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Are graduates in environmental sciences potential managers of the environment?: Some problems and examples in thenorth of Italy.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Seite (von-bis):
Curriculum models′ features represent a strategic device to create a balance between academic education and the market demand of environmental labour. This article gives an overview of the experience of the Faculty of Environmental Science at the University of Milano-Bicocca. Considering the employment status of the first graduates of the faculty inferred from a recent direct poll, we suggest some remarks about the relationships between demand and supply in a typical European labour market scenario. Education models used in Milan are reviewed on the basis of such surveys. It follows a discussion on the ongoing reform of the education curricula and on its possible repercussions on the graduates′ employment condition. Environmental dynamics are complex and need to be approached with a multidisciplinary perspective for a complete understanding. According to this premise, one of the main challenges for upper-level education programs is to provide students with an educational foundation that enables them to deal effectively with all environmental dimensions. So far in Milan's experience, although educational planning has been explicitly multidisciplinary, the lack of effort to harmonise different disciplines has been hindering, to some extent, the major purposes and benefits of such an approach. What we argue here is that a stronger role of the socio-economic disciplines within environmental science education might act as the attuning element still missing. Yet, the private and public dimensions of environmental problems as well as the number of social actors involved, calls for professional graduates able to synthesise and balance existing trade-offs. In the northern Italy scenario of the environmental labour market, the weak management skills of young graduates can be reasonably pointed out as one of the main drawbacks of their ongoing controversial employment status. Towards the aim of ″designing″ an attractive professional figure for the vivacious environmental market, the academic world cannot neglect providing students with cognitive tools for both analysing and harmonising all the relevant factors involved in approaching environmental problems.