The purpose of this research study was to establish understanding of the capability
of universities to change the behaviors of students towards pro-sustainability behaviors.
In particular, the University of Wisconsin-Stout was studied due to the nature of prosustainability
initiatives already implemented on the campus and the ease with which the
researcher could gain access to the necessary documentation and student participants.
The Robert Yin methodology of a positivistic case study was used for this
research study and Paul Stern’s Value-Belief-Norm Theory of Environmentalism became
the theoretical framework upon which a model for influencing pro-sustainability behavior
in students attending universities was built. Review of the literature related to prosustainability
behavior change and higher education allowed for enhancement of the
theoretical model to include specific contextual and personal capability factors. Seven
theoretical propositions were derived from the factors of the model and served to help
refine the data collection process, as well as guide the data analysis.
The results of the study showed that all seven theoretical propositions were
supported to some degree. Additional findings of interest were related to feedback
mechanisms, perceived limits and a temporal component to self-efficacy development,
and the effects of prior experiences with pro-sustainability behavior.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major: Work and Human Resource Education. Advisors: Tom Stertz, Ed.D., and James Brown, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF): xii, 110 pages, appendices A-D.
Stary, Wendy Rae.
Higher education's impact on changing the sustainable behaviors of students.
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