Course Offerings

Spring 20

Interventions on Sustainable Consumption on Campus
Arizona State University, SOS 498 & 594, Daniel Fischer

The work in the seminar aims at developing, implementing and evaluating an inter- and transdisciplinary project intervening in consumption practices on campus to achieve sustainability outcomes and foster informal learning. In their project, students will draw on interdisciplinary knowledge from such fields as the learning sciences, behavioral economics and environmental psychology to design intervention measures geared towards increasing reflexivity on consumption practices and decreasing unsustainable impacts resulting from these. The project will be developed, implemented and evaluated in close collaboration with different stakeholders on campus engaged in sustainable consumption-related activities.

Education for Sustainable Consumption (Online)
Arizona State University, SOS 494 & 598, Daniel Fischer

This course provides an introduction to the two fields of sustainability education and sustainable consumption and explores their inter-relatedness. The course is divided into three phases. In phase one, students critically engage with key controversies and seminal readings in both fields. Phase two introduces case studies of different educational approaches to promote sustainable consumption that the course participants will use to develop a typology of pedagogical approaches. Finally, in phase three, students carry out a systematic literature review project to identify evidence-based pedagogical approaches that have proven to be effective in empowering people to pursue more sustainable lifestyles. The course employs different pedagogies and learning activities. Students are encouraged to use first-person approaches to relate to the course content and reflect on their learning of it.

Fall 19

GSS – Global Sustainability Research Project
Arizona State University, SOS 558, Daniel Fischer

Deforestation is a serious sustainability problem. Forests are cleared for commercial agriculture to produce commodities like cacao. What do consumers in high-consuming societies like the US or Germany know about the problematic impacts of their consumption choices regarding chocolate? And what could be feasible solutions to support more sustainable consumption? This project-based workshop explores the global dimensions of production and consumption systems and the effectiveness of certification/labeling schemes. Students design and conduct research to explore how consumers in the US and Germany understand and value the impacts of their consumption choices on deforestation in producing countries.

Human Dimensions of Sustainability
Arizona State University, SOS 514, Daniel Fischer

This course provides an introduction to the human dimensions of sustainability. It uses three different analytical angles: (1) How are the needs of human and non-human beings addressed in mainstream definitions of sustainability? (2) Which theories can help us understand and explain sustainable behavior? (3) What are human needs, what satisfiers do we use to meet them, and how could more sustainable modes of needs satisfaction look like? The course will employ academic reading and discussion, independent research, and self-exploration as learning approaches.

Spring 19

Education for Sustainable Consumption (Online)
Arizona State University, SOS 494 & 598, Daniel Fischer

This course provides an introduction to the two fields of sustainability education and sustainable consumption and explores their interrelatedness. The course is divided into three phases. In phase one, students critically engage with key controversies and seminal readings in both fields. Phase two introduces case studies of different educational approaches to promote sustainable consumption that the course participants will use to develop a typology of pedagogical approaches. Finally, in phase three, students carry out a systematic literature review project to identify evidence-based pedagogical approaches that have proven to be effective in empowering people to pursue more sustainable lifestyles. The course employs different pedagogies and learning activities. Students are encouraged to use first-person approaches to relate to the course content and reflect on their learning of it.

Winter 18/19

Sustainability, Emotions and Me – An Embodied Understanding
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, WtV, Karoline Pöggel & Sadhbh Juárez Bourke

The seminar is based on using alternative experiential methods (such as theatre, meditation, and others) to explore the SDGs in general and the specific themes of food (SDG 2), life below water (SDG 14), nature as a livelihood (SDG 15), and gender (SDG 5). The different topics will be explored via embodied methods, which foster personal experience, reflection, and critical discussion. The question of “Me and Sustainability” constitutes the core of the seminar. Via a reflective diary, we explore how embodied experiences create emotional involvement for the student aiming for personal citizenship. The seminar is based on the increasing awareness in the scientific community that emotions are key elements of behaviour change and therefore essential to create actionable knowledge.

The return of the wolf – Rationality and Emotions in sustainability communication
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-53, Nadin Hermann & Karoline Pöggel

The seminar provides different perspective to the reintroduction of the wolf in Lower Saxony, as an exciting case for the relationship men – nature. The diversity of perspectives proposes naturally challenges for sustainability communication. The students develop, implement and evaluate an inter- and transdisciplinary project intervening with different communication strategies around wildlife targeting a diversity of stakeholders.

