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SDG Observatory

Goal 4: Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

 

Quality Education Globally

The ability to obtain a quality and equitable education can set one up to achieve many of the other Sustainable Development Goals. Education can reduce poverty, improve the likelihood someone can obtain Decent Work, and increase the amount of people concerned about combatting climate change. Unfortunately, across the world, education is not accessible to all.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 reaches across all aspects of one’s education, from preschool to tertiary education. It includes reducing discrimination in education, increasing adult literacy levels, and focusing specifically on education for sustainable development. Although the United States is ahead of much of the world in providing an education to all citizens, our system remains one built on inequality.

 

Quality Education Locally

Dallas is an educational hub, home to some of the best schools in Texas. According to a 2020 Niche rating, DFW [Dallas / Fort Worth] school districts accounted for seven of the top ten best school districts in Texas. The Dallas metropolitan area is also home to over 30 colleges.

Founded in 1969 by the founders of Texas Instruments, UT Dallas was built on an entrepreneurial spirit. The University had an initial goal of attracting bright minds to the metroplex to work at the company. Since then, UT Dallas has grown as a renowned research university of the South-Central United States. With 28,000 students currently enrolled and a growing network of 115,000 alumni, UT Dallas brings Quality Education to many.

 

Highlights

Diversity Scholars Program

SDG 1: No Poverty
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
A group of Diversity Scholars and UTD staff.

Students in the Diversity Scholars Program

Introduced in 2010-2011, the Diversity Scholars Program works to increase the representation of underrepresented groups in the student population at UT Dallas. Students that demonstrate financial need and have a history of academic excellence can qualify for this $5,000 scholarship to assist them in paying for tuition, housing, or other University costs.

Read more about the Diversity Scholars Program.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion also offers a variety of other programs to effectively prepare students for UT Dallas, including College 101 Workshops and the G-Force Mentor Program. Though these programs, UT Dallas strives to make Quality Education accessible to all.

 

Quantum Leap Grant

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
A group of Eco Reps.

Director of Sustainability Gary Cocke with students of the Sustainable Development Goals and Local Action class

Offered by the UT System, the Quantum Leap Grant rewards universities for innovative projects that contribute to student success. UT Dallas received $1 million in Quantum Leap Grant funding to pursue a variety of service-learning based courses through the school of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. This funding goes towards teaching stipends, course materials, and teaching assistant funding. In UNIV 3310.001: Sustainable Development Goals and Local Action, students learn to apply their knowledge from class to address issues throughout the region by collaborating with a community partner. Last fall, students in the course worked with Wylie ISD [Independent School District] to address food waste on high school campuses. The spring 2020 class worked alongside North Texas Food Bank and Childhood Poverty Action Lab to define causes of hunger in the DFW [Dallas / Fort Worth] area and provide recommendations for systematic change. Other courses have been introduced with the Leap Grant that align with this service-learning goal.

 

Green Office

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 13: Climate Action
A Green Office participant holding up her certificate and mug.

A Green Office participant holding up their certificate and “I Make UTD Green” mug

Introduced by the Office of Sustainability, the Green Office program is a fun, user-friendly, and engaging tool to help assess how “green” we are operating on a department, office, and individual level. Offices can rank as platinum, gold, silver, or bronze based on the sustainable practices they have implemented by the department. Certified Green Offices also receive regular newsletters, which help provide education to improve campus sustainability and help to build a culture of stewardship on campus. The contact listed on the Green Office Certification application will also be designated as a Sustainability Ambassador, or the point of contact between the Office of Sustainability and the certified office. The ambassador will share sustainability news, information, and education material with their office and other employees on-campus. Each ambassador attends at least one training provided by The Office of Sustainability per academic year. The focus of the training is to learn more about the Green Office Certification Program, how to effectively educate others on how to be more sustainable in the workplace, and to share best practices in raising awareness for sustainability programs. Since its introduction in 2018, over 12 campus offices have been certified as Green Offices. This program prepares others to continue sustainability education outside of our office.

 

UN Regional Centre for Expertise

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
Members of the North Texas RCE

Members of the North Texas RCE [Regional Centre for Expertise]

The North Texas Regional Centre for Expertise was founded in 2018 with the partnership of the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at Arlington. The RCE [Regional Centre for Expertise] is a network of multidisciplinary stakeholders, including higher education institutions, businesses, nonprofits, community associations, and local, regional, state and federal government agencies. The RCE [Regional Centre for Expertise] works to promote sustainable development through these partnerships and through education. In order to center our work through the RCE [Regional Centre for Expertise] , the RCE has identified 3 main SDG [Sustainable Development Goal] s as priorities for the growing North Texas region: Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3 [Sustainable Development Goal 3] ), Quality Education (SDG 4 [Sustainable Development Goal 4] ), and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11 [Sustainable Development Goal 11] ). Most recently, the RCE held its 2021 Virtual Annual Summit to educate attendees about sustainability work in the area and facilitate action and collaboration. In educating the greater community, UTD’s partnership in the Regional Centre for Expertise is essential in extending our reach.

 

Sustainability Literacy Assessment

SDG 13: Climate Action
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
UTD students participating in a Campus Cleanup program.

UTD students participating in a Campus Cleanup program

The Office of Sustainability and Student Government Green Initiative developed the Literacy and Culture Sustainability Assessment during the 2018 Summer session. Sustainability Literacy surveys from other institutions were referenced to assist with developing questions, and new questions were developed to assess campus-specific sustainability knowledge. The literacy survey was developed so that it could be administered in early fall and late spring so that longitudinal data would help to measure the effectiveness of efforts to increase sustainability literacy through education and events. Using the data collected through this literacy assessment, the Office of Sustainability has worked to improve programming and increase the reach of our office across campus.

 

Goals / Future Work

  • Improve the Comets to the Core program to be more engaging for students
  • Increase engagement in the Green Office program and other forms of Sustainable Development Education for employees
  • Involve UTD students more heavily in work of the UN Regional Centre for Expertise
  • Introduce more courses focused on sustainability education, such as a new course coming to UTD in Fall of 2021

 

Other Work We Do

The programs highlighted here are just one piece of the work we do on campus to achieve SDG 4 [Sustainable Development Goal 4] . View the full dataset (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ), guided by the Association of Advancement in Higher Education (AASHEAssociation of Advancement in Higher Education)’s Sustainable Development Goal translation guide.

 

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