and management, landscape development, environmental planning and conservation, climate change, real estate, cities and municipalities, health and society. Here we publish research project related to sustainable development (so far only in German).
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Selected current projects are: "Vertical Climate-Wastewater Treatment Plant for Increasing Resource Efficiency and Quality of Life in Urban Areas (ISI), "Construction in Cattle Farming - Reducing Emissions, Animal-Friendly, Environmentally Friendly" (IAAF), "Climate Protection through Moor Protection", as well as "Reduction of Greening Costs on Roads with Simultaneous Increase of Biological Diversity in Roadside Greenery" (ILU), "Local Sustainable Energy Systems in Senegal" (ISR), "Solar Village in The Gambia", "An Innovative Platform for Optimized Local Cooperation for Sustainable Development” (ZNE).
We cooperate with external stakeholders, companies, ministries, and the city in different ways, including teaching, Bachelor and Mater Theses, as well as in our institutes. See some examples below.
The Vice-President regularly convenes a "Working Group on Sustainable Development". It has the task toof supporting the implementation of a materiality analysis and continuously works on the formulation of our sustainability strategy.
The NGU has carried out a materiality analysis to include all stakeholders in the identification of requirements for a sustainable NGU. To identify which sustainability topics are the most important for the NGU, we started a materiality analysis in 2018. In an extensive process, our stakeholders were questioned in personal interviews and online surveys to determine the materiality analysis. These stakeholders include internal university members such as students, employees, professors and lecturers, as well as external stakeholders such as ministries, the local government, principals and teachers, other universities and companies. The motivation for conducting such a materiality analysis is to understand the concrete sustainability requirements that our environment places on us. In addition, we aim to use the analysis to position and align ourselves for long-term sustainability. Based on the results of the materiality analysis, the sustainability strategy of the NGU is currently being developed.
NGU offers all its employees regular continuing education courses in IT use, personal development and foreign languages, as well as health courses in Nürtingen and Geislingen (Steige).
Since 2012, we conduct a targeted appointment policy and reorientation of professorships for sustainable development in all faculties: These have given rise to the professorships of Business Administration, in particular Sustainability; Ecology, in particular Settlement Ecology; Sustainable Agriculture and Food Economics; Business Administration, in particular Sustainable Product Management; Automotive Industry, in particular Sustainable Mobilities.
Since 2013, we apply the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), which is a premium management instrument, developed by the European Commission for companies and other organizsations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance.
We established and operate a Center for Sustainable Development (ZNE) at NGU. As a cross-faculty, scientific institution of NGU, the center serves professors, employees and students, as well as all external persons interested in sustainable development. Its aim is to promote sustainable development, thinking and action within and outside the university, in particular to initiate projects, connect internal actors and external partners, as well as to communicate internally and externally.
TOTAL E-QUALITY is a German official certificate that aims to establish equal opportunities, while recognizing and fostering talents, capabilities and expertise of both genders. We have been awarded the certificate for the third time in 2019 as a proof of promoting equal opportunities, family-friendliness, diversity and participation.