Summer 18

Once upon a time sustainable development… Qualitative Content analysis of storytelling in sustainability communication
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, KS-SWm, Daniel Fischer, Anna Sundermann & Hanna Selm

Storytelling is generally associated with the hope of communicating factual topics and content in a new, vivid, emotional and entertaining way, and of attracting increased attention and new target groups among the recipients. Within the framework of the seminar we want to analyse practical examples from sustainability communication, which make use of techniques such as narratives like storytelling, with the help of qualitative content analysis. The seminar is divided into three parts: The first part of the seminar will focus on entering the field of storytelling and sustainability communication. On the one hand it will be about the effects of storytelling and on the other hand about practical examples in sustainability communication. The central aim is to search for and sift through practical examples from sustainability communication. In doing so, we will consider multimedia contributions. Subsequently, in the second part of the seminar, these practical examples will be evaluated with qualitative content analysis. The Qualitative Content Analysis deals with the analysis of content such as topics, categories, but also with latent meanings and subjective meanings. The aim of this second part is to systematize the material according to content-analytical quality criteria. This systematization is based on a category system, which is also (further) developed within the framework of the seminar. In the third part, we critically reflect on the methodological approach and synthesize our results from parts 1 and 2. The aim is to create a systematically substantiated matrix for practical examples in sustainability communication. The results of this seminar will be taken into account in an explorative impact study to be carried out in winter 2018 as part of a research project.

Introduction to Sustainability Communication – Campaign Planning
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-22, Karoline Pöggel

The seminar uses references to relevant fields of sustainability communication and behavior change such as theoretical sociology, psychology, communication and media studies and educational sciences, the basics of sustainability communication and behavior change are presented and applied by the students for the creation of a sustainability campaign.

Basic Concepts and Topics of Sustainable Development: Consumption
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MI-NW-1, Daniel Fischer

See summer 16

Winter 17/18

Inter- and Transdisciplinary Project B: Sustainable Consumption on Campus
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, NA-UWI-53, Simon Burandt & Daniel Fischer

See summer 17

Bachelor Colloquium: Sustainable Consumption, Sustainability Communication and Education for Sustainable Development
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-55, Daniel Fischer

See winter 16/17

Summer 17

Introduction to Sustainability Communication
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-22, Daniel Fischer

This module comprises a lecture and seminars. In summer 17, the traditional campaign planning assignment will be focused entirely on the Blue Angel as Germany’s oldest state certified eco label. Students are assigned the task to develop campaign ideas in working groups. They can draw on lectures and are offered space and guidance in seminars to develop ideas, ground them in theories and empirical evidence presented in the lectures, and merge these into a campaign concept. In the lecture, different scientific perspectives (e.g. approaches to behavior change), tools for their campaigns (e.g. teaching materials) as well as practical experience (e.g. talks by external experienced campaigners) will be addressed.

Knowledge Production on Sustainable Consumption in the Post-Factual Age
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-30, Pascal Frank & Daniel Fischer

The terms “post-truth” and “post-factual” mark a shift in public discussions. These shifts are characterized by the fact that it is not so much the scientific resilience of statements that determines their influence on public discourses as the affective and emotional resonance that they can trigger. In this perspective, “truth” is not only that which can be proven, but that which corresponds with the prevailing convictions and values of people. For sustainability communication, the postulated post-factual tendencies pose massive challenges. This seminar deals with these challenges and focuses on the question of how emotions and affective processes influence knowledge formation on questions of sustainable consumption. It offers students the opportunity to investigate non-rational influencing factors in knowledge formation processes and their significance for sustainability communication on the basis of self-reflexive methods.

Basic Concepts and Topics of Sustainable Development: Consumption
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MI-NW-1, Daniel Fischer

See summer 16

Inter- and Transdisciplinary Project A: Sustainable Consumption on Campus
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-64, Daniel Fischer & Anna Sundermann

The work in the seminar aims at conceiving an inter- and transdisciplinary project. The skills required for this are developed within the framework of the work in the seminar using the example of the field of action “sustainable consumption” and the application case “Campus”, in particular the ability to recognize and structure a concrete environmental and sustainability problem in the area of sustainable consumption, the ability to process and bring together scientific findings/theories on sustainable consumption and corresponding information from research and practice in a targeted manner, and the ability to select and adapt methods for sustainable consumption from various disciplines in a guided manner and to combine them for the integrative analysis of a specific environmental and sustainability problem involving stakeholders and practical actors.

