The transition of higher education institutions (HEIs) from a traditional role to a modern one has focused on the advancement of the innovative idea of sustainability in their functions. HEIs played their traditional role in promoting the disciplinary nature of teaching and research. The modern role of HEIs makes demands for not only knowledge to be promoted but also for the gap between academia and society to be bridged. This modern role is a fundamental principle of sustainability. Lack of understanding of the concept of sustainability causes hurdles in taking sustainable initiatives. The status of sustainability in Pakistan is in its infancy phase and poorly documented. It is due to the lack of conceptualizing sustainability that is underestimated and unexplored. This study explored how Pakistan Public Universities’ (PPUs) academic administrators conceptualize sustainability, universities’ role in promoting sustainability, and factors supporting or hindering sustainability. A qualitative approach was employed to conduct this study. Data were generated using semi-structured interviews and document analysis. A conceptual framework, comprising the role of universities, barriers and favourable factors to sustainability was used to analyse the data. Interviewees’ responses and documents were meticulously transcribed, read, re-read and coded and findings were presented in thematic form based on the conceptual framework. The study found that academic administrators were aware of the subject of sustainability but faced more constraints than incentives to promote sustainability. The study also found that PPUs are transforming partially into modern role. The findings indicated lack of interest and commitment from top leadership in engaging stakeholders and creating supportive environment to understand sustainability. The findings point out a serious need for concerted efforts from relevant stakeholders to comprehend and embed sustainability in HEIs functions.
Sustainability, Barriers to Sustainability, Conceptual Framework, Thematic Analysis, Academic Administrators, Sustainability Conceptualization
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Recommended APA Citation
Bukhari, S. S., Said, H., & Mohamad Nor, F. (2020). Conceptual Understanding of Sustainability Among Academic Administrators of Pakistan Public Universities. The Qualitative Report, 25(1), 28-59. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol25/iss1/3