The potential of community-based sustainability projects for deep learning initiatives

Will O'Brien*, Joseph Sarkis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides and illustrates a generic framework for deep learning in a Sustainability-based course for higher education instruction. The use of Sustainability Consulting Projects is detailed with potential application to similar programs as part of their Sustainable Education curriculum. Using four disparate institutions of higher learning across the eastern coast of the United States we can complete an exploratory analysis of the framework. This analysis will provide us opportunity to identify and characterize community sustainability projects and their contribution to higher order, integrative and reflective learning. This deep learning framework and model will be helpful to curriculum developers and instructors who wish to introduce these types of projects into their courses and curriculum. These processes and tools may be integrated into current Sustainability Management courses or used as the basis for development of specific courses focused specifically on this topic; e.g., Sustainability Consulting or as a capstone course. Lessons learned and framework design and implementation provide opportunities for further research and development of these courses.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue numberJanuary
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Community-based projects
  • Deep learning
  • High impact educational practices
  • Stakeholder management
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainability consulting


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