Winter 16/17

Basic Concepts of Inter- and Transdisciplinary Research in Sustainable Consumption
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MI-NW-2, Daniel Fischer & Anna Sundermann

The seminar provides an introduction to inter- and transdisciplinary (ID/TD) research on sustainable consumption. The learning process facilitated by this course comprises three domains: first, students engage with specific methods used in ID/TD research and discuss these critically. Second, these methods will be used to analyze existing ID/TD research projects. Students will be able to demonstrate good examples of ID/TD work and identify weaknesses in existing projects. Third, students will work in groups to design a mini-proposal for a ID/TD project on a sustainable consumption-related topic.

Sustainable Consumption and Responsibility: Qualitative Approaches to Ideas of Justice Using the Example of the Consumption of Animal Products
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-K-3, Pascal Frank & Daniel Fischer

First of all, the students should lead personal research diaries on the relationship between affective-motivational processes and the handling of arguments on the consumption of animal products. On the basis of this personal reflection, the students then pursue questions on the relationship between knowledge and normativity in small research groups, develop their own research hypotheses on this relationship with regard to the consumption of animal products, and work out the consequences for a scientifically responsible approach to the topic of “consumption of animal products”. The results will be presented in the form of poster presentations on the presentation day (the exact location will be discussed with the students).

Bachelor Colloquium: Sustainable Consumption, Sustainability Communication and Education for Sustainable Development
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-55, Daniel Fischer & Anna Sundermann

Students get to know different scientific approaches and methodologies in sustainability communication, sustainable consumption and education for sustainable development. They will learn how to write their research proposal and receive support in developing a research question and structuring their research process. The course will also train practical skills in academic writing and the capacity to discuss and present research ideas (also with respect to defending the thesis). Finally, current research in sustainability science will be discussed and critically reviewed. Students will learn how to write about and present their research ideas in convincing ways. Further, they gain insight in current debates and research in sustainable communication, sustainable consumption and education for sustainable development. The course facilitates students’ ability to contribute to constructive collegial critique. The overall aim is to enable students to relate their own research to the theoretical background of sustainability science

Intergradual Studies – Development of an Academic University Research Colloquium
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-K-3, Daniel Fischer & Jantje Halberstadt

The aim of the seminar is to examine whether and to what extent it is possible at the Leuphana to offer a colloquium/colloquia that is open to students (in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral studies) as well as to all other researchers (habilitants, professors) and invites them to discuss research topics at different levels of experience. Students gain theoretical and practical insights into university education and further education as well as into the connection between research and teaching. In addition, they themselves become part of university (further) development and are given the opportunity to discuss the idea of an overall university colloquium with various stakeholders (students, scientists, university management) and to develop a concept proposal on the basis of the knowledge gained. Both formal aspects (e.g. examination law issues) and informal aspects (e.g. possible acceptance within a specific target group) will be considered. The seminar builds a bridge between university teaching and research as well as the overall university exchange on research projects, progress and results. The responsibility of researchers towards society, but also responsibility within the university research community as a whole, including various actors, plays a central role.

How to Empirically Study Education for Sustainable Development? A Research Workshop.
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-43, Anna Sundermann, Pascal Frank & Daniel Fischer

The seminar gives the students a good grounding in analyzing qualitative and quantitative data of already existing socio-ecological research in educational contexts. At frist, we will discuss the roots of these methods in the philosophy of science. Second, the seminar will give a short introduction in selected qualitative and quantitative methods. Third, students will work in groups on data of both kinds. In a last step, we compare similarities and differences in data analysis and interpretation of the results. The aim of the seminar is to compare results qualitative and quantitative methods. Against this backdrop students will on the one hand gain practice in different research methods and on the other hand align their research to quality criteria in social science. This seminar is called a research workshop. Therefore, students work autonomously in groups on data sets to compare the results of different evaluation methods in terms of their relevance for different issues and problems. At the same time, students critically examine scientific quality criteria of empirical research in the social science. Possibilities and limitations of qualitative and quantitative methods will be discussed.

Sustainable Waste Management – Introduction and Exercises (Part 2)
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-53, Henning Friege, Andreas Moeller & Daniel Fischer

Fundamentals of Inter- and Transdisciplinary Research – Sustainable Consumption  Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Winter 2016/17, Minor Sustainability Science, Daniel Fischer, Anna Sundermann 

This module focuses on transdisciplinary methods and working methods for dealing with complex, sustainability-relevant issues (using the example of consumption). At the end of the module, students will have basic knowledge of the analysis of complex problem areas and will be able to design solution strategies and paths. The students gain an overview of analytical tools for recording unsustainable developments, obtain an overview of the conception of transdisciplinary research tasks and individual methods for a transdisciplinary research process, practice designing a small, fictitious transdisciplinary research project, can work on concrete questions and present solutions in a team.

See summer 16

Summer 16

Basic Concepts and Topics of Sustainable Development: Consumption
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MI-NW-1, Daniel Fischer

The seminar “Sustainable Consumption” enables participants to apply various conceptual and theoretical approaches from the humanities and social sciences to the problem of consumption. The aim of the seminar is to provide students with basic knowledge on the topic of ‘sustainable consumption’ and to relate it to the concept of sustainable development. Students will deal with the question of how consumer action can be investigated and changed from the perspective of sustainable development. The work in the seminar will initially focus on scientifically determining the phenomenon of consumer action, discussing possibilities for qualifying consumer action as sustainable/non-sustainable, and developing various theoretical approaches to understanding and explaining consumer action.

Introduction to Sustainability Communication (Two Lectures)
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-22, Daniel Fischer

The overall objective of the module is to firstly explain why social change rarely arises from communication efforts alone and why such change requires attention to broader factors. Nonetheless, and secondly, the module draws on the same contributory disciplines to explain how to make the best of communication efforts: how attention to wider social, semiotic and other factors can enhance communication initiatives. The two lectures contributed focused (a) on lifestyle research as an approach to segment audiences and tailor communication efforts toward the values and motifs of social milieus, and (b) on sustainability education as a distinct communication approach that is oriented towards increasing reflexivity, fostering deliberation and social learning, and developing competencies in learners.

Sustainable Waste Management – Introduction and Exercises (Part 1)
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, MA-UWI-64, Henning Friege, Andreas Moeller & Daniel Fischer

In this course, students collaborate in groups to design inter- and transdisciplinary projects in the broader field of sustainable waste management practices. One of the three projects focused on residential waste generation and the factors underpinning recycling behaviors. The students conducted a larger household survey to segment different types of household for more targeted communication efforts.

What does the UNESCO actually do? An introduvtion into the work of an international organization                                                                                              Leuphana University Lüneburg, complementary studies, Summer 2016, Anna Sundermann

Summer 15

What does the UNESCO actually do? An introduction to the theoretical and practical work of an international organisation, complementary studies, Summer 2015, Anna Sundermann, Gerd Michelsen

Winter 15/16

Greening Duckburg: Comics as a medium in sustainability communication, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Leuphana Bachelor, Winter 2015/16, Daniel Fischer, Anna Sundermann

In this seminar, students will explore the overarching question of what a “green” or “sustainable” Lustiges Taschenbuch (LTB) could look like and how this could be conceived as a way of communicating sustainability. The idea of the seminar is that the students analyse existing stories for this purpose. They deal with the question of which characteristics can be used to identify the extent to which sustainability is already an issue in LTBs. In a first step, the students develop suitable research schemes for this against the background of sustainability theories. In a second step, they examine the stories for existing sustainability aspects from the perspective of Education for Sustainable Development. Finally, the students compose their own special issue of the LTB, which reflects the various facets of sustainability and can give an example of how sustainability issues can also be raised entertainingly in comics.

The seminar offers an introduction to theories of sustainability communication as well as to approaches and concepts of empirical research. Students define the subject area of the seminar and jointly develop criteria for good sustainability communication within this subject area. They formulate theory-based criteria on the basis of which the stories can be analysed and code the texts with the help of the criteria. You will also design qualitative interviews with publishing staff and the target group in order to gather information for the marketing strategy of your book. For this purpose, you will draw up guidelines and organise interview appointments. Subsequently, the results are evaluated and interpreted in a content analysis. The seminar offers opportunities at various times to train your own presentation skills and promotes your own critical faculties and feedback skills.

Sustainable consumption in Lüneburg: Development of a project for the shared use of goods, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Winter 2015/16, Leuphana Bachelor, Daniel Fischer, Anna Sundermann

“In our consumer society, goods and services play a central role in meeting our needs and in the way we organize our lives together. The manufacture, distribution, use and disposal of our consumer goods have far-reaching consequences for people and the environment. What could more sustainable alternatives look like in the area of private consumption in Lüneburg?

The project seminar is dedicated to these questions using the example of the consumer good “children’s toys”. Students and lecturers of the seminar will jointly examine the question of how sustainable forms of use can be developed and implemented and how they can have a broad impact. The starting point and point of reference for the work in the project seminar is the concept of the toy library, which is quite popular in the Anglo-Saxon world, but not yet widely used in Germany.

In the project seminar, the students consciously grow into a new role with which they are confronted at the beginning of their studies. Research competences, which the students acquire in the course of their seminar work, include the ability to structure a problem area, to isolate a problem and to translate it into a concrete question in order to then work on it using scientific methods. They develop the motivation to deal constructively with risks and uncertainties and to try out solutions independently. The students work in groups and learn to organise and moderate group work phases professionally and effectively. They acquire specialist knowledge for the realisation of social change projects and gain initial insights into the design of transdisciplinary project work through the accompanying close involvement of practical actors.

Summer 14

What does the UNESCO actually do? An introduction to the theoretical and  practical work of an international organisation, Leuphana University Lüneburg, complementary studies, Summer 2014, Anna Sundermann, Gerd Michelsen

The event is divided into three parts: First, the seminar offers a theoretical introduction to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), in which the contents and goals of the different organizational areas education, science and culture are discussed and presented. Furthermore, different perspectives of the UNESCO organization will be worked out and linked with the current scientific discourses in education, science and culture, e.g. the role of higher education for sustainable development. In the discussion process with lecturers and external guests, the students reflect on the positions developed and the role of UNESCO in international discourses. Together, the seminar participants will organise an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site Lübeck in order to deal practically with the implementation and design of the World Heritage Conventions. Second, students will work in small groups on the practical aspects of UNESCO’s work. Under guidance, the students develop a poster exhibition on X. Third, the students present their scientific posters. The aim of the event is to develop theoretical and practical foundations and positions in the fields of work of UNESCO. Students will acquire specialist knowledge on the organisational structure of an international organisation, knowledge of the working methods and tasks of the German UNESCO Commission e.V.. In debates with external guests from UNESCO’s ranks, critical reflection skills are promoted in the area of self-competence and the ability to take one’s own stand and formulate it. In the practical part of the seminar, the participants acquire social skills such as the ability to work in a team, conflict management and tolerance of different opinions through independent and self-responsible project work. Students will learn to get involved in new concepts and to actively participate in their shaping. Furthermore, presentation and feedback skills will be trained through the project reports and the exhibition presentation.

Winter 14/15

What does Lüneburg actually think about sustainable development? Attitudes towards sustainability and climate change in Lüneburg,  Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Leuphana Bachelor, Winter 2014/15, Anna Sundermann

How does the region in which we think about climate change and sustainability? So far, little is known about the attitudes people have towards climate change and sustainability in the region. Against this background, the seminar will deal with attitudes towards climate change and the sustainability of various actors in Lüneburg. The psychological aspects of attitudes and their influence on the perception of information, the acquisition of knowledge and one’s own behaviour will be

highlighted. The aim is to create a barometer of attitudes for Lüneburg by analysing existing attitudes towards sustainability. The results of this seminar can provide insights on needs and affordances in order to promote the implementation of sustainable lifestyles in the region. The following questions will be dealt with in the seminar:

  • Which attitudes and concepts of climate change and sustainability have already been identified?
  • What are the important actors in Lüneburg and Leuphana in the field of social transformation?
  • What are the attitudes of these actors?

Ideas from the seminar are welcome. The questions offer the opportunity for small research projects on local actors of transformation. In terms of methodology and theory, the seminar is based on models of attitudes and behaviour in environmental psychology and on the principles of empirical research. The seminar offers an introduction to environmental psychological attitude and behavior research as well as methods of empirical research. Students acquire knowledge on the state of research on attitudes towards climate change and sustainable development. Furthermore, the knowledge of attitude and behaviour models will be deepened and reflected on the basis of current research results. The acquisition of knowledge is accompanied by an introduction to empirical research methods in the social sciences. The empirical approach combines own research with the knowledge of different conceptual foundations. With regard to methodological competencies, the students are introduced to both qualitative and quantitative methods and select a suitable method for their research project depending on their own questions. Furthermore, the students plan and carry out their research project and reflect on the results of previous and current research from the theoretical part of the course. Students acquire social skills such as the ability to work in a team, conflict management and tolerance of different opinions through independent and responsible interdisciplinary project work. Furthermore, students learn to get involved in new concepts and to actively participate in their shaping. At the end of the seminar, presentation skills and feedback skills will be trained through presentations during the conference week and the project report.